Regional News of Saturday, 14 June 2014

Source: GNA

Tema Manhean children choose fishing over school

Most children in Tema Manhean in the Tema Metropolis abandon school every year during the fishing season to engage in fishing expeditions.

Mr. Enoch Mensah, Civic Education Officer at the Tema Office of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), who disclosed this, said it is an annual phenomenon between July and August when most children are either persuaded or forced to go to the beach to find work when fishing is in season.

Mr. Mensah, who is also the chairman of the Tema East Sub-Metro, revealed this on Thursday when he addressed students and teachers of selected schools and some officials at a durbar to mark the 2014 World Day Against Child Labour.

He indicated that during this period, most schools in Tema Manhean become empty as the children preferred going to the fishing harbour to join canoes, sell or smoke fish.

The Civic Education Officer said some of the children also resort to stealing fish and other personal effects of fisher folks when they abandon their education for the harbour.

“Some of these children even go to the extent of using drugs such as Indian hemp and alcohol to give them Dutch courage to enable them steal and go on the expeditions,” he added.

According to him, through some education and interventions from governmental and non-governmental agencies, some of the students were gradually refraining from abandoning their education for fishing.

He however called for collaboration among the various agencies to ensure a lasting solution to the phenomenon, stressing the need for monitoring and evaluation of the various interventions.

Mr. Mensah also urged parents in Tema Manhean to frequently pay visits to their children’s school to ensure that they attend classes.

He explained that some of the children outsmart their parents by dressing in their school uniforms when leaving home, but never reach the school as they change their clothes mid-way and turn towards the fishing harbour to pursue personal adventures.

He also educated the students on the provisions of the Children’s Act 1998.

Madam Cecilia Akueter, government appointee at the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, who chaired the function, urged children to do house chores gladly as it was a way of helping out at home.

Madam Akueter said doing normal house chores does not amount to child labour, it is only when one is engaged in exploitative jobs and night works that are hazardous to their health and wellbeing and also affects their education.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

This year, Ghana is celebrating the day on the theme: “Combating child labour in Ghana through effective social protection”.