1.1 mn Nepali children are still engaged in child labor

File Photo Photo Courtesy: CNN

Kathmandu: Among seven million children between the ages of five and 17 in Nepal, 1.1 million children (15.3 per cent) were found to be engaged in child labour, a significant decline in child labour in comparison to 2008 (1.6 million).

As per the study report recently revealed by International Labour Organization has stated that Nepal has experienced a decrease in child labour over the last two decades, however, this report suggests, there is still a lot more to be done.

Agriculture has been identified as the sector with highest number of child labour. Among the total children engaged in child labour, about 87 per cent are engaged in the agriculture sector while 13 per cent are in other sectors. The highest child labour prevalence is found among Dalit community (19.4 per cent), and Karnali province has the highest incidence (24.6 per cent).

The study reveals that child labourers in urban areas (3.3 per cent) seem to be involved more in hazardous occupations in comparison to the child labourers in rural areas (2.9 per cent). It also reports that female children are more likely to be engaged in child labour (17 per cent) than male (14 per cent).

Child labour prevalence is 4.4 per cent for parents with at least the intermediate level education followed by secondary level (grade 9 and 10) education (10.4 per cent) and lower secondary level (grade 6, 7 and 8) education (12.9 per cent).

“There has been a decline in child labour in hazardous occupations by two-third in Nepal, a significant progress in a decade. However, it’s high time that we take on a coordinated approach to implement laws and policies to fill the existing gaps on child labour and child protection in the country,” said Richard Howard, Director of ILO Country Office for Nepal.

“The report presents the disaggregated statistics of child labour and children engaged in hazardous work mainly by provinces, regions, sectors, ethnicity, and occupations, which will be useful to policy makers, planners and development partners in Nepal,” said Nebin Lal Shrestha, Director General of Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) .

The country has recently approved the National Master Plan (NMP)-II on Child Labour (2018 – 2028) that aims to amend and formulate national child labour policies and legislations based on evidences.

“The Government of Nepal is committed to end child labour by 2025. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, has already initiated the second National Master Plan (NMP-II, 2018- 2028) on Child Labour. This report will be helpful in the implementation and monitoring of the plan,” expressed Binod Prakash Singh, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.

“The findings from the report will be instrumental in the monitoring of the fifteenth periodic plan, provincial and local level plans, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other development initiatives,” said Dr. Ram Kumar Phuyal, Honourable Member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) .

One of the key findings of the report suggests that parental education, wealth and assets seem to have significant impacts on children’s involvement in child labor. Therefore, addressing Nepal’s human development is instrumental in addressing child labor in the country.