The Effects of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I municipality

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Effects of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I municipality

Department: Educational Psychology 

No of Pages: 77

Project Code: EPY11

References: Yes

Cost: 5,000XAF Cameroonian 

         : $15 for International students

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The study investigated the effects of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behaviour in the Limbe I Municipality. Specifically, the study examined whether student’s lateness, and poverty affects adolescent’s classroom behaviour.


Data was collected purposively, with the use of a questionnaire, from a sample population of 80 students. The study employed a descriptive study design. Data was descriptively analysed from the questionnaire by calculating frequencies and percentages.


Inferential statistics were also employed, using the Spearman Rho Correlation coefficient. Findings revealed that lateness had a significant effect on street hawking (R=0.531, P = 0.01); fatigue has a significant effect on street hawking (R= 0.465, P = 0.022); poverty has a significant effect on street hawking (R= 0.265, P = 0.017).


By implication street hawking has a significant effect on adolescent classroom behaviour. It was recommended that parents should be sensitized to the adverse effect of hawking on children schooling.


It was also recommended that street hawking by students should be restricted to weekends/holidays and parents should ensure that the students have some hours to rest and study and during the last


week of holidays the students should be free from hawking to revise their notes in preparation for resumption; and students who involved in street hawking should be treated as those with special needs.


During teaching and learning, teachers should give them special attention by: encouraging them to participate; help them develop positive academic self-concept and self-esteem; and make the classroom conducive for learning.





This chapter focuses on the introduction to the study, the background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, hypotheses, justification, the significance of the study, the scope of the study, and the operational definition of terms.


Background of the study

Street hawking is a form of selling goods along the road from one place to the other (Umar 2009). It also extends to be an act of canvassing for sale items carried by a hawker along the street from house to house or in the public space (Ikechebebu et al 2008: 114).


Asare (2010) sees street hawking as an act of selling retail goods directly on busy city streets, while Amoo (2012), is displaying wares by the roadside, carrying head pan or raising a sample of wares to the commuters while the vehicle is moving. Umar (2009) define street hawking as the selling of things along the roads and from one place to the other.


A synthesis of the literature shows that there are other names street hawking is been refer to among which are; small and medium scale trade (Eghosa, 2010), street trading (Amoo, 2012), street vending (Mittulah, 2005), which, however, has the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.


There is no single universal definition of the concept of street hawking; it has been defined differently by many researchers but portraying the same meaning.


The above definitions give a picture of what is visible in the pattern of present-day hawking. Unlike in the past when hawkers move from house to house and around the marketplace, now high ways are the major spot of hawking due to a large number of commuters every day.


Street hawking, therefore, is a small scale trade in which the seller move around in search for prospective buyer from house to house, public offices, institutions and mainly motor parks and busy pedestals.

For this study, street hawking is referring to hawking by school-going children. A child is a person male or female who is below the age of eighteen.


In literature, hawking involving children is referring to differently but holds the same meaning as child street-trading (Ashimolowo et al., 2010), teenage hawking (Eghosa, 2010), juvenile street hawking (Udoh & Joseph 2010), child street vendor (Ugochukwu, 2012) and child street hawking (Dada, 2013).


Therefore, child street-hawking can be interchangeable with street hawking which is the act of selling wares by children. A hawker is someone who engages in street hawking, however when the person is a child, it can refer to as; juvenile hawker (Ayodele, &Olubayo-Fatiregun, 2014), child street-vendor, (Ugochukwu, 2012), child hawker (Akighir, 2013), and child street-trader.


To distinct the child hawker by gender, it can be referred to as male child-hawker (if it is a boy) and female child-hawker or girl-child hawker (if it is a girl).


Involving children in hawking goods in the street is an emerging trend in Cameroon and an issue of concerns Cameroon being among the poorest economies in the world—with the accompanying effects of unemployment, poor infrastructural facilities, and lack of human empowerment—has seen most of her populace living in abject poverty.


Therefore, because of the low socio-economic status of most families in Cameroon and the high rate of poverty, most parents cannot help but push their children into the streets where they spend long hours selling either cold water, fruits, boiled groundnut, “Congo meat” (fried snails), beverages and so on; so that the proceeds may contribute to family upkeep.


This situation is alarming because street hawking is a form of child labour and abuse which is on the increase. Street hawking is considered a form of child abuse because it endangers the health (physical, spiritual, psychological, and social) and safety of the child especially the girl child about rape; interferes with his/her education, and deprives him/her the right to a normal and happy childhood.


Historically, street hawkers and street markets originated, all over the world, as the real first form of retailing. Today we still use the term ‘street markets to refer to outdoor spaces that are made up of a set of implicit and explicit traditions and cultural practices, but these are also spaces of sociality and connection (Watson 2009; Watson and Studdert 2006).


Hawking appears to be part of Cameroon culture and understandably so Cameroon being among the poorest economies in the world—with the accompanying effects of unemployment, poor infrastructural facilities, and lack of human empowerment—has seen most of her populace living in abject poverty.


