The education issues of indonesian street children
Aun Falestien Faletehan
UNICEF defines Child Work as “Children’s participation in economic
activity that does not negatively effect their health and development or
interfere with education can be positive. Work that does not interfer with
education (light work) is permitted from the age of 12 years under the
International labour Organization (ILO) Convention 138”.
While the Child Labour is “more narrowly defined and refers to children
working in contravention of the above standards. This means all children
below 12 years of age working in any economic activities, those age 12 to
14 years engaged in harmful work, and all children engaged in the worst
forms of child labour.”
Based on ILO, child labour refers to work that is mentally, physically,
socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with
their schooling; by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; by
obliging them to leave school prematurely; or by requiring them to
attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy
The broader concept of “Beneficial vs Harmful “
as a form of child labour?
are engaged in various forms of informal income generation in
order to contribute to the household economy or for personal
It has been argued that economic independence, and ability to
contribute to the household, is an important psychological factor
in street children’s resiliency, self-confidence and feelings of self-
All children who live outside their homes and do economic
activities in the street are now called street children. With this
definition, children forced into prostitution and working children
can also be called street children.
Street children with family:
• Still get attention from family
• Continue their schooling
• Work longer hours because forced to bring money to family
• Apply more concentration to their work
• Work as vendors, beggars, street singers, shoe shiners, etc.
• More independent and appear to enjoy their work more
• More exposed to, and subsequently exhibit more violent behaviour
• Drop out of school
• Receive less or no attention from family
• Tend to use drugs and engage in gambling activities
• Poor health
The Consortium for Street Children (CSC) consists of 56 UK based organisations,
working in 89 countries, dedicated to the welfare and rights of street living and
working children and children at risk of taking to street life
Fighting for the rights of street children in developing countries, the Peduli Anak
Foundation can be characterized as an international NGO. Peduli Anak’s unique
approach towards development work has travelled around the world rapidly.
Indonesian street children organisation (ISCO Foundation)
Street Kids International is a non-profit agency founded in Canada that is a global
leader in developing and disseminating the strategies and tools needed to give street
kids around the world the choices, skills, and opportunities to make a better life for
The European Foundation for Street Children (EFSC) is a Brussels-based foundation
established in 1995 by Maartje Van Putten, Member of the European Parliament from
1989 to 1999, being committed to improving the situation of children at risk, and
particularly street children, on a non-profit basis.
The issue of street children first emerged in early
1980s when less than ten NGOs were working in this
area and the government refused to acknowledge the
existence of street children
The term “anak jalanan” (street children) was once a
taboo word in Indonesia – considered “subversive”, or
anti-development in 1980s but is now accepted.
Street children are called GEPENG (GElandangan-
PENGemis/ Homeless-Beggar) which in Indonesian
means "thin or slim" but implies the marginalization
and humiliation of street children as human beings
A phenomenon in large cities.
About 60,000 homeless children in Indonesia; 20,000 of
whom live in Jakarta (The Capital City).
There are also 11.7 million school dropouts, 400,000 of
whom live in shelters for displaced persons.
Poverty and parent involvement are the main reasons
Street Children mostly work in the informal sector as shoe-
shiners, street peddling, street singers, baggage carriers,
car washers, beggars, and illegal parking assistants, etc.
People can find them easily in such areas as traditional
market, mall, train station, bus station or congested
Street children’s life as
“career” (Visano’s theory:
A research by Beazley (2003)
about the street child
subculture “the Tikyan” in
There are distinct
hierarchical levels and codes
of ethics attached to all
working activities, and older
children will teach
newcomers the rules of
working on the street.
The lowest level of work in
the Tikyan hierarchy is
The “Big Boss” of beggars
Also, some children
plastic spoons, water
clothes, which they
re-sell and wear.
Shoe-shining is the most
street boys and can be
especially for those boys
who play on the fact
that they look cute, thus
gaining sympathy from
the general public.
which street boys in
engaged in are selling
water, sweets and
and selling jewelry.
Busking with guitars, drums and tambourines
is at the top of the instrument and work
hierarchy, and street children take a lot of
pride in playing their guitars as it confers a
significant amount of sub-cultural capital.
“Most young children who want to stop shoe-
shining desperately aspire to own a guitar
and will try and save up so that they can buy
one, and thus move up the hierarchy.”
Street children are particularly vulnerable to the worst
forms of child labour which are both potentially and
actually hazardous, including commercial sexual
exploitation of children (CSEC) and involvement in
Further, due to the rigidity of formal education
timetabling, the types of labour engaged in by street
children often prohibit them from attending school,
thus perpetuating cycles of poverty.
Where is an integral part of their learning and
Street children are mainly the product of parents who tragically
live under the poverty line and cannot afford to send their
children to school.
The high rates of out-of-school children have resulted in an
increased number of working children and street children, with
the former often working under less than secure conditions.
A survey revealed that the reason the children were taking to the
street was to either help their parents economically by working on
the streets (35%) or paying tuition fees (27%).
It was also reported that almost half of the street children (44%)
still study at school and most of (83%) still live with their parents
and 13% of the street children had dropped out of school.
Every citizen has the right to education (Article 31:1)
The poor and destitute children shall be cared for by the State
The basic nine-years education which is compulsory for any
children (section 48 of Law No. 23/2002 on Child Protection)
versus the Indonesian government budget.
Section 69(1) of the Manpower Act allows employment of children
aged between 13 and 15 years for light work as long as the job
does not stunt or disrupt their physical, mental or social
development. They are not allowed to work more than three hours
per day. The work should not interfere with schooling, and health
and safety requirements have to be respected. However, there is
no list of types of light work activities that may be performed by
children between 13 and 15 years.
Street-working children in Indonesia is a serious
problem and many children drop out of school
and labour inspection is insufficient.
Reformation of the education system?
Cooperation between NGO’s at local, national
and international levels
“How to design an effective strategy to provide
better education for the street-working children