Mmegi Online :: Child labour exists in Botswana-student teacher
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Last Updated
Wednesday 20 February 2019, 16:39 pm.
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Child labour exists in Botswana-student teacher

FRANCISTOWN: A former student teacher in Francistown says he has unearthed evidence of child labour in the North East district and says he just cannot let it pass like that.
By Staff Writer Thu 21 Feb 2019, 00:49 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Child labour exists in Botswana-student teacher








Tebogo Gopolang, 22, from Mmadinare, completed his Diploma in Primary Education at the Francistown College of Education last year.

He walked into the offices of Mmegi on Monday with a tome of his findings entitled "The effects of Child Labour in Upper Primary Schools (a Case of North East Primary Schools)".

Research for the findings was conducted last year between March and August. The project was geared towards primary school going children aged up to 15 years.

Giving the background of the project, Gopolang quotes Wikipedia, which defines child labour as the employment of children under an age determined by law or custom.

He goes on to quote another source "Free The Children", which states that Child labour is any work that is done by children under the age of 15 (14 in some developing countries), which restricts or damages a child's physical, emotional, intellectual, social and/or spiritual growth.

He also says UNICEF defines child labour as work for children aged 12 to 14 and that work being harmful and can negatively affect their health and development and also can interfere with their education. 

Interviewees for the study included an education officer, three head teachers, three guidance teachers, nine class teachers and 45 pupils at schools in Mmandunyane, Semotswane and Themashanga.

A moving dedication of the research on the children, said to be mostly found in farms in the Bokalanga area, reads: "This piece of work is dedicated to all those who their fundamental rights to education was stolen from them, who their play time was ripped off from them and those who never enjoyed their childhood.

"All those when you and I were playing, were working, when you and I were riding bicycles, were working, when you and I were going to school, were working- may they find compensation in this work." Gopolang says the purpose of the study was to investigate how child labour affects learning and teaching in primary schools.

"The study was to find out if child labour is prevalent in the north eastern area and if yes, how it affects pupils' learning and teaching and strategies that can be put in place to deal with the problem," he says.

In the research, the objectives were to find out if

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child labour is a problem in primary schools, its causes, how it affects pupils' learning and strategies that can be employed to combat it.

Gopolang says he found out that in Botswana, child labour is mostly practised in rural areas where there are farms as compared to industrial or developed nations where children mostly work in manufacturing factories (citing Wikipedia 2008).

In his study, he found out that children from underprivileged backgrounds are linked to child labour so are also children whose parents lack information and/or are illiterate. The environment they live in also contributes to child labour as is orphan hood and culture.

"Indications are that most of the poor families resort to the practice of child labour for survival. It not their will, but they are forced by circumstances," Gopolang says in the study.

Efforts to obtain comments from schools were futile, but the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs is cognizant of such a phenomenon taking place in this country.

Minister Peter Siele once attacked parents saying they were failing in their duties to raise children in an appropriate manner.

Officially opening the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) secondary and tertiary sectors annual conference recently, Siele said consequently, they see children engaged in all kinds of activities, including activities that constitute child labour.

"During my meetings in various farms and DiKgotla across the country in the past few months, I have expressed disgust at the practice of child labour perpetuated by some," he said.

He had with him statistics that have determined that there were more than 25,000 children employed in agricultural activities and more than 1,500 employed in domestic situations.

He remonstrated: "Some employers are said to be employing children out of sympathy for the children because of the adverse economic situation they are in. Whatever the reasons cited for employing children, I believe you will agree with me that the practice paints a picture of neglect of our children by the society."

He noted that employing a child does not only contravene the relevant laws, but it is irresponsible and cruel, and it deprives the child of a chance to go to school, and further it deprives the society of a potentially valuable human resource.

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