My heart aches when I observe these young boys acting as drivers’ mates on our commercial vehicles (trotros). We board these buses on a daily basis and pretend not to see how the future of these children is virtually bleak.

Education is supposed to be a basic right for every human being and it has been a repeated chorus, yet the actual situation in the country draws a different picture altogether.

Should these young boys be indulging in this risky business when their age-mates are comfortably seated in classrooms? We are endangering not only their lives but the future of the entire country.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948) says in Article 26 (1) that “Everyone has the right to education.

Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.” In this country things are obviously different, as parents have to struggle to pay for fees and extra classes fees for their wards, while less fortunate children roam our streets selling ‘pure water’ and the likes.

The police should be proactive in dealing with this issue of children being used as mates because they come into contact with situations like these all the time. As a nation we should not only pay lip-service to the fact that the children are the future, but also take practical steps to ensure that all children in this country are sent to the classroom.

The media must play an active role in curbing this situation of minors being used as mates by creating awareness about the dangers involved. The country needs these young boys to be educated if we are to have the ‘better Ghana’ we are all hoping for.

ARTICLE BY: ADI NAMARAN COULIBALY, GHANA INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM, ACCRA

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