FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH STREET HAWKING AMONG CHILDREN OF SCHOOL AGE
Background of the Study
Nigeria as a developing country needs people who are required for the political, social and economic development of the country. To every child, God has deposited a great potential which when maximized will help in all round development of the society and the world at large. And until the child passes through school, that potential cannot be harnessed. Education is necessary for the personality grooming of individual. Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because no nation can rise above the quality of its human capital.
Generally in the whole world, particularly in Nigeria, education has been considered to be the cornerstone for development. It forms the basis for literacy, skill acquisition, technological advancement and ability to harness human and material resources towards the achievement of societal goal, (FRN, 2004).
Education is very important in any given society. It is a process by which abilities and capabilities of individual are developed. These abilities might be physical abilities, emotional abilities, social abilities and intellectual abilities. It is the actualizing of human potential so that the individual can become something more than what he was before. (Eze, 2010)
According to Ugwuanyi (2013), education is the process by whichsocietyestablishes to assist the young to learn and understand the heritage ofthe past,participate productively in the society and contributemeaningfully for the development of the society.
Emeka (2008) citingKneller (2000) sees education as a process by which any societythrough schools; colleges, universities and other institutions deliberatelytransmit knowledge, values and skills from one person to another.
Education is seen as a solution for vast range of tasks of the society and the bedrock for national development.
The importance of education through school cannot be overemphasized, for it is through that medium that the child gets to realize his talent and capabilities which under the guidance of an instructor will help to train the child as well as bringing out the best in him. Advancement in this modern world is impossible without education. The continued existence and development of any society depends on the ability of the child to function effectively; socially, politically, economically and religiously as members of the society. The emphasis placed here on the development of the child is based on the truism that when you train up a child in the way he should go; when he grows, he will not depart from it. (Bible, Proverbs 22:6)
There are variations in the conception and definition of a child. In view of this, child and childhood are defined by different cultures. (Melchiorre, 2004) Nigeria Labour Acts, NLA (2003) defines a child as a person under the age of 18 years.
The International Labour Organization, ILO defines a child as an individual below 15 years of age. In spite of the variations in the definition; in this context, children are seen as any human being below the age of 18 years.
Involving Children in hawking of goods in the streets is the emerging trend in Nigeria and an issue of concern. Street hawking or vending in developing countries is attracting a rising interest amongst researchers due to the various health, social, and economic implications to those who engage in the trade. (Olutunde, 2013)
Street hawking is a form of selling of goods along the road from one place to the other. (Umar, 2009)
It extends to be the act of canvassing for sale items carried by a hawker along the street from one house to house or in public space. (Ikechukwu, 2008)
The increasing rate of street hawking in Nigeria is alarming despite the attendant moral and physical dangers for children. (Ebigbo, 2003)
In Nigeria, street hawking is done mostly by female children. Some children have a particular spot where they sell their wares. Some move from place to place along the street, while others go from door to door in residential area. Children hawkers sell tray of goods on their head by moving from one street to the other. The hawkers that sell similar goods walk different directions while those that sell goods that complement each other like food and drinks walk in the same direction. These hawkers shout on top of their voices to announce what they are selling in the community so as to catch the attention of the intending buyers.
Street hawking is in vogue amongst children of school age in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu state as was personally observed by the researcher. One of the fundamental global problems facing developing countries today is the fact that the incidences of children who work outside the family to earn a living or to support their families are increasing. Children are now known to engage in one form of work or the other especially within the family.
In Nigeria, especially in the urban areas, children between the ages of eight years and eighteen are seen working. The situation in Nigeria according to United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Child Labour report (2006), reported that 15 million children under the age of 14 are working across Nigeria, the report shows that 64% of Nigerians between the ages of five and fourteen are involved in street vendors.
Most children hawk before going to school in the morning and continue after school until night. Street hawking irrespective of (age and sex) who engages in it is associated with major hazards. These include sexual assault which increases the vulnerability of the hawkers to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, increases risk of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion. (Lee, 2004; Lu, 2011)
Other hazards include physical assaults, mobbing, involvement in road traffic accidents, kidnapping, ritual killings etc. Hawkers are exposed to antisocial activities like smoking, drug, alcoholism, cultism and crimes which give rise to deviant cases and maladjustment in our society. In addition to the aforementioned risks, they are deprived of education and sound health and these constitute child abuse. (Ekpenyong and Nkerevwuem, 2011)
It is paramount to note that vast majority of Nigerian parents believe that children are God-sent helpers both for economic purpose and other purposes. This notion has led many families into giving birth to too many children; making Nigeria the most populated country in Africa, which poverty has become the order of the day. Most families cannot cater for the large number of children thereby leaving the children with no other option than to resort to street hawking as a means of livelihood.
