Working Children and Knowledge of Right to Education: A Study of Child Labour in Sabah, Malaysia

  •  Rahimah Abdul Aziz    
  •  Suriati Iskandar    


In many countries of the world child labour persists despite the existence and implementation of laws and regulations to eliminate the problem. In many instances children are preferred as workforce because they are easier to manipulate, intimidate, abuse and exploit due in part to their inexperience and relative immaturity. There are many reasons why children work. However, their labour participation means that they are denied or deprived of their right to education, which is crucial to their future prospects, personal development and directly or indirectly to the development of a country. They are not attending school as they should or are not spending enough time on educational development. A study was conducted in 2007-2008 in Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia to determine if the working children are aware of their right to education and if they feel deprived not attending school. It is also to identify reasons they work and if they would return to school if given the opportunity to do so. A total of 26 child labourers aged 9 – 18 years were sampled and interviewed for the purpose. This paper discusses the findings of the study. From the study it can be concluded that there are many reasons that caused many children to work, which in turn have deprived them of their education. Without education their future would be bleak. This is because only education can help change and improve their lives and their future.

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