Talk 3: Child Labor During School Closure

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Talk Show Held On 12th/ 09/2020 On Busoga One 90.6 Fm

Moderator: Nakiirya Breanda Doreen

Panelist 1: Menya George Kakaire (Headteacher Luuka District)

Panelist 2: Wakunyaga Zepha (Teacher Kaliro District)

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MODERATOR

Our dear listeners, our dear visitors who are here today, am by the names Nakiirya Brenda Doreen; I work with a CBO called Community Concerns Uganda. Our head offices are in Wairaka and am the head of that CBO. We work hand in hand with Elevate the partners for education and Twaweza Uganda.

This is the third time we are here with you. Last Saturday you were here with Mr. Balondemu Simon and you were discussing about the disciplines of the children during this lock down and the way you are handling these children during this period to see that the children behave in a proper manner. We had three panellists i.e. a parent, a teacher and a head teacher. We had an idea from a parent that parents should escort their children to places where they get their lessons from. This parent escorts her children to a nearby library to revise their books. Some parents sit with their children to listen to the lessons organised on radio. You discussed about so many ideas concerning the disciplines of the children.

Today, we are going to look at child labour and this is very common in Busoga region.  We are here with a teacher and a head teacher. I’m going to request these visitors to introduce themselves and call upon their children out there to listen attentively because this topic is more about children and the parents. I therefore continue to call you upon to listen attentively. I ask you to introduce yourselves such that the listeners are aware of the people talking to them. 

Teacher:

Madam moderator, I would like to thank you for this programme for continuing to shape Busoga region and I would like to thank the management for this radio station for giving us this time. Let’s share ideas that can help our children in the future. My name is Wakunyaga Zephan and am a teacher from Kaliro district, Nabigwali primary school. I’m a parent and I have children that’s why am calling upon all parents to listen attentively.   

Head teacher: 

Thank you madam moderator and the management of Busoga one fm. My name is Menya George Kakaire a head teacher of Budondo primary school Luuka district. I’m from Kiroba village, Bukanga sub county Luuka district. I have been a head teacher for so many years and I believe I have a lot to say about today’s topic. Thank you moderator.

 

Moderator:

Thank you very much. The visitors have been introducing themselves, they are parents as well as teachers. I repeat that the topic of today is about child labour yet learning has to continue even when the lockdown is still on. We are going to share with these teachers/ parents and find out why there is a lot of child labour in the villages yet there are other parents who are having their children staying at home without doing any income generating activities. How are these parents handling their children? 

We find that these children are on streets selling commodities, cutting sugarcane and many other things. Why is this so rampant in Busoga region yet learning is continuous during this period? And for parents whose children are not involved in child labour, what are they doing to avoid this?

Head teacher:

Thank you madam moderator. I’m Menya George Kakaire as I earlier mentioned. It seems some parents are just watching their children as they move out to look for money. The fact is that there are high levels of poverty especially here in Busoga. This has resulted into some parents sending their children to go out and look for money. They find that there is completely nothing to cater for the basic needs of the homes like sugar, soap and parents end up sending the children to go and cut sugarcane for money. In my home area, there are high levels of child labour especially those who are engaging in sugar cane cutting. 

Moderator:

Mr. Zepha you also tell us something.

Teacher:

To add on that, we have found out that the income status of the country has generally gone down and is changing day by day. Some parents come up and realise that the homes’ income is very low and end up engaging the children in the search for money. On the other hand, some children decide to go out and look for money depending on the prevailing situation that cannot sustain them.

Moderator: 

Other than those two issues that you have discussed which other problems are causing child labour to be rampant.

Teacher:

There is a lot of ignorance amongst the parents as they are not aware that when the children go out to look for money, they adopt bad disciplines and by the end of it all, the children are un touchable and uncontrollable. This is very creepy that in areas where we are coming from like in Luuka and Butembe – Jinja where sugar cane growing is flourishing, the children are very indiscipline and un controllable. When they go out to cut their sugarcane, they learn of abusive words and all sorts of bad characters.

There are some children who break out of homes and go out to look for jobs. They end up engaging in child labour without any parent’s harmony. However, this is as a result of the irresponsibility of the parents who are not able to provide the basic needs to the children. They are over worked in the home gardens yet they are not provided with the necessities. This therefore drives the grown up children to find mechanisms of acquiring these necessities.

Head teacher:

To add on that, the irresponsibility of the parents has been a great challenge forcing the children to move out the comfortable homes and look for survival in the field of work. Like cutting sugar cane, selling eggs. Since these children need to sustain themselves, they end up working for other people to pay them at least 1000 per day.

Moderator: 

Mr. Zepha tell us something.

