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Do street children have vocational

aspirations? A study of street children

in AMA- Ghana
 The purpose of this study was to find out if street
children have vocational aspirations. A descriptive
survey design was used. The study population
consisted of 200 street children made up of 80
(44%) males and 112(56%) females within the
central business district of the Accra Metropolitan
Area. Their ages ranged from 8 to 17 years. The
convenience sampling technique was used to
select the participants, who were individually
interviewed. The results showed that street
children in spite of their challenges have
vocational aspirations. They aspired to enter
vocations such as the Police, the Army, Medicine,
Law, Hairdressing, Dressmaking and the like. This
finding showed that street children given the
support either from the Government or NGOs will
be able to achieve their vocational goals and
Description of street children
 Street children can be described as children of
school going-age roaming the streets of our
cities engaging in all sorts of activities.
 “any child for whom the street has become his
or her habitual abode and /or source of
livelihood, and who is inadequately protected,
supervised, or directed by adults” Henry and
Morgan (2005)
 According to Campbell and Ntsabane
(1995)these children stay on the street for the
most part of the day. They are not in school
even though they are of school going age.
 The street child mistrust people, he enjoys his
independence, he tends to be rebellious, he
dislikes authoritarianism or ridged control, he
can be rehabilitated, he can cope under
difficult circumstances and he is nomadic.
Reasons for being on the street
 Poverty
 Conflicts
 Cultural practices(eg forced marriages, FGM,
Trokosi etc)
 Child neglect, child trafficking
 Single parenting
 Death of parents
 Peer influence (Asiedu, 2003).
Categories of street children
A. Children who have run away from home or
have no home; of which he or she sleeps on
the street
B. Children sleeping on the street with their
family or guardian
C. Children living at home, but working in an “at
risk” situation(working at night, casual sex
work and begging)

 Begging
 Hawking
 Washing cars/ windscreens of cars in traffic
 Serving as guards for cars at market places
 Shoe mending and shinning
 Prostitution
 Carrying luggage
 They can live on the street till well over
adolescence, which make it difficult to pursue
vocations or learn a trade to fulfill their
 Adolescence is a time when teenagers
develop certain aspirations regarding their
What are vocational aspirations?
 Vocation can be described as “a job that you
do because you feel that it is your purpose in
life and that you have special skills for doing
 Aspirations on the other hand represent a
person’s orientation or attitude toward
particular goals and can be influenced by
variables such as gender, socio-economic
status, family support, parental expectations,
and cultural values”.
 Vocational aspirations can therefore be seen
as “the occupation a person desires to pursue
if there were no reality constraints (Domenico
Street children and vocational aspirations
 Domenico and Jones (2007) assert that
disadvantaged children or people, have a very
strong desire for certain vocations despite
their challenges.
 A career survey conducted showed that
children on the streets in Hanoi, Vietnam and
Jamaica desired to be teachers, lawyers,
accountants, doctors, pilots, soldiers, nurses
and many more (Henry & Morgan 2005, Hong
& Ohno, 2005).
 vocational aspirations result as reflects of past
experiences and perceived barriers which
prevented them from achieving their initial
ambitions hence a change in vocation to suit
their current situations. It therefore becomes
equally important for them to consider
learning of trades and vocations in order to
seek employment or earn a better living. The
idea of “spirit of enterprise” then ignites their
desires to acquire vocational skills that can
lead to providing trained human resources for
socio-economic development.
Statement of the problem
 Accra is functions as both the commercial and
administrative capital of Ghana. It is
strategically situated to attract people of all
walks of life including street children.
 These children spend their lives on the streets
and earn income from their activities.
 The question is do the have any vocational
aspirations looking at their disadvantaged
Purpose of the study
 Estimates of 6000 street children in the ten
regions of Ghana(Atakpa,2009).
 About 800 in Greater Accra
 150 in and around Madina and Adenta
 200 in Tema
 200 in Ashaiman
 300 in Accra metropolis

