Children are the most influential, the most flexible and at the same time the most vulnerable group of human society, They have considerable potential for learning and what one learns as a child has a long-lasting effect on his life. According to research, the highest rate of return on educational capital among different age groups is related to educational investment for children. Birth and life in the context of the various damages that surround the child’s family, neighborhood and community, Normal stages of development impede the development of a child’s identity.
Birth and life in the context of various traumas that surround the child’s family, neighborhood, and community, disrupt the normal stages of a child’s growth and identity formation.
Although the phenomenon of children at work and exposed to social harm is not a single-factor phenomenon, most research has identified poverty as one of the most important factors in its formation and persistence.
Poverty affects a child’s balanced growth in various physical, mental, and so on. Research shows that poverty jeopardizes the development of a child’s brain and weakens his or her mental capacity by overcoming financial worries in the childhood world.
A child born in a traumatized family or confined in a traumatized neighborhood and community, in addition to poverty, is subjected to adverse conditions such as feelings of inequality, repression and social exclusion and in a sense deprived of the necessary lived experiences. As a result, the child’s full potential is focused on meeting the basic needs of survival, leaving no opportunity to meet other needs for growth and health.
In such condition , economic and cultural poverty will raise the cost of educating children for families, and education for families and even children themselves is considered unnecessary. According to research, poverty is an important factor in preventing children from attending school. Accordingly, child labor is also more prevalent in low-income countries.
Since poverty is the most prominent component when it comes to social harm, investing in charitable donations is the most common way to meet the primary needs of the target group. However, the affected mentality, culture and personality will not be reformed with purely financial support, and will require different investment from the education sector.
Multidimensional education (focusing on all three areas of knowledge, attitude, and skills) along with academic education enhances children’s personal and professional skills and improves children’s self-esteem, self-efficacy, and value in Lack of family upbringing efficiency.
According to the International Labor Organization (2015), one of the interventions that can indirectly reduce child labor is that education should be broadly focused on measures (1).
It should be kept in mind, Attracting and retaining working and at-risk children in the education process requires a flexible, creative and consistent approach to their limitations, needs and lifestyles.
Such an approach can Facilitate breakage of the faulty cycle of harm .while increasing the chances of children staying in the education and empowerment cycle. A cycle that harm begins with parent and causes the child’s personality to grow and develop in an inappropriate upbringing situation. This defective cycle continues in the absence of effective compensatory or alternative institutions intervening, leading to the reproduction of poverty and harm.
(1)International labor organization (2015) , child labor and education; progress , challenges and future direction
Child labor As defined by the International Labor Organization, it often refers to activities that deprive children of their childhood and impair their physical and mental development.
According to ILO statistics, in 2017, 152 million children aged 5-17 were employed, and 73 millions of them Have been involved in dangerous occupations. Geographically, Africa, Asia and Oceania have the highest number of working children, with 72 million and 62 million, respectively. In Africa, one out of every five children is employed. Worldwide, 42 percent of working children are girls, and 58 percent are boys. 71% of the working population of children are working in agriculture, 17% in services and 12% in industry. (1)
There are no exact statistics on child labor in Iran, but according to the latest data from the Statistics Center (2006), There are 1,700,000 children working in Iran. (2) Some unofficial reports estimate the number of working children in Iran to be between 2 and 5 million.
For example, Nahid Tajuddin, Board member of the Presidium of the Social Committee of Parliament cites child labor statistics based on studies of some urban economics staff between 2 and 5 million. (3)
According to some research, 65% of working children are of non-Iranian nationality (4), Thus, assuming the accuracy of any of the reported statistics on child labor, 65% of non-Iranian child labor can be helpful in obtaining an overall estimate of child labor in the country.
Although public perception is that most children on the street do not have a family and shelter, Sobhe Rooyesh school field experience shows that 80 to 85 percent of these children have families and live with them.
