Rural schools enforcing child labour under the guise of general work: Hon Chasi

By Buhle Tshavango

MAZOWE SOUTH legislator Fortune Chasi has questioned the practice of general work in rural schools describing it as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Adding his voice to a debate in the National Assembly yesterday, Honourable Chasi said asking children to bring tools and work after schooling hours was an old age practice which was exploitative.

“…children are required to bring all manner of tools to school, tins, slashers, picks and so on to do what is called general work after school. This has no payment or compensation of any sort. I think it is correct to say that, that is child labour. I want to suggest that that type of work is discriminatory in terms of the Constitution,” he said.

Honourable Chasi added that this was an old age practice hinged on child labour, questioning why it was still being allowed.

However, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora responded that there was no actual policy on child labour.

The Zimbabwean constitution Article 19(3) (a) on children underlined under National objectives stipulates that The State must take appropriate legislative and other measures to protect children from exploitative labour practices.

The state is further obligated to, 3 (b)-

” ensure that children are not required or permitted to perform work or provide services that

  1. are inappropriate for the children’s age; or
  2. place at risk the children’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development”.

Zimbabwe has made minimal advancement in eliminating child labour, with no clear policy against it. In recent years through the Labour Amendment Act, the minimum age for work has been raised from 15 to 16 years and the minimum age for apprenticeships from 13 to 16 years. Children , however are still being exploited in various ways including being used as begging aides

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