[Documents menu] Documents menu

Over 205,000 School Drop Out Joined Informal Sector

TOMRIC Agency, 3 May 2000

Dar Es Salaam - The Tanzania Federation of Free Trade Unions (TFTU) has said that more than 205,000 school age children who have dropped out of studies have been absorbed by the informal sector in various areas in the country.

In his message at the May Day, the TFTU Chairman Mr. Peter Nyamhokya said here that child labor is growing alarmingly in Tanzania and has urged the government to rectify soon all ILO conventions, on child labor, the idea which he has shared with ILO Representative, Mr. Ali Ibrahim who is also a director of the organization in East Africa. In Tanzania its estimated that there are about 1.52 million child labor including child prostitutes.

Reports indicate that some 30,000 children are employed in hazardous work place, 5,000 in plantations and 3,000 in mining. About 80 percent of the pupils in Tanzania fail their primary school leaving examinations.

Illiteracy is again on increase and more and more parents choose not to enroll their children in schools. Dar Es Salaam for example had 100,000 primary school leavers who join street vendors periodically. Over 2m children aged 7 and 13 years are not schooling in Tanzania.

The centre for children's Rights, Kuleana, says, Out of every 100 children of primary age, only 56 are enrolled. Those 56 enrolled, only 38 complete primary school. Out of the 38 who complete primary school, only six of them proceed to secondary school. Cost sharing is a headache in both education and health. In its 1999 reports, UNICEF says that Tanzania was spending six times more to pay off her over 6 billion dollars foreign debt than it does on basic education. Education budget is about 5 percent of the overall national annual budget making many parents opt not to enroll their children in schools. Most of them are working in various sectors. ILO has recently agreed to provide Tshs164.772 million for a national statistical survey on child labor in the country. The agreement was signed recently in Dar Es Salaam between ILO and the Ministry of Labor and Youth Development.

According to ILO's Director for East Africa, Ali Ibrahim, the financial support from the organization was being provided under the auspices of the organization's Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child Labor (SIMPOC). The program was launched in 1998.

According to the government the establishment of a National Child Labor Elimination Policy is in offing which is a step forward in combating child labor. In 1998 Tanzania ratified the ILO convention on Minimum age which prohibits the employment of children under the age 15 years to be employed.