CHILD HAWKING AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Background to the Study
There is no generally accepted definition for the term ‘Child Hawking’. But it could simply be referred to as the abuse of a child by his parents or guardian or any other adult. Edu and Edu (1990), describe child abuse as a willful maltreatment of a child below eighteen years of age into street sales. Such treatment according to them can include acts of commission (abuse) and omission (neglect). A narrow definition of child hawking is united to life threatening, physical violence including severe beating, rape (sexually harassed) which are inflected on the children by the adult member of the community. A broader definition however lays emphasis on any treatment other than the most favorable care and include neglect sexual and or emotional abuse and exploitation .which ever this social problem is been define the question that comes to mind is “are children who are God’s given gifts granted freedom, comfort and peace by adults in the society?
In Nigeria, for example, the rights of citizens in chapter 4 sections 30, 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees every citizen’s basic and fundamental human rights. Here, the constitution does not make any destination between the rights of adults and children to trade. Thus, children are expected to enjoy these rights. With the menace of child hawking (abuse) in the country, children are being exposed to all kinds of societal hazards. This study therefore examines street hawking in Nigeria, with a view of identifying its consequences on children.
Street trading and child hawking have become a global phenomenon and a global concern. The United Nations International Children Education Fund (NCICEF) has estimated that there are 100 and 200 million child labourers across both industrial and developing countries. Estimates for Nigeria shows that 20% of children between the age of 10 and 14 are involved in child labour and street trading. Nigeria alone is estimated to have between 12 and 15 million of child hawkers.
According to Human Right Watch (2004) Nigerians have the largest child labour force in the world. The dramatic increase in child labour and street hawking in Nigeria can be attributed to several factors. The rapid population growth of less developed countries, high rates of unemployment, inflation, low wages and deplorable working conditions have contributed to incidents of child hawking and child labour, as children attempt to help support their families (Charles and Charles 2004, Deth 1993). According to Arat (2002), the proliferation of industries can also be linked to an increase in child hawking and child labour. Social ills affecting children have been an area of active empirical investigation.
Indeed numerous studies exist on children who, along with their parents are and on weekends and holidays. This study will bring to light the dangers associated with street trading and child hawking as reported by children who engage in these practices.
- Statement of Problem
Street trading and child hawking have the potential to corrupt young minds in two major ways. Firstly, a child that misses school frequently falls to benefit comprehensively from the education system. This can mean poor performance in examinations and open the door to examination malpractices for those seeking a certificate at all cost. This in turn can lead to incompetent and unlearned graduates with consequences for the nation as a whole, including increased national illiteracy.
Secondly, street trading and child hawking may also lead to behavioral patterns inimical to healthy citizenship. They may indulge in negative activities or criminal acts, such as prostitution, armed robbery, and pick pocketing and face imprisonment. (Humert, 2009 and Humphrices, 2010). Many government policies have been put in place to curb the issue of child hawking and child labour, but all to no avail. This probably is as a result of the low economic status of most Nigerians who barely earn enough to feed themselves and their children. Oruwari (1996); Okojie (1987) and Aderinto (2000) linked the phenomenon of child hawking and educational development to socio economic status of poor parents who subsist at the periphery of the urban economy.
This research will offer solutions to the menaces of child hawking and child development. It is believed that the solutions discussed below will reduce the menace to its absolute minimum in the course of this discussion this study will also attempt to address the following questions why do parent engage their children in street trading and child hawking? Are parents happy about this situation considering the dangers involved? Why have the policies of government not succeeded?
- Objectives of Study
- To examine the causes of child hawking in Ekpoma
- To examine the consequences of child hawking on children.
- To examine the relationship between child hawking and development.
- To examine the relationship between child hawking and academic performance.
- Research Hypothesis
- There is a relationship between poverty and child hawking
- There is no relationship between polygamous family and child hawking
- There is a relationship between singly parenthood and child hawking.
- Scope of Study
The scope of study shall lay emphasis on the effect and consequences of child hawking on child development in Ekpoma. Also, this study examines the relationship with child hawking and development.
Furthermore, this study examines government policies on how to eradicate child hawking in Ekpoma and Nigeria at large.
- Significance of Study
Existing literature portray little information about child hawking and development. This study is therefore important because it will reveal child hawking practices in Ekpoma. Also, the importance of this study is to give an insight to those who will like to carry out a similar research on this topic in the nearest future.
1.7 Definition of Terms
- Child: This is used in this study as a young human being the age of puberty. In other words, a young individual below the age of 18 years.
- Street hawking: The act of selling of goods or foodstuffs and other items on the streets. It can also be described as act of selling, offering or exposing for sale any article in a public place.
- Child labour: This simply means the use of children by other adults e.g. parents/guardians for economic purpose that brings income to such adults. UNICEF defines child labour as work that exceeds a minimum number of hours depending on the age of a child (especially those below 18 years) and on the type of work.
- Abuse: As used in this study mean maltreatment of a person in an unjust or undesired manner. Therefore, the term child abuse refers to the physical or emotional or social mistreatment of children. World Health Organization (WHO, 2009) define it as any act or failure to act that which violates the rights of the child, to endanger his/ her optimum health, survival and development.