The early marriage industry is now a lucrative piece of business
By Simon Mone
The young children time that drop out of school because of reasons that are not new to us must be given a second chance to help them become better people in society. Situations that they endure have been with us for as long as we know.
They deserve a second chance. Get them back to school and be educated. In our pat of the world, skill gained from school is a better way of getting the kids to have bright futures. More than even nurturing their other talents, education will give them useful skills to enable them fend off poverty. And be independent and able to sustain their livelihoods. In doing this, we ensure that they reach their dreams.
Currently, displacements contribute a big number of drop-out kids. When in camps the children command food, shelter, health and housing. These are God-given rights and so is the right to education, something that has almost been dismissed by camp life. The application of this right must cover all categories of kids; whether boys, girls, displaced or not.
The kids who are forced out of their school because they cannot afford are not exceptional. Governments need to provide quality education opportunities to disadvantaged children; crisis-affected children, those whose parents cannot afford and all other underprivileged children.
Offer them safe learning environments that they too may get the academic skills to enable them get to bright futures. So while we are concerned about the plight of kids who cannot go to school due to war and political unrest, we should be equally concerned about every other kid who is not able to attend school because they cannot afford scholastic requirements.
The ones that spend the better part of their lives fleeing from emergencies as well as the kids at home equally need our compassion. They equally experience learning disruptions which is not good for their future. The work of NGOs in trying to address the kids’ learning gap is commendable.
They get the kids up to speed with education programming. And ensure that kids access basic school requirements such as school uniforms, books, pens and text books. This means that kids have a chance to obtain qualifications to enable them get employment and be useful in their societies.
Some school kids also drop out of school because they are constantly forced into marriage – we know this. It happens in situationswhere parents in a bid to raise money, see opportunity to get this money. They give away their young daughters to rich men from whom they get a windfall. The early marriage industry is now a lucrative piece of business.
Another factor for kids dropping out is the fact of child labour. You find kids working at quarry sites breaking huge boulders to sell. This factor contributes a big percentage to the drop-out rate. Motivated by the pressure to make ends meet, parents send kids to go and do menial jobs so they can bring food.
In the end, the kids have no time to attend school. We can come up with some workable ideas. For example, let schools offer meals to their pupils. Or pay part of their tuition and let the parents look for the balance.
This motivates parents to put in extra effort and also gives the guarantee that the kids will stay in school and concentrate on learning. This is because there will be the enablers in place to ensure the kids do not have any more reasons to dodge lessons. Then there is this group of kids who get recruited into war.
Parents have a role to deny the recruitment of their children as soldiers. We can ensure that children get a second chance to learn and be better citizens.
Writer is a civil engineer