Experts warn that extended school closure is exposing children to exploitation

The prolonged closure of schools in the country is exposing more learners to various forms of exploitation such as child labour.

According to reports, more pupils have turned to activities such as working in sand and clay mining sites during this period.

Mines across the country have recently registered an overflow in the number of children involved in both artisan sand and clay extraction, as well as bricklaying activities.

Although some of the children accompany their parents to the mines, there are those that come on their own to offer cheap labour and earn some money. 

This is in contrast to Ministry of Education guidelines that require learners to follow the syllabus on radio and television as scheduled.

The children, some as young as seven years of age, are physically involved in the extraction of sand and clay; which eventually feeds into the construction industry as raw materials.

Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful.

Some parents have stated that they have involved their children in order to tap into the opportunity of the long holiday when children are home to support their efforts in raising school fees. 

Local authorities across the country also revealed that they have no problem seeing children occupied in work other than leaving them to loiter in the community where they can be exposed to risky behaviour.

Experts have however warned against this, stating that children ought to be left to play and study in order to enhance their development.