Title Page

Approval Page




Table of contents




Background to the study

Statement of the problem

Defining child labour

Objective of the study

Research question

Significance of the study

Definitions of terms


Review of literature

Causes of child labour



Access to education

Gender discrimination


Economic crisis

A brief review of child labour



Research Design

The study area

Population of the study

Sample and sampling techniques


Validity of the instrument

Data collection procedure

Method of data analysis


Presentation of Data and Discussion of Findings


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations




Suggestions for further research




The study sought to find the relationship between child labour ad school attendance in Ikere Local government area of Ekiti State. Structured questionnaire was design and administered in the respondent through random sampling technique to collect relevant information. Descriptive statistic such as table frequency and percentage and ranking were used to analyzed the data collected. It was found that children in the study area were engaged in work only.

Furthermore, the study found that reason why children were working include imitating peers suggestion of parents and augmenting income of the family. It was recommended that government should provide free education for her citizens to improve school attendance.




The child is the most precious human resources; childhood represents the most tender, most formative and most impressionable stage of human development. Regretfully, however, the joy associated with the birth of a child is short-lived as the childhood is subjected to a process of sex-based discrimination and ruthless exploitation as soon as a child crosses infancy and is able to stand up and walk on the earth. Child labour as understood by international conventions and national legislation is a violation of human rights so fundamental that it must be outlawed without compromise.

Child labour is not only morally acceptable, illegal and an affront to human dignity, it is also extremely poor economics. It retards the development of human resources, reduces lifetime earnings of the individual, and lowers the level of productivity and economic growth for the society at large. Children who work at an early age tend to have a lower level of education, which enforces social and economic inequalities and limits their prospects for upward mobility. Work also inhibits the self-esteem of the child and interaction with parents, other school going children and enrolment in primary school lack of access to the school structure due to pre-occupation with work leads to differentiation of child activity between schooling and labour. The working children, therefore, face differentiation and segmentation in job access, which is associated with differential access to the schooling system itself. Therefore, child labour is highly inimical to the educational, intellectual and potential economic development of these children. The skill development of children as child labourers is no substitute for the access to social mobility, which is possible through access to formal educational system.

It is a well-known fact the many children, especially those who live in less-developed countries, work full/part time, either paid or unpaid. Some of them combine school and work, and others are solely engaged in work without attending school. The definition of child labour is diverse. The term “child labour” is often considered harmful, abusive and exploitative employment, which sometimes deteriorate children’s physical, mental, and psychological development, while “child work” is considered harmless and sometimes a learning experience of survival skills. According to an ILO report (IPEC & SIMPOC, 2002), there are about 352 million children aged 5 to 17 who are engaged in some forms of economic activities in the world in 2000. about 211 million children out of this population are estimated to be in the group between the age of 5 and 14. another IPEC’S (international programme on the Elimination of child labour) study estimates 246 million children are child labourers, of which 186 million are below the age of 15, over 170 million children work in hazardous situation or conditions, about 8.5 million child labourers are involve in the unconditional worst form of child labour, and at least 1.2 million child labourers are victims of trafficking. (IPEC, 2003)

However, most research, especially quantitative studies regarding working children, does not distinguish child labourers and child workers. This may be due to the difficulty of clearly separating child labourers form child workers and, according, to the lack of existing separate data for child labourers and child workers. It is much easier to distinguish child labour and child work conceptually but doing so is much harder a the practical level.

It is widely believed that household poverty at the micro level is the primary cause for most child labour/work (Anker, 2000 & 2001; Anker & Meikas, 1996; Grootaert & Patrinos), and research on the severity of prevailing poverty in large parts of the less-developed countries tends to verify this assumption at the macro level. Therefore, until recently, the incidence of child labour was analyzed and discussed among both practitioners and academics mostly as an issue that resulted from poverty. However, as Myers (2001) points out, many anthropologists and economists have increasingly begun to doubt the credibility of this dominant poverty explanation for the incidence of child labour (e.g, Brown, 2001) because, as Anker (2000) argues, it is impossible for poverty theories to “explain why the incidence of child labour varies across poor households within communities, across poor communities within counties, and across poor countries throughout the world” For example, Sri Lanka, which is one of the low GDP countries, almost accomplished the universal primary education with lower incidence of child labour, while other countries with similar GDP still have much lower school enrollment rates with high incidence of child labour. Cuingo, et al, (2000) also found by using surveys of India, morocco, and Vietnam that although household income/expenditure significantly affect the incidence of child labour, the relationship between income/expenditure and the incidence of child labour is noticeably non-linear. The poverty explanation cannot solely and wholly explain those phenomena.

