Parental Illiteracy .
Many underdeveloped and developing countries such as India are plagued by the problem of widespread illiteracy. It is difficult for uneducated parents to fully understand the importance of education for their children. When faced with the tradeoff between sending their children to school or sending them to work, they often choose the one with the more immediate benefits. Also, a child’s willingness to learn is influenced by the attitudes of those around him. In the absence of an environment that encourages him to study, the child looses interest.
Tradition of making children learn the family skills
In India social structures have acquired a rigidity that makes it very difficult for an individual to break free of the strictures that direct him from the time he is born. People expect their progeny to follow in their footsteps. They are trained from their childhood in the profession that the family has been following since ages. Children are forbidden from exploring other avenues. Because of this, the children of labourers, craftsmen etc. start working with their parents at a very young age. They are thus unable to avail of a formal education.
Absence of universal compulsory Primary education
Although governments in many countries of the world promise free and compulsory education to all children, the logistics of implementation are often daunting in a country with a population as large as India’s. Compulsory primary education does not guarantee the elimination of child labour. A large number of child labourers go to school and work in the hours after that. But the biggest impact of literacy in the greater number of options that children have once they are through with their studies.
Ineffective Labour Legislations
The governing authority of our country has passed many laws which help in the abolishment of child labour but these laws have largely remained only on paper. Some of these legislations are: Employment of Children Act in 1938, The Juvenile Justice Act of 1981 and The Shop and Establishment Act of 1996. Due to large scale corruption and general apathy of the law enforcement agencies, these laws are very rarely implemented.
Lack of Social Security
India’s poor are mostly self employed or work in unorganized sectors which do not provide their employees with any sort of a pension. Once they are out of their jobs or in the case of the death of the breadwinner in the family, the households have no resort but to force their children to work.
Irrelevant and non-attractive school curriculum
The curriculum followed in most schools is not designed to grab the attention of the student. With a heavy emphasis on rote learning, children are bored very soon and the opportunity to go out and work somewhere seems to be more appealing. Moreover very little technical training is imparted in schools. Even after devoting many years of their lives to schooling, the child is not equipped with any technical skills that will fetch him a decent wage in the market. Without some immediate benefits accruing to the children due to their education, the incentive to work is increased.
Lack of organization
Adult labour in a most industries is organized under trade unions which allows them to have a platform to express their grievances and through the might of collective action, fight against injustice. But children are incapable of organizing themselves into such unions. This forces them to work at the lowest of wages, in the worst possible conditions.
Bonded Child Labour
There are many cases of child labor where a child has to work against the repayment of a loan which was taken by his father who was unable to pay it off. This is called as 'bonded child labour'. Bonded child labor normally happens in villages. Such children work like slaves in order to pay the loan taken. Not only poor families, but some well established business families also put their children into business at a quite young age instead of making them complete their education.
Children born out of wedlock, children with no parents and relatives, often do not find anyone to support them. Thus they are forced to work for their own living.