It is a matter of great shame that more than 3.45 million children between the ages of five and 15 are still in active labour in this country.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, this number has seen steady increase over the past few years, with the number of children in various sectors having increased by 250,000 over the last decade.
Of these, 1.2 million children are engaged in hazardous and life-threatening work.
This continues to persist despite initiatives taken by the government to end child labour by 2019, set under its National Child Labour Policy.
These children should not be deprived from getting an education, which is their national right, one which they so desperately need and deserve.
Some of the government’s initiatives, such as distributing breakfasts and mid-day meals, have had some success in keeping children in school.
The government should learn from its successes and failures, so that not one more child is forced to enter industries as a labourer
This clearly indicates that, given the option to afford to keep their children in school, parents will do so. It is up to the government to ensure that its citizens don’t find themselves in such situations where child labour becomes a necessity for families to survive.
Of another BSS survey, it was found that close to half of the children working in the capital were doing so in the RMG sector, in spite of the government having supposedly removed child labour from it entirely.
The government should learn from its successes and failures, so that not one more child is forced to enter industries as a labourer. It should be a matter of national priority that children are protected from the harsh economic struggles that families are sometimes forced to endure.
It should be remembered that keeping children out of forced labour not only increases their chances of success in the future, but also their education enables the nation as a whole to flourish.