Dar es Salaam. Stakeholders have cited weak investment laws, poverty and poor parenting as major causes of escalation of incidents of child labour in Tanzania.
Debating findings of a study on privatization and social justice undertaken in Uvinza and Mvomero districts, stakeholders asked for immediate government intervention to end the vice. The study was conducted between January and March this year.
Debating the motion concurrently presented to mark Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's efforts to value education organized by the Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair, a lawyer from the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Ms Joyce Komanya, said weak investment laws contributed to the escalated problem.
"Laws on investment should issue strong punishments against investors caught employing children. Measures should include revoking investor's business licence to discourage child labour in the country," she argued.
She blamed parents for failing to fulfil their responsibilities, particularly protecting their children so that they only join the labour market when they are mature enough.
"Since the government started implementing free education policy, the citizens have been urged to take their children to school, something they did, but they don't ensure students remain in school," she said.
HakiElimu research and analysis programme officer Florige Lyelu supported the need to have investment laws sharpened to completely control violation of child rights at respective workplaces in Tanzania.
"Also, the ministry responsible for education should take stern measures to parents whose children cut-short their education to seek employment," he said.
According to him, the government should continue building financial capacity to poor families to improve their income and reduce participation of the children in production activities.
Presenting the findings, a lecturer in creative arts at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Novetha Kigombe, said privatization negatively impacted child education by increasing levels of child labour causing school truancy, dropouts and poor performance.
"Other effects are increased moral decay, poor transition from primary to secondary, increased preference to money than education, teen pregnancies and sharpened vicious poverty circle," she said.
However, stakeholders commended the Tanzania Social Action Fund (Tasaf) for economically empowering poor families, which have positively impacted education performance of children from respective families.