Child labour not only hampers children’s physical, psychological and mental development, but it also often negatively affects their educational progress. Some children may drop out of school before completion, and some may not even attend schools from the beginning because they have to work. Even through children attend schools while working, much research has child work, distinguished form “child labour”, may not hamper children’s physical, psychological, and mental development, but it still mighty negatively affect children’s academic progress found that children’s work negatively affect their academic achievements. According to the human capital theory, education is an essential tool for individual human growth and national growth, both economically and socially. Thus, at the micro level, child labour seems to affect an individual academic achievement/attainment and consequently hampers household human capital accumulation, which would improve household economic conduction. The incidence of child labour also seems to affect the school enrollment / attendance rate and decrease national human capital at the macro level. Child labour may be a temporary and easily accessible solution to gain additional income for families, but it is surely a detriment to families’ well being in the long run considering what those children are missing while working, namely education. It is, therefore important to investigate how to lower the level of child labour and to increase school enrollment rates for both national and household wellbeing


Although the level of economic development of a country is often mentioned as a primary and major factor for the high incidence of child labour and low school enrollment rate as mentioned above, both the level of child labour and school enrollment rate significantly vary at a given level of per capital income across countries (Shelburne, 2001). Why do so many children work instead of or while attending schools in some countries in one hand, and much fewer children work and many attend schools in other nations on the other at the similar level of economic development? What other factors. In addition to the level of economic development, impact the level of child? Ravallion and Wondon (2000) find that the incidence of child labour is not a major reason for low school attendance rate in Bangladesh by studying food for Education program.

Labour and school enrollment rates? Most previous studies about determinants of the incidence of child labour, as Shelburne (2001) points out have focused on the microeconomic household characteristics that seem to influence household decision-making on children’s time allocation (see Bunchmann, 2000; Grootaert & Patrinos 1999; Wolfe & Behrman, 1984), while there are few studies conducted focusing on the issue at the macro level. With micro level analysis, it can be difficult to investigate some of the factors such as influence of nations’ commitment to elimination of child labour and promotion of education. My analysis, therefore, instead of focusing on household characteristics, focuses on what characteristics of a country can indicate the prevalence of child labour and the levels of Primary/Secondary School enrollment rates, by comparing 106 less-developed countries in which child labour was found between 1990 and 2003 according to the World Development Indicators.

Especially since the early 1990’s schooling has been paid much more attention to as one of the effective ways of reducing child labour and accumulating human capital, both of which are critical in the fight against poverty and economic development at both the household and the national level. Lack of access to quality education is considered one of the major reasons for children’s work and school dropout. Although compulsory education is highly valued in the discussion of child labour as an effective strategy to eliminate child labour, there are few empirical evidences that show clear connections between the incidence of child labour and school enrollment.

  1. In addition, the effect of the government expenditure on education on both the rate of child labour and Primary / Secondary School enrollment rate has been largely ignored. It may not be appropriate to assume that quality of schooling can be improved with high expenditure on education, as government expenditure on education, in many countries, “are often used inefficiently, providing school buildings where they are unneeded, paying teachers that are unqualified or who do not perform, and providing school supplies that are inadequate and ill-timed” (Alderman, Orazem, & Paterno, 2001, In many less-developed countries, quality education is not assured, returns to education tend to be low, and human capital may not be effectively accumulated through schooling. Under this circumstance, regardless of the government expenditure on education, schools cannot attract children and the parents. Again, few empirical studies have been done focusing on the impact of the level of government expenditure on education (primary and secondary school level) on the rate of child labour and school enrollment rates.