According to the General director of the Office of Social Injury at the Ministry of Cooperation, Labor and Social Welfare in 2014, 40 percent of working children have dropped out of school and 24 percent have not gone to school.(5)
Child labor is one of the most colorful manifestations of poverty and in many cases leads to a failure to attend school. . Although child labor is not the only reason for failure to study and various causes, including the functional weakness of social institutions such as family, school, and so on, are also effective in preventing education, But the results show that as household income increases, the number of children who go to school increases and the number of children leaving school decreases.
Regarding to the impact of education as one of the most important sources of empowerment in the development and improvement of children’s lives, seems that any cost to bring these children out of insecure environments into effective and high quality education and training will be an investment in their personal and social future.
- International Labor Organization (2017), global estimates of child labor: result and trends, 2012-2016
- Iran Statistics Center (2006) Population and Housing Census Results
- Tajddin, Nahid (2017) Iran’s child labor statistics are between 2 and 5 million; Tasnim News Agency
- Masoud Farid, Habibollah (2018), 65 percent of children are non-Iranians: Etemad online
- Kurdoni, Roozbeh (2014), Interesting statistics on street children: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA)
Childhood is the most important and crucial stage in a child’s development and identity. Creating a framework for balanced child development in all aspects of physical, psychological, moral and spiritual needs requires an environment in which emotional and psychological security is provided along with economic and social security for the child.
Children who grow up in the context of various social damages such as poverty, addiction, divorce, unemployment, vandalism, illegal immigration, etc. Or, by virtue of the circumstances in which they are located, will have to earn a living on unsafe streets, hidden workshops, and other uneven and unsafe conditions, They are deprived of the simple right to childhood, education and the experience of life-giving contexts.
Although child labor is not new to modern societies, but after the industrial revolution and the exploitation that the working class and especially children suffered ,attention to child labor has taken on a new dimension.
In 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, comprising 10 principles of child rights, Section 9 of the Declaration states: “The child shall not be hired before reaching the minimum age and shall in no way be allowed or permitted to hire a child in activities which impair his or her health or education, or cause physical, mental or moral development disorder ”(1)
The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (2)was unanimously adopted at the United Nations General Assembly. The Convention, which deals with the most basic human rights of children, was also ratified in 1990 in Iran by legal bodies (first the Parliament and then the Guardian Council).
According to Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the child is any human being under the age of 18 unless the age of puberty is less diagnosed in accordance with the law applicable to the child.
Article 32 of the Convention on the Protection of the Child emphasizes the economic exploitation and doing anything that was harmful or interrupting his training or be harmful to the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development. Also, under Article 36 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States Parties to the Convention undertake to protect children against all forms of exploitation that endanger any aspect of the welfare of the child. Article 27 The Convention emphasizes the right of all children to have the right standard of living for physical, mental, moral and social development, and Article 28 emphasizes to the right of the child to enjoy education and the creation of equal opportunities, especially compulsory and free primary education for all.
In Iran ,according to Article 79 of the Labor Law (3), employment of children under the age of 15 is prohibited . And employers who hire people younger than 15 years will be punished.
However, pursuant to Article 188 of this Act, workers in family workshops whose work is exclusively carried out by the owner of the work, spouse and Immediate Family are not subject to the rules of labor law.
According to Articles 80 to 84 of this Act, children between the ages of 15 and 18 are called adolescent workers and can work under these conditions at these ages.
Despite the rules, we still see an increase in the number of children working on the streets. On the other hand, field reports from social activists indicate a high number of children (especially illegal immigrants) working illegally in secret workhouses.
Child labor is a complex and multi-causal phenomenon that is rooted in the economic, cultural and social structures of society and is not merely controlled by laws, But by removing some of the barriers, it will be possible to reduce child labor and its adverse effects.
Child labor as a social harm is itself a result of other harm that cannot be eliminated by mere sovereignty. And facilitating the presence of CSOs and social activists in the field can be very helpful in reducing its cause and effect.
- Un(1959) , declaration of the rights of the child : New York
- UNICEF (1989) the convention on the rights of child : New York
- Labor Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran
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