Study Examines Children Working in Agriculture

August 4, 2006

Costa Rican children working in agriculture are more likely to drop out of school, according to a study carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The study, “Agricultural Child Labor from a Gender Perspective,” was carried out in Santa Cruz de Turrialba, a Caribbeanslope town, as part of the ILO’s Program to Eliminate Child Labor, according to a statement from the organization.

The study found families choose work over school when faced with poverty and an educational system that offers neither recreational activities nor flexible scheduling.

The study also found that girls and boys have different tendencies in terms of working. While boys are often sent out to the fields, girls assume more responsibility in the home, which is not usually considered “productive work” by the family.

As a result, boys tend to abandon school more frequently than girls because “culturally, it is they (boys) who have to help with productive work, such as harvesting coffee and other products,” the statement said.

Additionally, the study found that “all the young people interviewed … were in situations of exploitation, without their rights guaranteed and without the required supervision of salary, work schedule and risks,” the statement said. “Just because people over 15 years old have the right to work, this does not imply that their work has to violate their rights to health, an education and recreation.”

 

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