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1.1     Background to the Study

A child is a person between the age of 18 months and l3 years. However, children are one of the major stages in a person’s development. At 18 months of age, children have just begun to outgrow baby cloths though many still wear diaper. By the age of 13, many boys and girls have nearly double height and quadrupled in weight. They have also began to develop sexually, they are thus looking more like young adult but growing and development. It also involves significant changes in child’s behaviour through processes, emotions and attitudes.

These psychological changes largely determine the kind of adult that child will become or will grow to be. Strictly speaking, children want to be loved, to be accepted, to succeed in life and to be noticed, children will use their enviable activities to secure the important things in their lives. A child’s psychological growth depends on the environment as well. The child’s environment consist of everything with which the child comes in regular and frequent constant with including other people, the majority of the children receive the environmental help they need for normal psychological development.

Childhood can be divided into four stages based on period of psychological changes. These stages are the toddler stage, the pre-school stage, the early school stage and the pre-teenage stage. The lack of care and love needed by the child and the absence of proper transition from one stage to another of childhood will go a long way in affecting the child physically, psychologically, mentally, emotionally and socially and moreover, one of the factors that affects or hinders proper transition of children from childhood to adult is child labour which hampers the child’s growth and development.

Child labour which is known as forceful involvement of children in life activities contrary to societal norms and values. It is a menace that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the society which in turn has formed the basis for this research work. The increasing number of the young children who have been forced into child labour by their parents, guardian for any reason whatsoever is a matter of concern in many countries including Nigeria. The involvement of children in one form of employment or the other, controversies the international laws which provide for their protection from economic exportation and from performing works that interfere with their education and harmful to their health and development (UNICE, 1999). Child labour is a major challenge of our time, its history dates back to the ancient days when farming, hunting and gathering were the main occupation of our families. Also recently, an assessment of child labour was conducted by UNICE and the result showed that the average Nigerian child is being deprived of his or her right. Olusanmi (1999) indicated that many children who are lucky to escape the consequences of childhood sickness as a result of lack of health or the required immunization are derived the right to full development education. Retraining children in schools is becoming problematic as many children drop out of school and engage in one form of trading or the other for various reasons.

According to the 1999 State of the World Report, more than 130 million children of primary school are in developing countries including Nigeria are growing up without access to basic education and those who are opportune to go to school perform poorly due to the nature of work they engage in, seventy three million are girls, these children will succeed in entering the 21st century as illiterates and will live in more desperate poverty and poorer health than most of those who have access to education. Such children eventually find themselves on the streets, exposed to the risk of accident and prostitution among others. The risks are more when they are girls and are very young.

Child labour is explorative if it involves full time work at early age, too many hours spent in workshop, work and life on the street in bad conditions, work that involves deprivation of education and work that undermines the dignity of the child. In the town of Obiaruku are scenes of children along the road hawking their goods under the sun and rain and also running after moving vehicles and big buses in a bid to sell their goods, thereby exposing their lives and health to dangers all in the range of making money for themselves and their families in the country today, many children are subjected to hard labour in the same capacity as adults. Also in the town of Obiaruku are cases of extreme abuse of children, such children are not only exposed to child labour, but their live is placed in danger due to the nature of their scamper to sell their wares and goods on the highways, they could be knocked down by vehicles thereby endangering their lives. In another circumstance, hundreds and thousands of Nigerian families willingly or unwillingly get themselves involved in the menace the infamous “houseboy” or “house girl” exercise. Many families have literally sold out their child to act as house help in cities and towns far away from home as a way of liberating themselves from the excruciating pains of poverty. It is sad to say that children are brought from Kogi, Niger, Cross Rivers and some states in the East to the city of Obiaruku into the captivity of her slavery. Perhaps, unknown to parents that give out such children, they are encouraging child labour trade. Some families in Nigeria help the business to thrive by engaging the service of young boys and girls albeit spare boys. It has been noted that children who engage in the jobs meant for adults will not be able to perform well in their academic activities due to the fact that there will be little or no time for them to read, lack of concentration in class, etc. Also, they will not be able to develop well physically, mentally, psychologically and socially. It is important to note at this point that child labour does not refer to any work performed by the child but specifically to work done by a child that is considered detrimental and offensive to their economic growth as well as academics and violates their fundamental rights.

