Assessing the effects of mining on the educational life of children in the Asutifi District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.

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August, 2015
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Many children in Africa especially in West and Central Africa are estimated to work full- or part-time, paid or unpaid in mining work. Many of the children are involved in hazardous, harmful and strenuous activities, such as digging underground pits, carrying sand from mine pits, and washing of sand, crushing and grinding of mineral-bearing rocks in mines. Even if the work itself is not hazardous, many working children are denied access to education, or drop out of school due to the remoteness and time-consuming nature of their work and perhaps as an opportunity cost to parents for keeping children in school. However, the time of some children is divided between work and school to help them earn income which may enable them to continue their schooling. Others work to assume a very profound economic role in their families and many other children also work to earn income to buy basic necessities they need. In some contexts, children derive a sense of meaning and responsibility from their work and the contributions they make to the family. Whatever the push and pull factors may be, the educational attainment and development of children in terms of enrolment, performance and retention are always affected. Education is seen as a master key which opens doors into development. It is also the means and an end in itself in the journey to development. Where the access to and quality of education are compromised, some children may prefer work to school and to take them away from work without replacing the meaning and status they needed can result in worse outcomes. Literature indicates that there is a continuous and persistent relation between child labour and children‟s education especially in mining communities which threatens to destroy the human capital formation of the nation at large. This phenomenon and its alarming increase necessitated this research to conduct an in-depth study into the effect of mining on the education of children in the catchment communities in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. The case study method was used in the study since it is very important to researches with perspectives on contemporary developmental issues like child labour. The sample frame was the list of all the household heads, all working children, all teachers, local government officers and education officers in the selected communities from which a sample size of 156 was determined through the use of the mathematical formula given by Miller and Brewer (2003). The systematic, purposive, snowball and simple random sampling methods were used to sample the respondents for v interviews. The study relied on data gathered from the secondary sources and primary data from the field to do the analysis. The result of the study showed that, the major factor which has pushed or pulled many school-going children in the study area into mining is poverty. Other factors are peer influence, children‟s desire to quickly gain economic freedom, poor performance or poor educational results of children and inadequate educational infrastructure and logistics. Although enrolment has increased over the years since mining became operational in the study area, school retention (dropout has increased) has decreased and performance has also gone down in the face of vigorous mining activities in the area. The formal mining company; Newmont Ghana Gold Limited together with the teachers and the other stakeholders have helped in many ways to restrict and restore working children into the classroom. This is done through the building of new infrastructure, granting of scholarships, proving micro enterprises for parents and school leavers. The study made a number of recommendations such as; improving the local economy, increasing access, quality and relevance of education, motivating and remunerating teachers to give their best, integrating vocational education to the mainstream education system, provision of functional education to parents to sensitize them on the dangers involved in allowing their children to go into mining, enforcement of laws on child labour and punishment for offenders, promoting and ensuring all-inclusive responsibilities in tackling the problem.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Development Policy and Planning, 2015