UNICEF-supported studies indicate links between student absenteeism, dropouts and child labour in Armenia
YEREVAN, Armenia - October 30, 2008
UNICEF announced today that rapidly growing student absenteeism and drop out rates are closely linked to child labour as well as quality of education in Armenia.
Findings of “Child Labour in Armenia” and “School Wastage Study Focusing on Student Absenteeism in Armenia” launched today at the UN House in Yerevan revealed that between 2002 and 2005 school dropout rates have been growing at an alarming rate of 250% a year. Thus, if in 2002-2003 total dropouts were equal to 1,531 students, in 2004-2005 this number increased to 7,630.
Similarly, the study showed that students in higher grades are more likely to be absent than students in lower grades, and students of 2006 were more likely to be absent than students of 2004.
“The prevalence of child labour can be directly correlated to children not attending school at all, or dropping out before completion of basic education.”, UNICEF Representative, Laylee Moshiri-Gilani stressed.
According to the findings of the “Child Labour” study, an average of 6.1 per cent or about 3,500 children aged 7-18 are involved in some kind of work in Armenia and more than 40 per cent of children interviewed during the study were not attending school at all.
Although the Armenian Labour Code stipulates the minimum age for admission to employment to be 14 years, 30 per cent of working children interviewed during the implementation of the study were below 14.
“Needless to say, child labour robs children of their childhood itself. But another saddening feature of child labour is that although it often arises because of poverty, it serves only to perpetuate the poverty trap,” Ms. Moshiri-Gilani emphasized.
The two UNICEF-supported studies complement each other in stressing that efforts to eliminate child labour go hand in hand with improvements in the quality, relevance and affordability of education.
“The ongoing education reform should guarantee every child access to education and ensure that children who for various reasons fall out of the schooling process be re-integrated into schools at any stage,” UNICEF Representative emphasized, adding that every country, including Armenia, has a continuing responsibility to ensure that our children and young people are protected, their voices are heard, and their rights are upheld.