This thesis presents the outcomes of a study on the socio-educational development of children of street vendors in Ghana. For many children in Ghana, the reality of childhood and a sound education is compromised by premature involvement in economic activities in order to augment the meagre incomes of their parents and guardians to survive.
The research inquiry is guided by the main research question: What are the social and educational challenges in the development of the children of street vendors in Ghana? The study, specifically sought to explore the nature and prevalence of children of street vendors in Ghana; how the familial circumstances of children of street vendors affect their socio-educational development; how life on the street affect the socio-educational development of children of street vendors and what the implications of the findings are for stakeholders and policy makers in addressing the street child phenomenon.
The study was conducted according to the qualitative research approach, guided by the interpretivist paradigm. A case study research design was utilized in investigating six street vendors and their six children who live and do their business on the streets for their stories and viewpoints as to how they experience the life on the street. I used in-depth interview, and observations to explore participants‘ understanding and interpretation of the phenomenon. The theoretical frameworks of Bronfenbrenner and Piaget facilitated data collection and reinforced the findings.
Analysis revealed that children are on the street with their parents as a result of socio-economic problems (such as economic stagnation, urbanization, rural-to-urban migration, inadequate housing, high birth rates, and the absence of government assistance programmes) which have plagued the country for many years. Anecdotal evidence pointed out that children engaging in work is prevalent in Ghana and often constrains the choices and freedom of children and their human rights and socio-economic welfare. Findings further revealed that the extended families play an important role in supporting and maintaining family ties.
It is argued that, when government provides social safety nets for poor families, especially for those in the urban informal sector the likelihood that they will engage their children in, street trade and vending will minimize.