The Fijian government has started child labor awareness programs for schools nationwide, targeting teachers and members of different communities in the country, a government release said Wednesday.
The first awareness program is being carried out in 47 primary schools in the country's Northern Division for the third quarter of this year.
Jone Usamate, minister for labor, industrial relations and employment, explained that the program was designed to raise awareness to ensure that children were not exploited for hard labor during school hours.
"This is to ensure that children have access to proper education which leads to better welfare in their near future and at the same time it alleviates poverty," the minister said.
In Fiji, young children were employed as wheel barrow boys, bottle collectors, prostitutes and in some factories as packers.
According to Usamate, the heads of schools have also been trained on monitoring and addressing child labor issues following proper procedures for reporting child labor cases.
The ministry has also extended awareness on child labor laws to the Fiji Principals Association Conference in Lautoka and also to the Fiji Head Teachers Association in Savusavu.
Usamate highlighted that government was committed to making Fiji a knowledge-based society as required under Pillar 8 and reducing poverty to a negligible level under Pillar 9 of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.
Earlier this year, Chandra Shekhar, chief executive officer of the Save the Children Fiji, said the worst form of child labor was when children engaged in work that was harmful to their health, safety and morals while being deprived of their right to education or to attend school.