Therefore, because of the low socio-economic status of most families in Cameroon and the high rate of poverty, most parents cannot help but push their wards into the streets where they spend long hours, at the mercy of environmental elements, selling ―pure water (sachet water), fruits, confectioneries, beverages and so on; so that the proceeds may contribute to family upkeep.


This situation is alarming because street hawking is a form of child labour and abuse which is on the increase in Uyo metropolis. Street hawking is considered a form of child abuse because it endangers the health (physical, spiritual, psychological, and social) and safety of the child; interferes with his/her education, and deprives him/her the right to normal and happy childhood.


In the words of Ebigbo (2003), ―The traditional farming and trading Nigerian society, impacted by economic and political misery, cultural conflict, unemployment, illiteracy, and urban drift, is leading to exploited, uneducated, abused, malnourished children.


With the advent of industrialization and increased urbanization since1950, the conflict between the government and street hawkers over these of public space has deepened; the government has intensified its intervention in street hawking in an attempt to gain greater control over the management of public space.


It is now widely recognized within the government apparatus that any attempt at eradicating street hawking is unrealistic; instead, increased enforcement actions are channeled into controlling street hawkers’ access to public space for economic activity.


From an economic point of view, hawkers offer the possibility of providing cheaper goods to local residents, helping to lower their living expenses and maintain sociality, thus avoiding the withering away of what is common to the community (Ranciere 2009).


Hawking also offers the possibility of ‘absorbing excess labour during uncertain employment conditions and honing entrepreneurial skills useful for economic development (McGee and Yeung 1977, 47).


McGee and Yeung advocated the adoption of indigenous planning policies that could provide support (as opposed to obstacles) for the co-existence of the hawking profession with the progressive development of the city, since—in their opinion—economic advancement and hawking could actually complement each other and encourage greater productivity.


Rather, Smart (1989) argued, street hawking had a crucial functional importance vis-a-vis the overall retailing structure. Due to the relatively slow growth of wages in the 1980s (which were pegged to the supply and demand mechanisms of the labour market), the more flexible hawking profession had the potential to become a high-income profession in some cases.


There were also personal advantages, such as the possibility of being one’s own boss and carrying on the family business, combining the historical tradition with the economic basis for self-sustainment.


Depending on their specific location, some hawkers were also able to establish contacts and mutual dependence networks with the adjacent shops: a strategy which allowed them to survive in spite of the competition that modern shopping complexes have created for them.


Street vending is the most visible form of informal economic activity across developing countries. Regardless of its massive contribution to the economy and employment, many still view the activity as a nuisance that ought to be eliminated or at least kept in check by the government.


Arguably, street vendors are harmless. They have one purpose: to sell their wares and make money. In fact, their supply is driven by the continuous demand by customers who indicate preference for the convenience and affordability of these roadside products.


In cities like Doula and Yaounde where traffic is part of everyday life, street vendors provide an essential service to tired and frustrated drivers stuck in traffic. Yet, there seems to be a constant cat and mouse relationship between the government and street vendors, with the latter often treated like criminals.


From an economic standpoint, they promote informality, undercut prices, propel the market for smuggled goods and encourage bad business practices. These vendors are not held accountable and often get away with activities that would be considered unethical in the formal sector.


Food and drink constitute a major part of the street vending market; raising a serious question about public health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 600 million people die from food contamination annually.


Consumers are therefore putting themselves at risk daily when they consume these unidentified items; that cheap plate of rice could come at a price. We also have the pertinent issue of child labour.


Most of the children littering the street sought to be in school. Instead, they spend their days doing dangerous jobs that could potentially cost them their lives. And, in some cases, these children become part of the Almajiri system or even fall into the hands of human traffickers.


Children are seen as the most important element of development. That is why their welfare in society is an index of social and economic development of that society. As such, child welfare is included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) (UNESCO, 2004).


In the recent times, street hawking has received considerable attention from public as well as government. However, parents are faced with the challenges of running the families and provision for the basic needs of their children during this period when the unemployment rate and poverty level is at the peak.


Parents often argue that this necessitates them to solicit helping hands from their children through Hawking in order to make the family meet their ends (Esan, 2011).


Nevertheless, as Cruzador (1998) points out,  there is nothing wrong with work … what is wrong is the way the children are exploited, beaten and sexually abused; this basic assumption holds insofar as the Cameroon economic situation is concerned.


Taken differently, juvenile work is a good form of industry training given to children and should not be completely eradicated. What is required to allay the threat of child labour and abuse is a more nuanced view of children ‘s contribution to family income and livelihood.


It is thus hoped that by thus exposing the negative effects of street hawking on children, those concerned will be able to draw the line between what amounts to child work training and child labour and abuse.


Conceptually, child-street hawking is a common phenomenon in most African countries and Cameroon is not an exemption. This is more prevalent in urban areas where these children are found along highways or at travelling agencies.


Hawking is a form of trade in which the seller (hawker) carry wares (commodities or goods) from one place to another in search of prospective buyers. Child-Street hawking refers to the selling of goods carry out by a person below the age of eighteen (child-street hawker).


