CHENNAI: If access to government schools are available in villages, girls would continue their education instead of getting married at 18 years of age, a micro survey on child labour and child marriage has found.
The survey was done by Littles, a Madurai-based NGO with the support of CRY and Tamilnadu Sama Kalvi Iyakkam, in three districts — Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Ramnathapuram — by analysing around 30 case-studies of child labour and of child marriage of children aged between 15 and 18 years of age.
The survey found that a majority of the girl children say they would have continued their education even after marriage if they had access to a government high school. The survey further determined that children sometimes drop out of school and becoming child labourers due to unfriendly teachers and lack of proper facilities that encourages them to continue in school.
“Each law meant for the protection of children have different definitions of age limits to define a child. This has resulted in ignoring rights of adolescent (aged 15-18 years). They tend to be vulnerable to child labour and marriage,” says Victor Raj of Campaign Against Child Labour.
The study has recommended that the definition of children be made uniform as persons under 18 years of age and the Right to Education Act be amended to ensure education to children up to 18 years of age.
The survey, a follow up to the macro-level survey of 2012 -2013 on adolescent labour, found that 72 per cent out of the 2,346 respondents in the survey, 1,790 were dropouts with 88 per cent dependent on government high schools for education. The survey also revealed that 72 per cent of the respondents had no access to toilets.