Kyabigambire Sub-county in Hoima District, mid-western Uganda has seen a rapid increase in fluctuation of learners’ school attendance in favour of child labour, according to the authorities in that part of the country.
Mr Alex Mwesigwa, the area Sub-county Local Government Chairman, says many school age going children have resorted to working in sugarcane plantations in the area specifying that pupils of Kasomoro primary school are so much into stone quarrying at the neighbouring Kyedikyo cell in Hoima city when it is school time.
Nyakabiingo, Bineneza, Katuugo and Kasomoro are the most affected villages registering a remarkable reduction of pupil attendance at the peril of their posterity.
Ms Monica Kabagenyi, the Kyabigambire Senior Assistant Secretary (SAS) commonly referred to as Sub-county Chief, says some of the children are targeted to offer cheap labour while others go during weekends to earn some money for school upkeep but end up being taken to distant places devoid of nearest schools, thus, frustrating their access to education services.
She says although some go to earn money during weekends for upkeep at school, they are instead ken to such places when they food at this time when food scarcity has hit the area reportedly dropped out school either voluntarily or involuntary with the latter being driven by some people who take them to work for school upkeep during weekends but later fail to return them or are taken to distant places devoid of nearest schools.
The Hoima woman Member of Parliament, Ms Harriet Busiinge, says her office is awash with complaints from the area authorities on child labour disfavouring studies among the young learners.
She says she will write to sugar companies to follow government laws by stopping child labour, allow children to complete their education to definitely avoid loss of human capital so as to increase labour productivity in future since they will have become skilled workers with higher earning capacities.
The legislator emphasises that such children’s productivity will be more and will contribute to human capital formation since school dropouts are definitely a loss to human capital.
Ms Busiinge calls for joint efforts by both parents and the community to combat child labour since it is illegal in Uganda.