Child labour is a result of a complex constellation of many factors. For instance, some of these reasons include abject poverty, deeply-rooted injustices, poor quality of public education, and gender inequity in the job market. But on top of the many factors, the recent developments of the pandemic and the coup have accelerated and exacerbated the situation for many children in rural Myanmar.
The pandemic forced millions of children and youths to adopt a virtual learning environment. For many privileged families, online learning brought about many benefits such as increased flexibility and increased independence in learning. However, for children in rural Myanmar, online learning was almost tantamount to putting an absolute stop to their education.
The reason is simple: over 80% of families do not have the means to facilitate online learning. This means that families either do not own digital devices or reside in locations where internet connection is so weak that it is near-impossible for children to learn via a virtual space. More often than not, it is a confluence of both factors. While it is true that the pandemic has affected the entire human population, children in rural Myanmar are disproportionately affected by this sudden twist of events. Given the difficulty of online learning, many families decided to stop sending their children to school and encourage them to turn to “helping out at home”. This results in a rise in school drop-out rates and child labour rates.