Among child-street hawkers are school going children (in-school child-hawkers) who out of necessity combine schooling with economic activities despite its consequences. Street hawking affects adolescent’s classroom behaviour in the sense these children get tired due to running up


and down to sell their commodities, some of them hawk till late hours of the night and sleep very late which affect the time in which they wake up to go to school, the mentality that he/she is missing while others are making money affects their attendance in school which goes a long way to affect their academic performance.


Early deprivation of children‘s right to normal life could lead to behavioural problems. Thus, the behavioural manifestations of problems associated with street hawking include problems of social maladjustment, moral defect, emotional reaction and insecurity.


Dantiye and Haruna (2004) observed that street hawking is highly detrimental to children‘s physical, mental, psychological, and social development.


Also, in a study conducted by Aderinto and Okunola (1998), children submitted that they were pushed into street hawking by maintenance needs. Onibokun (2000) also found that children are forced into street hawking by the need to contribute to family income, lack of relevant education that can guarantee employment after training and demands of traditions.


Also, ILO (1998) submitted that 40% of street children are employed as sex workers, drug peddlers, car washers and bus conductors for economic ends.

Juvenile street hawking has a negative effect on the level of education attained, school attendance, school grades, literacy, and overall human capital formation (Murphy, Jellinek, Quinn, Smith, Poitrast, &Goshko, 1991).


It is also found to results in low school enrolment with developmental and performance implications (Basu& Van, 1998). In another study conducted in Asia, child labor was also found to negatively affect the educational outcomes of children (Charles & Charles, 2004).


In Africa, and particularly in rural Nigeria, it has been observed that child laborers generally have lower school attendance (Robson, 2004).


The physical and health consequences of children participating in the sales and service sector of the economy have been identified in Latin America, Asia and Africa to include various diseases


such as respiratory problems, injuries, rape and molestation, malnourishment, extortion of income, and participation in harmful or delinquent activities, inadequate sleep due to fatigue and long hours on the job, and confinement in juvenile homes (Finkelman, 1995; Ross, 1996).


Children engaged in trading encounter problems related to their psychological well-being too. Stigmatization by the press and public, feelings of disheartenment, stress and irritability, personality disorders, anti-social behaviour, alienation, and isolation from their family have all been identified (Amin, 1994).


Still on the effects of child labour on the mental health of the child, Baland and Robinson (2000) found that these children suffer verbal abuse, low self esteem, and a loss of imagination and future direction in life.


It is also a known fact that child labourers tend to keep bad company and are negatively pressured by peers to engage in delinquent behaviour (Hughes, 2009). One common thread emerging from the synthesis of literature is that child labour had detrimental effects for children's health, social and educational well-being.


Theoretically, street hawking would be guided by Maslow hierarchy of needs (1943).Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.


From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological (food and clothing), safety (job security), love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.


The study would equally be guided by Erik Erikson psychosocial theory of development. Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order through eight stages of psychosocial development, from infancy to adulthood.


During each stage, the person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development. For Erikson (1958, 1963), these crises are of a psychosocial nature because they involve psychological needs of the individual (i.e., psycho) conflicting with the needs of society (i.e., social).


According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues. Basic virtues are characteristic strengths which the ego can use to resolve subsequent crises.

Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and sense of self. 


These stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time. For the purpose of this research, the fifth stage which is identity versus role confusion would be used since it relates to adolescents.


Furthermore, the study would also be guided by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory (1979) Bronfenbrenner developed the ecological systems theory to explain how everything in a child and the child’s environment affects how a child grows and develops.


According to Bronfenbrenner, the contexts of development are like circles within circles. He labelled different aspects or levels of the environment that influence children’s development, including the micro system, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem and chronosystem.


Contextually, this research was carried out in the limbe I municipality in Fako division, Southwest Region of Cameroon. The researcher choose this area because of the alarming increase in the rate of child hawkers in the area which calls for concern.


Statement of the problem

The sole responsibility of parents is to take care of their children with regard to their needs, emotions, and financial assistance especially with respect to education.


But when parents fail to provide financial support, children turn to engage in commercial activities such as selling of oranges, cold water, boiled groundnuts, fried snails commonly known as “Congo meat”, roasted as well boiled corn in order to add the family’s revenue.


Student’s involvement in this street hawking goes a long way to affect the time in which they go to bed which cause them to go late to school, tiredness as a result of selling throughout the day and not regularly attending classes.


The increase population of children in the hawking business in the streets, quarters and market in Limbe, coupled with the fact that some these children do not live with their biological parents are of concern to the researcher.


The prime intent of the researcher is to investigate the effects of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behavior.


Research Questions

Main Research Question

What is the effect of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I Municipality?

Specific Research Questions

  • To what extent does students’ lateness to school affect adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I municipality?
  • To what extend does fatigue affect adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I Municipality?
  • To what extent does poverty affect adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I municipality.


Objectives of the study

Main Objective

  • The main objective of the study is to examine the effects of street hawking on adolescent’s classroom behavior in the Limbe I Municipality.


Specific Objectives

·         To examine whether student’s lateness to school affect adolescent’s classroom behavior.

·         To examine whether student’s fatigue affect adolescent’s classroom behavior.

·         To examine whether poverty affects adolescent’s classroom behavior.

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