KATHMANDU, Nov 24: In what is considered a sorry state of affairs, some one-third of the children in Nepal are part of the labor force.
Among children aged 5-14 years, a total of 31.9 percent are found to be in the work force, about 65.3 percent are outside the work force, and a only 2.8 percent are not involved in any work, says a national report published in 2016. There are 2,467,549 children aged 5-14 years in Nepal.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS), the percent of children at work has slightly increased in the Annual Household Survey (AHS) III (31.9 percent) compared to ASH II (29.4 percent). It is observed that 61.7 percent of the children are 'in school and not employed', 27.4 percent are 'in school and employed', 6.4 percent are 'not in school and not employed', and 4.5 percent are 'not in school and employed'.
Among the school going children, the report finds two categories- those not employed and those employed. “It is observed that in children of age 5-9 years, 74.2 percent 'go to school and are not employed'. But in the 10-14 group the proportion is 51.5 percent.
Meanwhile, 39.5 percent of children aged 10-14 are found employed as well as attending school. The rate is about 12.5 percent for children of 5-9 years. This may indicate that in general as age increases and crosses 9 years they tend to work along with pursuing their studies. The work plus study tendency is observed more in female and in rural children,” reads the report.
“Child labor is still a sorry aspect of Nepalese society. But labor participation of all types cannot be considered child labor and the survey has not collected more precise information. However, we can get some indication from the survey about the condition of children if we consider the 'not in school but employed' category as child labor,” said CBS officials.
Work force participation of children in the survey carried out in 2014-15 as stated above is 31.9 percent. The survey shows that 4.5 percent of children are 'not in school but are employed' and this indicates that the state of child labor in the country is dismal, said the officials. “Such children are found in higher proportions among females than males, among rural than urban, illiterate than literate, and in the 10-14 age group than in the 5-9 group. This rate has also slightly increased in AHS III from ASH II where it was 4.0 percent.”
With the children who are found at work, their average weekly hours and occupation types were also collected in the survey. It is found that 70.7 percent work less than 20 hours per week, 23.7 percent work between 20-39 hours and 5.6 percent work more than 40 hours. Among the children at work, 79.7 percent work in 'skilled agriculture and forestry' and 17.9 percent in elementary tasks.