1.2     Statement of Problem

This study is aimed at investigating the effects of child labour on the academic performance of children in Isoko South Local Government Area. Similarly, it is disheartening to see children along the streets, motor parks, garage, main-roads hawking wares and goods for their parents, guardians or themselves. Children engaging in hard domestic services working in bakeries and other small industries such as pure water packaging firms and companies, children given to prostitution and neo-slavery and bounded labour in order to meet the economic demands of the society and also render a helping hand to their parents.

The questions one may ask-what are the possible causes of these various form of child labour?, why do parents and the government fold their hands and watch innocent children expose their lives to different hazards such as: road accidents, sexual assault, severe health hazards, drug addiction, murder, violence and callously inflicted injuries?. How do children feel engaging in hard labour? Can the laboured child perform well academically and develop fully?

Therefore, the investigation intend to provide answers to these questions: what are the effect of child labour on the child and their parents?

1.3     The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to find out the effect of child labour on academic performance of the child.

The study tends to find out whether there is difference between the academic performance of laboured children and non-laboured children.

Specifically, the purpose of the study also aims at investigating if child labour affects the psychological and emotional state of the child which in turn makes the child not to participate actively in class.

1.4     Research Questions

1.     Is there any significant difference between the academic performance of laboured and non-laboured children?

2.     Is there any significant difference between the effects of academic performance on a laboured child and non-laboured child?

3.     Is there any significant difference between the performance of a laboured children and their psychological state?

4.     Is there any significant difference between a laboured children and their participation in class?

5.     Is there any significant difference between the academic status of a laboured child and a non-laboured child?

However, the purpose of the project study is to examine the causes of child labour in secondary schools in Isoko South Local Government Area. It is also intended proffer solution to the problems of child labour in the locality.

1.5     Research Hypotheses

For a proper guide into this research project, five hypotheses and five research question were formulated; which are stated thus:

H01: There is no significant difference between the academic performances of laboured and non-laboured children.

H02: There is no significant difference between the effects of the academic performance of the laboured child and non-laboured child.

H03: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of laboured children and their psychological state.

H04: There is no significant difference between laboured children and their participant in class.

H05: There is also no significant difference between the economic status of laboured child and non-laboured child.

1.6     Significance of the Study

This research work is intended to add to existing literature on child labour. The findings of the study will help the different arms of government to appreciate the problems that confront children and be able to put in place machineries to alleviate their plight. The study will help parents to be able to give birth to the number of children that they can cater for, so that such children can get the best of academics and develop fully.

The finding will also help, counsellor to appreciate the problem that is facing children and provide counselling programmes for the parents, government and children so that they will be able to overcome the psychological effects of these activities which affects their development.

1.7     Scope and Limitation

The study is delimited to all the secondary schools in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State. The scope of this study is the effects of child labour on the academic performance of secondary school students.

1.8     Limitation of the Study

The study was limited into the following areas:

·        The sample size was small because of time constraints and financial constraints and this made the researcher not to be able to generalize with the findings.

·        The statistical analysis were not all encompassing

·        Furthermore, insufficient materials also posed a serious challenge to the study.

1.9     Operational Definitions of Terms

Child: A child is a young person from birth to the age of full physical development which can be a boy or girl. In fact, a child is anyone who is not yet an adult.

Labour: Labour means work intended to bring some financial benefits, it is a way people make a giving and provide food, clothing and shelter for their families and themselves. Labour also means men and women who work for wages and salaries.

ChildLabour: Child labour is the use of children to work in factories or other places of employment against stated work rules and regulations for such country or state. Child labour is also defined as that mentally, physically, socially and morally dangerous and harmful to children.

Development:To develop means to grow or to cause to grow gradually or to become or make something large, more advanced or more organized. Development is the action or process of developing or being developed e.g. healthy development of children.

Education:It is a process of training and instruction to bring about a change in behaviour and attitude as well as skill of the individual especially of children and young people in schools, colleges etc. which is designed to give knowledge and develop skills.

Performance:Is an action or achievement considered in relation to how successful it is, it also means the ability to operate efficiently and react quickly. It is a desired to achieve result in a most peculiar manner.

Employment:This is a state of being employed; it means involving or doing a work especially in return for regular payment which is usually monthly.

Neo-Slavery: A situation whereby children are given out to serve others or other households, it is a new or modem way of being a slave.

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