Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has said the government has taken steps to bring Ghana’s legislation on child labour in line with international standards to adequately protect children?s right.
?New policies and social interventions aimed at protecting the rights of children and the wellbeing of their families have also been put in place for the desired transformation,? he explained.
Mr Iddrisu said this in a speech read on his behalf, at a programme in Accra, to commemorate the 2015 World Day Against Child Labour, held on the theme: ?No To Child Labour, Yes to Quality Education?.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said some 120 million children worldwide were working as child labourers, many of them full-time.
There are also about 1.89 million children between the ages of five and 17 in Ghana involved in one form of economic activity or the other.
Mr Iddrisu expressed worry over the pervasive nature of child labour in the country, which he said, jeopardized children?s wellbeing, their families and communities.
?Child labour is pervasive in Ghana and a major contributory factor in the perpetuation of inter-generational poverty, he said.
?Child labour is a stubborn problem in that when it is overcome in certain places it resurfaces in new unanticipated ways?.
The Minister said: ?Victims of child labour do not go to school and have little or no time to play; many do not receive proper education, nutrition and healthcare.
They are denied the chance to be children, he said, while these working children had also become objects of extreme exploitation, working long hours and receiving minimal pay.
They work under severe conditions and were often not provided with the stimulation for proper physical and mental development,? he said.
Despite efforts by the international community?s quest to find lasting solution to the canker, he said, the problem lingers on with little significant change.
He noted that for the transformation and development of any society, it could only be achieved through careful and consistent quality education of the young ones.
Mr Iddrisu said among interventions introduced by the Government to stem the menace, child labour issues were being taught in schools while significant progress had been made following series of interventions launched.
“Significant progress has been made in terms of primary school enrolment, as a result of social protection strategies towards improved access to education,? he said.
The school feeding programme, the capitation grant, the free school uniforms scheme, the free exercise books scheme, and the scholarship scheme for the girl-child education are among government?s efforts to get children in school and eliminate child labour.”
The Labour Minister also said Circuit Supervisors of schools had been provided with motor bikes, adding that, ?All these initiatives support the child labour elimination processes by reducing the number of vulnerable children?.
Mrs Akua Ofori-Asumadu, the Chief Technical Advisor in charge of ILO-Ghana, urged the government to ensure that national policies on child labour and education were consistent and effective.
She pressed the government to implement policies that would ensure access to quality education and investment in the teaching profession.