1.3              DEFINING CHILD LABOUR

There is no universally accepted definition of child labour. Definitions are varied and ambiguous. Child labour is a complex phenomenon; the 1997 state of the World’s children (UNICEF, 1997; 24) captures this complexity; (child labour) takes place along a continuum. At one end of the continuum, the work is beneficial, promoting or enhancing a child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development without interfering with schooling, recreation, and rest. At the other end, it is palpably destructive or exploitative”. This statement raises important questions: At what point does child labour become a social problem? When do we cross the line from beneficial to harmful? Clearly there are extreme forms of child work that are unacceptable –child prostitutes bonded labourers, and soldiers-and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. However there are other types of work like household chores, farm work that need to be closely examined to determined their impact on children. For example, household chores may promote social development for some children but at the same time may be exploitative and destructive for other children. Child work is further complicated when the same type of work may be beneficial and harmful to the same children. For example, agricultural work may be beneficial in terms of providing income and improving nutrition but if children are taken out of school during planting or harvesting the work become harmful because it is hindering their education.

Child labour is a complex phenomenon that is difficult to define. Definition tend to be either to road or too narrow. Abroad definition of child labour may include aspects of child work that are beneficial, while a narrow definition may exclude harmful child activities. By defining child labour as an economic activity researchers fail to capture the large number of children contributing to the upkeep of the household at the expense of school and social development. ILO defines child labourers as:

  • Children between 5-11 years of age who are economically actives;
  • Children between 12-14years of age who work in an economic activity for 14 or more hours per week, and
  • Children between 12-17years of age engaged in hazardous work.

The definition of child labour used by the ILO is derived from two conventions, convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Amission to Employment of work, which sets the minimum working age at 15years (14years for some developing countries), and convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour, which focuses on the worst forms of child labour. The main assumption is that work that does not interfere with children’s schooling or affect their health is positive. Although ILO makes this distinction between child work and child labour. ILO survey data measure whether a child is engaged in economic activity. This is a narrow definition because it excludes domestic chores. Majority of working children participate in domestic chores-they fetch water, cook, clean, farm, and take care of their younger siblings (Reynolds, 1991).

UNICEF has a broader definition of child labour. It defines child labour as work that exceeds (1) I h of economic labour or 14 h of economic labour or 28h of domestic labour for children, 15-17years. This definition expands the ILO definition but also has limitations. The definition assumes 28h of domestic chores per week do not interfere with school attendance. 28h of domestic chores for a child age 6 seems too high and is likely to impact schooling. The number of hours children work is an important indicator of the intensity of child work, but it is also useful to known the time of day/night children work to determine its impact on schooling. The definition of child labour continues to be the greatest obstacle to the study of children at work. Despite its limitations, the UNICEF definition is more inclusive and a significant improvement from the ILO definition. UNICEF noted, and rightly so, that child labour happens along a continuum then we cannot exclude household chores because it may be farmful to children if they fail to attend school, work long hours, engage in physically demanding tasks, or experience abuse.

  1. To examine socio-economic background of the children
  2. To identify reason for engaging in child labour
  3. To identify labour activities engaged in by children
  4. To examine the relationship between child labour and school attendance

1.5              RESEARCH QUESTION

  1. What are the Socio-economic background of the children?
  2. What is the reason for engaging in child labour.?
  3. What are the labour activities engaged in by children?
  4. What is the relationship between child labour and school attendance?



They study is significant because it will provide information relating to the reasons why children are involved in child labour. The study will also provide information that will help to reduce child labour and improve school attendance.

1.7              DEFINITION OF TERMS

For clarity of this study the following terms are defined

Child labour can be defines as an economic activity researcher fail to capture the large number of children contributing to the upkeep of the household at the expense of school and social development.

  • ILO also defines child labour as children between 5-11 years of age who are economically active.
  • UNICEF has a broader definition of child labour. It defines child as work that exceeds




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