The purpose therefore is to examine the future

vocational aspirations of street children in the
Greater Accra region with focus on the central
business district of Accra
Research questions
 What are the vocational aspirations of street
 What are the sex differences in their
vocational aspirations
 Research design
 Descriptive survey. Descriptive surveys describe
existing phenomenon by using numbers to
characterize individuals or a group.
 Participants
 200 street children (88(44%) males and 112(56%)
females, age range 8-17 years from the central
business district of AMA;
 Graphic Road-CMB/Railway Line
 Central Police Station-Kinbu Gardens
 CMB-Rawlings Park
 SNNIT-Fire Service-Makola
Methodology cont.
 Sampling techniques/procedure
 Convenience sampling technique
 Instruments for data collection
 Interview schedule(for those who could not read or
write, opportunity for clarification, response to all
items, observation of nonverbal cues and
reactions to specific questions)
 Two parts; section A and B
 A for demographic information and B for vocational
aspirations, reasons for being on the street and
activities engaged in.
 Administration by three trained bi-lingual
 Items were read and interpreted in the
language of the respondents
 Participants consent was obtained and each
interviewer proceeded with the interview
 Interviews were conducted within 7 days and
a minimum of 10-15minutes per participant
Data analysis
 The percentage and frequency counts were
used in analyzing the data under the various
 Age N %
 8-10 45 22.5
 11-13 85 42.5
 14-16 66 33
 17 `4 2
 Sex
 Male 88 44
 Female 112 56
 Educational status
 Never enrolled 76 38
 Dropped out 80 40
 Primary school 22 11
 J.H.S 18 9
 S.H.S 4 2
Results cont.
 Parental status N %
 Parents together 30 15
 Parents separated 50 25
 Parent divorced 88 44
 Parents deceased 32 16
 Activities on the street
 Begging 15 7.5
 Carrying goods 60 30
 Hawking 107 53.5
 Car washing/cleaning in traffic 6 3
 Shoe polishing and mending 12 6
Vocational Aspirations of the sample
Vocations Males Females

N %
Police 10 5.0 -
Soldier N
10 %
5.0 5 2.5
Nurse 5 2.5 1 5.0
Doctor 10 5.0 5 2.5
Teacher 10 5.0 10 5.0
Lawyer 5 2.5
Trading(business 8 4.0 12 6.0
)Hairdressing 1 25
Dressmaking 1 10 20 10
Engineering 5 2.5
Accountant 5 2.5
Results cont.
 Sixty(30%) of the females desired to pursue
female oriented vocations, hairdressing and
 Forty-five(22.5%) males aspired to be in male
oriented vocations eg police, law, accounting,
engineering, army
 Street children in spite of their challenges
have vocational aspirations.
 It is interesting to note that they had
aspirations such as being in the police, the
army, law, engineering and medicine,
although this was in the minority, compared
to vocations such as trading, dressmaking,
Discussion cont.
 Results are similar to that of Henry & Morgan
(2005) and Hong and Ohno (2005) who found
in their survey among street children on the
streets in Hanoi, Vietnam and Jamaica that
they desired to be teachers, lawyers,
accountants, doctors, pilots, soldiers, nurses
and craftsmen, truck drivers, fishermen,
firemen and bank clerks.
Discussion cont.
 The choice of such occupations as
dressmaking, hairdressing and trading was
not surprising as this sort of training did not
require long term training with or without
formal education to complete.
 The findings are also in fulfillment of Rojewski
and Yang (1997) study which state that socio-
economic status was the most significant
indicator of low occupational aspiration. Thus
there is a correlation between socio-economic
level and career choice and career
Discussion cont.
 The few who chose occupations such as; the
Police, Army, engineering, law and medicine
maybe as a result of the influence of
Television and the movie industry which
portrays such occupations as prestigious and
attracting respect from society
 they could still be holding on to the hope of
achieving these vocations, it is also possible
that they might be too young to realize that
their status poses a challenge to these
vocational goals.

 The study sought to examine the vocational

aspirations of street children;
 it is interesting to note that even though the
children were disadvantaged, they still have
individual dreams to fulfill.
 They had strong desires for vocations irrespective
of their circumstances and reasons for which they
were on the streets.
 This is one positive indication that giving the
children the opportunity to have some economic
relief they would leave the streets to channel their
energies into more productive ventures that can
be of decency.
 The concept of street children phenomenon is
a multifaceted one
 It would be a challenge to use a single
intervention that will fit the needs of all these
children to solve their problems.
 Children who have become successful through
their activities on the street though have
vocational aspirations, may not be motivated
to leave the streets, however others who are
willing to be helped can be given skills for
employments and free education.
 Community leaders, Assemblymen/women,
Opinion Leaders and Politicians must assist in
the full implementation of the FCUBE
programme to enhance school enrolment.
Effective retention and maintenance of pupils
in school will minimize the child streetism in
 Withdrawn children who are now in decent
professions must serve as role models to the
existing generation to emulate.
 Government must develop a Training and
Rehabilitation Centre for street children.
Recommendation for future research
 A comparative study of children both on the
street and off the street and their vocational
aspirations could be looked at
 Exploration of how they came to prefer the
occupations they have chosen
 The relationship between age, educational
attainment and the vocational aspirations of
street children.
Limitations of the study
 Period of data collection
 Unwillingness of participants to open up
 Payment for taking part in the study