Increase in child labour among school-going children

Increase in child labour among school-going children in West Bengal during Covid-19 lockdown: Survey

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

The number of child labour among school-going children in West Bengal has increased by 105% during the nationwide lockdown, revealed a survey conducted by two national-level organizations working on right to education and child labour.

The “rapid assessment” conducted by the Right to Education Forum and Campaign Against Child Labour further revealed that while the number of child labour among girls has increased by 113% it has shot up among boys by 94% during the lockdown period.

The number of child labour among school-going children also increased during the lockdown period. Prior to the lockdown, the figure stood at 5.58% and during the lockdown, it went up to 11.64%.

“ Through the percentage of child labour among school-going children has decreased among the 6-10 years age group but it has increased both in 10-14 years and 14-18 years age group,” stated the assessment report.

Speaking to DH Prabir Basu, joint convenor of Right to Education Forum and Campaign Against Child Labour said that “ as far as the issue of curbing child labour is concerned the situation is not very encouraging in either West Bengal or the rest of the country.”

The survey conducted among 2154 children and their families across 19 districts of Bengal further revealed that 49.5% of school-going children do not have any means of accessing online education facilities. It also stated that 33% of children do not have access to smartphones or computers at home.

“The parents of 7.13% of school-going children covered by the assessment have shared that they are not sure that their children will resume education when schools reopen and for 11.7% children they have shared that they will not resume school,” stated the report.

It further revealed that 29% of children ( pre-primary to class XII) were able to access online education during the lockdown.  It stated that 8.8% of total families surveyed had access to items such as sanitizer, masks, gloves and soaps used as protection against Covid-19.

“Fifty-seven per cent of children covered by rapid assessment got meals three times a day but 17% of children are surviving on one or two meals a day (during the lockdown),” stated the report.