There was dog and cat chase at Ntchisi boma and Khuwi Trading Centre when Ntchisi District Child Labour and Protection Committee (DCLPC) conducted a sweeping exercise targeting children who loiter around, selling some items and involve themselves in piece work of grading tobacco.
The exercise which was conducted Tuesday in conjunction with Ntchisi Police was done after the committee observed that there were a lot of children moving about in trading centres during this tobacco season, instead of being in school.
“We have a lot of boys and girls who loiter around our trading centres with some doing piece works of grading tobacco for vendors. We want all the children to be in school and the parents to know that there’s law against use of children in small businesses especially during school hours,” Chairperson of Ntchisi DCLPC, Brian Maenje said.
He said a lot of children in the district run away from classes during farming season as they get involved in most agricultural activities including tobacco harvesting and grading.
Ntchisi Police Child Protection Officer, Philips Sande, said the district has a big task of making sure that children remain in class all the time.
He said some of the children who were taken from the centres reported that they were chased out of class by their teachers for not paying examination fee while others for not wearing school uniform.
Sande bemoaned the tendency of chasing children out of class which he said encourages the children to be moving aimlessly in trading centres and some rush into video shows which are everywhere in the centres.
“We wish the teachers found a better way of communicating to parents about the children’s short falls in school other than sending them back. We don’t want any kid in our centres during school,” he said.
The officer said the sweeping exercises in the district helped the general public to understand that it was illegal not to send children to school and that they could be punished under the law, especially when they involve them in child labour.
The sweeping exercise saw a lot of parents rushing to Ntchisi police where they were counselled before taking their detained children back home.
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