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13 October, 2017 09:47:55 AM
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Child workers on the rise on CU campus

HABIBULLA MASUM, CU
Child workers on the rise on CU campus

Increasing incidents of child labour on the Chittagong University (RU) campus can be attributed to poor people sending their children to work to run their families.

About 180 children, all of them under 10 years of age, are currently working in restaurants, hall canteens, shops and cafeterias inside the campus.

Most of these children are from greater Chittagong, Noakhali and Barisal districts. Some are from the villages around the campus. The owners of these shops and restaurants employ the children because they are cheap labour.

More than 70 boys currently work in five restaurants and stationery shops around Shah Amanat Hall and Shah Jalal Hall,while about 45 others work at fast-food shops in front of the university railway station.

On the other hand, 15 teenagers and children also work in six shops at the ladies’ tea stalls, around 20 at arts faculty tea stalls, six at the social science faculty canteen and tea stall. There are 20 others working at the canteens of different halls and shops at Gate No. 2. A large number of children also serve food at hall canteens, earning barely Tk. 2,000 a month. Others work only for food and shelter. Besides, a large contingent of children come from the port city to the university campus everyday to collect bottles to sell and gather timber as fuel. They engage in these chores to financially support their families.

Hridoy, an eight-yeard-old kid from Barishal, said: “I joined the AF Rahman Hall canteen a year ago. My father works as a bricklayer in Barisal.”

He is the second among three brothers and two sisters. He said he works to support his family.

But there are times when he is not paid, he added.

Rifat, aged about 11, works at a tea stall in front of the university railway station. He said he is paid only Tk. 1,500 per month.

Meanwhile, a few students of the Institute of Education and Research (IER) have formed an organisation called ‘Kektas’ to educate these children. Sifat Himel, a student of IER and a member the organisation, expressed concern over the rise of child labour at CU. He said the university authorities should stop the hiring of children in shops and canteens.

He blamed the country’s socio-economic condition for the prevalence of child labour. He felt that voluntary organisations and NGOs should come forward to help reduce the incidents of child labour and also do something for underage workers.

CU vice-chancellor Prof. Iftekhar Uddin Choudhuy also expressed concern over the issue. “We have already discussed the matter. We will take steps. Everyone should oppose those who appoint child workers,” he said. 

DG

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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