LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 122-123
Why children are taking up the job?
Hanmanta V Wadgave, Lata B Godale
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dr. V.M. Government Medical College,Solapur, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||23-May-2013|
Hanmanta V Wadgave
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dr. V.M. Government Medical College,Solapur, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Wadgave HV, Godale LB. Why children are taking up the job?. Indian J Community Med 2013;38:122-3
The phenomenon of child labor was prevalent in all over the world in the pre-industrial revolution period; however the problem was not so visible it is today. During post-industrial revolution period the problem of child labor become a growing problem particularly in developing countries. As per new world wide estimates of ILO, There are at least 250 million children among 5-14 years of age are engaged in economic activities and most of them (120 million) are in developing countries. , In India 5.2% of the children aged 5-14 years are working for others or doing household chores for more than four hours a day or doing other family work and the percentage in Maharashtra is 5-14.5%.  The reasons of child labor are mainly poverty, poor parental support, lack of education etc., There is great need to dig out the causes of child labor to tackle the issue of child labor in India.
Community based cross-sectional study was carried out in 2007 in the Solapur Municipal Corporation area of Western Maharashtra with an objective to find various reasons of child labor in Solapur city. Institutional ethics committee approval was taken before the start of the study. The population of Solapur city as per Census 2001 was 873037 contributing about 183337 children in the age group of 6-14 years of age. The percentage of child labor in Maharashtra varies from 5 to 14.5%. Higher prevalence was taken for calculation of sample size for feasibility purpose. On that basis the sample size was estimated by the formula n = Z 2 (1 -ά/2 ) pq/L 2 (Here Z = 1.96, P = 0.145, q = 0.855, L = 0.05%). The sample size came to 190 but in the present study 300 working children in the age group 5-14 years were studied. Any child in the age group of 5-14 years of age working at least for six months in the same job was labeled as child labor. In Solapur city child labor were seen in 10-11 job categories such as garages, hotels, vendors, construction sites, domestic work, beedi workers etc., So the children were selected from these job categories. The selection of child labor was done by stratified random sampling method. The children were selected randomly from each strata (occupation/job) to complete required sample size. Children were studied at their work place, the parents consent was not possible but verbal consent of their employer was taken before interviewing the children. The data was collected by using pretested, predesigned proforma.
Out of 300 working children, 153 (51%) were males and 147 (49%) were females. 178 (59.33%) of the working children were in the age group of 12-14 years, 114 (38%) in the age group 8-11 years and 8 (2.67%) were in 5-7 years age. Male working children were significantly more in the age group of 12-14 years i.e., 106 (69.29%) as compared to female working children 72 (48.98%) (Z = 3.65; P < 0.001). While, female working children were significantly more in the age group of 5-7 years and 8-11 years i.e., 6 (4.08%) and 69 (46.93%) respectively as compared to males of this age group i.e., 2 (1.3%) and 45 (29.41%) respectively (Z = 3.65; P < 0.001). The mean age of working children was 11.49 ± 2.08 Years. Out of 300 working children i.e., 226 (75.33%) had taken up the job due to inadequate family income followed by desire to assist the family to overcome the family financial problem by 159 (53%), own interest in work 83 (27.67%) and father's addiction by 81 (27%) children. Death of one or both parents was the reason by 78 (26%) children while broken family was the cause in 53 (17.67%) children and 52 (17.33%) children were forced to work by parents. 34 (11.33%) children took the job to look after siblings by earning something or for their education or to prevent their sibling to do job. 30 (10%) child labors preferred to do the job due to quarrels in the family. 23 (7.67%) child labors dragged into labor force due to chronic illness of the parents. 19 (6.33%) children did not mentioned any reason of taking the job but 18 (6%) took the job to avoid the school due to fear of repeated failure [Table 1].
In the present study 51% were males and 49% were females but Maheshwari et al.,  and Ambadekar et al.,  in Nagpur found high percentage of male working children i.e., 91.8% and 80.7% respectively which was totally different than the present study. This may be due to the variation in occupations selected for the study. Maximum working children (59.33%) in the present study were observed in the age group of 12-14 years. Similar finding was noted by Maheshwari et al.,  (55.7%). Low income/Poverty were the reason for child labors noted by Fetuga et al.,  (89.9%) and Nivethida et al.,  (85.2%) which was higher than the present study (75.33%) but Maheshwari et al.,  (21.31%), Sundari et al.,  (13%) showed very less percentages for the same reason compared to present study (75.33%). Finding noted by Banerjee  (70.2%) was nearly comparable to be present study. Desire of the child to assist the family or to be independent noted by Banerjee  (57.7%) in suburban area of Calcutta was similar to present study (53%) but Maheshwari et al.,  (16.39%) and Nivethida et al.,  (14.8%) were noted very less than the present study (53%). Father's addiction was the reason observed by Maheshwari et al.,  (14.75%) and Banerjee  (10.4%) which was less than the present study (27%). Death of the parents or absence of the adult earner was noted by Maheshwari et al.  in 19.67% working children as compared to present study (26%). Broken family was the reason in 59% of working children was noted by Sharma et al.  which was very high than present study (17.67%). Forced by the parent was the reason for taking the job in the study of Maheshwari et al.  in 16.39% compared to present study (17.33%). Sick parents made to work the child in 3.2% reported by Maheshwari et al. Unknown/other reasons to accept the job was the finding in 43% children in the study of Sundari et al.  which is very high compared to present study.
Thus, Poverty, family problems were commonest reasons of child labor found in present study. So, special policies should be formulated focusing on upliftment of families by means of increasing their family income and restricting the children to work for the family.
| Acknowledgement|| |
Thankful to Dean, Dr. Archana Parulkar, Dr. V.M.G.M.C, Solapur and Mulje Statistician, and all the child labors who had given me the chance to learn them.
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