Teacher:

The way the parents talk to their children also forces them into child labour. Some parents command their children causing them to lose interest in working together with their parents and hence looking for casual jobs to earn a living on their own.

Moderator:

How would the parents talk to their children to avoid this issue of child labour so that they can continue with learning instead of going out to work?

Teacher:

Thank you Madam moderator. Parents should talk their children especially on matters of what to do and for what reason. Children should understand the effect of what they are doing before they put it into practice. Cite live examples to make the children understand. For example, we are going to cultivate maize but it’s going to benefit us in such a way.

Secondly, the parents should teach the children on the negative effects of child labour. This will help the children to realise that they need to concentrate on books.

Head teacher:

What we are looking upon right now is a very big issue as most homes do not have programmes for their children. They lack time tables for what to do and at what time. When the children are aware of what to do at different times, they concentrate on their work and even learn of their responsibilities at home. And the fact that the children lack supervision, they do what they want at their own pace. Children will join their friends who are going out for work since no one is there to look after them.

Moderator:

However, there are those parents out there who are as well poor but do not force their children into child labour. What difference are they making that they don’t involve their children in that act. 

Head teacher:

There are so many parents out there with low income base but set up small scale projects like vegetable gardening where they cultivate vegetables like dodo, egg plants and others but also involve their children in these activities. They do not send their children to sell in the markets but instead call buyers right up to their homes to buy off the produce. This enables them to provide the basic needs to their children thereby providing education services to them.

Moderator:

Mr Zepha add on something small in one minute.

Teacher:

What most parents do is to show accountabilities of what they do to their children especially when they plant and harvest, they take proper use what they have. Therefore, when children see that what they sweat for in the garden is being utilised in the homes, they are satisfied and do not move out of their homes to engage in child labour.

Moderator:

Alright let’s stop here for a while.

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Commercial break:

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Moderator:

Our dear listeners, we are going to receive your calls as we continue to discuss about child labour. We are going to call on MTN: 077999906, Airtel: 0757906906. We request that even the children who are listening to us can call and ask questions.

Caller 1:

My name is Dhikusoka John. From Namutumba. I would like to tell you that when the teachers were sending off the children, they never gave them any learning materials to keep them busy. Secondly, I would like those head teachers to cite for us examples on how they are teaching their children in their homes. We have seen some teachers who are not minding about their children. Lastly, we would have also thought about the good and bad of child labour.

Caller 2:

I’m Mutebi Adam. The main reason as to why the children are not learning is the effect of the mothers in the homes. Some fathers want to handle their children and work together but most mothers oppose this idea and therefore children are left to operate in their own ways. The other thing is that children would have concentrated on learning but the challenge is that most homes lack radios to take up the learning sessions.

Caller 3:

I’m Ali from Kiroba and I send my greetings to Mr. Kakaire and thank him for the work he is doing and for reaching us through the radio.

Moderator:

Thank you sir, let’s hear from another caller.

Caller 4:

Hello how are you?

 

Caller 5:

This is Mulawa Andrew from Luuka Idoome village.

Caller 6:

I would just like to thank you for the wonderful message you are delivering to us.

Caller 7:

Well-done madam, I’m Muyodi Ibrahim from Luuka. For I would like you to emphasize about the programing or making time tables at home. This is because some children are over worked and even have no time to spend on books.

Moderator:

I would like to welcome you back from that session. I would like to remind you that we are discussing about child labour and its effects on the learning of the children.

We have gotten some questions which I would like the teachers to answer.

The first parent needed to know how the teachers are teaching their children in their homes.

Head teacher:

Thank you Moderator. Thank you the callers because you have given us assurance that you have been listening. Yes, it’s true that the children were not given learning materials from their schools. But, there are so many things for the children to learn. These children have been learning and have their notes in their books. Just continue encouraging them to revise what they have in their books. Let them revise so that they don’t completely forget about learning.

Some parents cannot teach their children but you have to encourage them to revise and concentrate on books when it’s time for learning. Take a look on what they are learning and even provide other reading materials like in newspapers to help the children learn. At my home, I assign my children with some work to do since I’m a teacher.

Moderator:

Mr. Zepha tell us something.

Teacher:

Thank you madam moderator. I would like thank the people who have been calling. As a teacher, I made a time table for my children that after doing some domestic work at home, I spare for them time for learning. I also supervise on what they learn to find out whether they analysed something or not. Even in the villages, the government gave out some work and we therefore we follow up to find out whether the children are using these materials and also help out those parents who do not know what to do.

Moderator:

One of the parents asked that, what good effect is in child labour?

Head teacher:

I would like to answer by saying that the positive effects of child labour are very few. The fact is that the children can earn some money to help them acquire the basic needs. But the negative effects are very many that most children who go out for child labour become immoral because they meet different people who are immoral and always teach them bad behaviours.

