Low Pupil Turn Up in Mayuge Primary Schools Blamed on Child Labour

2733 Views Mayuge, Uganda

In short
Child rights organizations in Mayuge say there is a proliferation of primary school children being employed in Mayuge for illegal child labor which has affected turn up in schools.

Child rights organizations in Mayuge say there is a proliferation of primary school children being employed in Mayuge for illegal child labor which has affected turn up in schools.
 
The organizations include Uganda Network for Empowerment of the Marginalized Child and Youth- NEMACY, African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) and Child Restoration Outreach – CRO.
 
Felix Ngobi, the Executive Director NEMACY in Mayuge, says a large number of school children go to sugarcane plantations, rock quarries and fish landing sites everyday to be used for cheap labor.
 
Ngobi says his field officers at NEMACY have found young boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 15 years working in these places for as low as 300 shillings a day. They are deployed to break rocks into gravel, cut-tie and load sugarcane onto vehicles as well as loading and offloading language from boats at landing sites.
 
He says fighting child labor should not be left to child rights organizations alone but the entire communities must come out to condemn it.
 
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Jimmy Obbo, Director ANPPCAN, worries that children who are over worked at such a tender age end up failing to concentrate in class because of exhaustion. He says police should start arresting employers who use such underage labour.
 
William Atube, LC3 Chairman Bukatuube sub county in Mayuge district, for example in one week 17 children were rounded up and taken back to school.
 
One of the children who was caught in the child labor trap is 13-year-old Timothy Waiswa a pupil at Lubu primary school. He was rounded up by local council leaders at Lwanika landing site in Bukatuube Sub County.
 
Peter Mwandha a resident of Lubu village in Bukatuube sub county the father of Timothy Waiswa calls for local councils to intensify their crack down on people using young children for cheap labor.
 
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Steven Kyakwise, Mayuge District Education Officer, blames the low turn up in primary schools to child labor. He says most schools have failed to register a 50% turn up of pupils at school since the term begun. He says some of the parents deliberately send their children to work claiming classes have not begun yet which later affects the pupils performance in class.
 
Caroline Akoth Mayuge District police commander says many children are taken on sugarcane vehicles to sugarcane plantations. She says every day she registers at least two cases of child labor involving school children and the police needs help to curb this problem.
 
Akoth says the police are working with civil society organizations to track down the child labor rings and bring to book those responsible for the crime.