Ibanga (2007) opined that parental loss contributes to children’s street hawking. Parental loss is taken here to mean death of parents, divorce and incapability. Children react in different ways to parental loss. Children who are not well treated, educated or settled move out to streets and cities to engage in the selling of various edible and non-edible items. The prevailing poverty condition of our country is the growing pressure of children in the street making a living by scavenging, hawking etc. Poverty, therefore, leads to street hawking among children. The higher the poverty rate, the higher the number of children hawkers and vice versa.
Other factors associated with children’s hawking are; high cost of living, lack of sponsorship, poor school performance, poor parenthood, large family size, peer group pressure, poor home conditions, and loss of parents, unemployment, cultural and religious factors coupled with lack of enforcement of labour legislation.
Children’s hawking hampers the academic performance and educational career of the children in question. And the government enforcement strategy to eradicate street hawking has not yielded much result. The number of juvenile hawkers keeps increasing on a daily basis. Related literatures on child labor are concentrated on street children generally while issues specifically on hawking are treated lightly. The Nigerian policy makers are caught up with deciding whether street hawking among children of school age should be totally eradicated or given a legal status. Those that advocated for the continuance of hawking have looked at it from the perspective of immediate economic stand point; whereas Okafor (2010) opined that when children work as wage earners to supplement the family income, it may solve some family economic problems but creates new ones both for children and the society at large. It is in this bid that the researcher delve into this study to examine the factors associated with street hawking among children of school age.
Statement of the Problem
Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, once re-emphasized the power of education when he described it as the greatest engine of personal development through which the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, while the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine and a child of a farmer can become the president of a great nation. A well-structured educational system is one of the important factors needed for the socio-economic development of any nation. Universally, it is the duty of governments to provide an enabling environment for learning to take place as well as accord top priority to education.
It is in the realization of the foregoing that governments across the universe devote a good chunk of available resources to the development of the educational sector. But despite all these efforts, a number of factors still stand as stumbling blocks in the attainment of this goal. These include insecurity, ethnic idiosyncrasies, gender discriminations and distance. But the greatest barrier to education, especially in our clime, is child labour of which street hawking is chief.
Many Nigerian children are compelled to work because of their parents’ joblessness, poor, uneducated etc. What are, indeed, worrisome and saddening are the usual stories of hit and run drivers killing and maiming these future leaders. In addition, these child hawkers suffer from fatigue, irregular attendance at school, lack of comprehension and motivation, improper socialization, exposure to risk of sexual abuse among the female hawkers and high likelihood of being involved in crime. Also, these children become financially independent at a very young age because the extra income they bring is needed to augment that of the parents and consequently, the value of acquiring formal education or skills become unattractive to them.
It is in this context that this study is set out to examine the factors associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA and to proffer solution in order to address the foregoing problem.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine the factors associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Ascertain if high cost of living is associated with street hawking business among children of school age in Enugu North LGA
2. Determine whether large family size is associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA
3. Find out if poverty is associated street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA
4. Verify whether ignorance is associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA
Significance of the study
The main aim of carrying out research in education is to bring about positive improvement in the practice of education through finding new knowledge or information. Therefore, this research is important in many areas to the following stakeholders for the growth of our society through education.
This study is significant and beneficial to children because they will learn to improve on the ideas they have about themselves as this could be a motivating factor for embarking on formal education and they will be developed thereby becoming useful to themselves.
This study is important to the society because when students are educated, they will contribute their quota towards the growth of the society and by so doing, maladjustment and juvenile delinquencies will be eliminated.
This study is also relevant to parents because it will teach them the importance of formal education and so give it its right position while drawing the scale of preference for their children. Parents would then set goals for their children and motivate the children in academic work so that the children would put formal education as their priority which gives self-esteem, respect, Prestige and good personality before making venture.
Finally this research will serve as guide to parents, teachers and even policy makers on how best to develop children positively in order for them to become more useful in the society.
Scope of Study
This study is limited to children of school age in Enugu North Local Government Area.The contextual scope is limited to examining the factors associated with street hawking with particular regards to high cost of living, large family size, poverty and ignorance.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
1. Is high cost of living associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA?
2. Is large family size associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA?
3. Is poverty associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA?
4. Is ignorance associated with street hawking among children of school age in Enugu North LGA?.