It can also lead to a child dropping out of school since they are used to earning some income, yet learning is the best option and can lead to a great future.

Moderator:

Mr. Zepha add us some two points.

Teacher:

The first point is that it leads the children to disrespecting their parents since they earn some money and are the ones catering for the home’s basic needs. 

Secondly, most parents lose their responsibilities over their children thinking that the children will provide for themselves the basic needs of life.

Moderator:

Thank you sir, on top of children becoming immoral, I add that the children especially the girls face high risks of defilement and fornication at early ages.

We are going to receive calls again such that you can ask questions. The numbers are 0776999906 and Airtel on 0757906906. Please ask questions.

Caller 1:

I’m Kalebe William from Kamuli. You would excuse some of us because our parents are poor yet we need to devise ways of staying in school. Is it bad when I find something small to do.

Caller2:

I’m Muyodi Ibrahim from Ikonia Luuka. Some of us the parents who are illiterates….

Caller 3:

I’m Godfrey from Buwenge. We try to convince the children to learn but they ask for report cards just like in schools. What answer can we give to such questions.

Caller 4

I’m Andrew from Luuka district Idoome village. As a senior four student, how can I make my brain active during this period.

Caller 5

I’m Joshua and for I just request the government to allow the children go back to school because they not learning in the villages.

Caller 6

I’m Naigulu Moses and would like to thank those teachers for sensitizing us.

 

Caller 7

I’m Isabirye Joshua and I’m a teacher. The root causes of child labour are within the homes. This is especially with parents who lack skills on preparing their homes. This is common with young parents who cannot control their children.

Secondly, we have always taught about the rights of the children and forgotten about the responsibilities of the children. So some children think that it’s their right to do what they want. I therefore request to help us train the parents on how to control their children.

Moderator:

Thank you sir.

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Moderator:

I welcome you back from that short break. Mr. Zepha I would like you to answer the question that speaks about the mothers and about the report cards.

Teacher:

They said that most mothers change the children’s minds. How is this possible yet fathers work hand in hand with mothers to monitor their children? Most men command the children on what to do and leave the homes for trading centres. The mothers therefore use that chance to divert the children to other activities since the commandant is away.

Moderator:

Yes Mr. George.

Head teacher:

Thank you madam moderator. Firstly, I would like to thank the callers, that thank you very much for listening to us. Mr. Godfrey asked about the reports. But, a report is a response from the school about the child’s learning, therefore explain to the children that a report is sent to us to see how you perform at school, but we are here with you and always see what you do. Appreciate them verbally and ask them to improve on weak areas. We need to inform the children that reports are not only in written forms but also in verbal expression. It can be written if it is from the school to the parents since they are not always in school.

Moderator:

Let’s respond to the senior four student who said his parents are poor and therefore has to look for money to sustain himself at school. What should he do?

Teacher:

I thank that child for being creative but all we encourage him to is to fix a programme for himself. Time for work, helping the parents and also for revising the books. He shouldn’t concentrate on working alone.

Head teacher:

The senior four student who needed to know on how active he could be during this lock down, know what to do and at what time. There are some radios teaching students, find time for those lessons and even note down the key aspects being taught. 

Moderator:

Thank you very much for listening to us today and our visitors are going go off after letting us know of their key insights on today’s topic. 

Teacher:

Thank you madam Moderator and I continue appreciating Radio Busoga one for giving us this chance. Our topic today was child labour. I encourage the parents that to fight this issue, we need to have positive communication in our homes, to motivate the children do what is required at the right time.

Parents should be transparent to their children.

I would like to end by saying that am Mr. Wakunyaga Zepha from Kaliro district and I teach at Nabigwali primary school. My head teacher is Mrs. Nabwire Sylivia. Allow me appreciate my parents who prepared me up to this level. Mr. Mwiroro Christopher, My mother Mrs. Nabirye Monica, my wife and all my children at home.

Head teacher:

Thank you madam moderator for today’s program. Everyone out there, we are opening up people’s eyes on what to do. Dear parents let us love our children. When you love your child, you cannot force them into child labour. I encourage my home people to teach our children so as to fit in today’s standard.

I greet all my parents, my father George William Kakaire, my mothers and my wife Nabirye Eva. My dear parents of Budondo community and Luuka at large. I continue requesting you that you continue teaching our children during this lockdown.

I remain Menya George Kakaire the head teacher Budondo primary school, Bukanga sub county, Luuka district.

Moderator:

Thank you for listening. I remain Nakiirya Brenda Doreen from Community Concerns Uganda. Sincere appreciations to Elevate the partners for education, Twaweza Uganda and Radio Busoga one. We wish you the best.