Ministry clarifies issue

THE Ministry of Labour has clarified that students can sweep classrooms and wipe louvres in schools.

The clarification came after concerns from some school heads who have asked the ministry about such issues.

In a recent workshop held in Labasa, Ministry of Employment’s Atish Kumar said they had received queries from a few school heads about the issue.

“Some school heads have contacted us and asked whether the students can sweep the classrooms and wipe the louvres and we have told them that it is OK,” he said.

“Students can do this work, but as long as it is not done during classes because the child is supposed to be learning.

“That is the child’s right, to be educated so teachers can’t give them duties during classes, but during breaks only.”

Students, Mr Kumar said were the future generation of this nation and being trained for basic duties was imperative.

“Teachers are also there to help nurture you and train you in school to learn basic life skills,” he said.

“Even after school, it is OK for children to help mum and dad at home with easy light duties.

“In vegetable gardens, children can do simple work only after school, but not during school.”

Mr Kumar said child labour would only happen if the child attended duties during classes.

“There are certain areas that children can work in and it is not child labour giving children light and easy duties at home,” he said.

“Marking of school ground is not child labour as long as it doesn’t happen during classes.”