The Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mr Samuel Dartey, has warned parents to desist from using their children to work on cocoa farms at the expense of their education.
He said apart from cocoa farms and farming activities, engaging children in all other businesses meant for adults such as selling during school hours also constituted child labour and against the law.
According to him, the law however, permits children to work after school for two to three hours and only at weekends, to prevent children from being overburdened with exploitative work and concentrate on their studies.
Speaking at a forum to commemorate the AU day of the African Child at Asikasu, a cocoa growing community, near Koforidua, Mr Dartey made it clear that parents who failed to send their children to school could be prosecuted, as stipulated in the children’s Act 560.
He explained that Act 560 stipulates that parents could be fined or even sentenced to a prison term for not being responsible towards their children, especially their education, and urged the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPC) to sensitize their members on that.
The AU day of the African Child is celebrated yearly to draw attention on the education and wellbeing of the African child and in the Eastern Region, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), in collaboration with other stakeholders celebrated the Day at Asikasu.
A representative of the ICI, Mr Eric Arthur, said the ICI was committed to ensuring that all children in cocoa growing communities had access to education without any impediment.
He said as a result, the ICI through the CCPC had put in several intervention such as donation alternative livelihood programmes to ensure that cocoa farmers were financially sound to take care of their wards education among others.
As part of the celebration, schoolchildren from Jumapo, Mpaem, Oyoko and Asikasu and their satellite communities exhibited the importance of education through drama, poetry recitals and quiz competition.