Imagine that you live in a country in which you have to work as a child.
What would your life be like in comparison to now? Try to answer the next questions about your situation:
1. What kind of house do you live in?
2. What is your family like?
3. What kind of job do your parents have?
4. How much money do you earn? Do you get pocket money?
5. What do you do in your free time? Do you have any free time?
6. What do you do during holidays?
7. What are you interested in?
8. What are you afraid of?
9. What makes you happy?
Read the following text.
• Child labour includes “all forms of work performed by children under 14 years of age, and all forms of work performed by children under 18 which is harmful to their physical or mental health and development, and which prevents them from attending school, irrespective of whether they receive a salary or not” (according to ILo 12, 2006).
Not all work done by children is harmful and blameworthy. Through work, children learn essential social and other skills in a natural way. So it depends on the conditions, as well as on the type and amount of work, while another determining factor is preserving enough time for education and play.
• In 2004, there were roughly 306 million working children between 5 and 17 years of age. This means that at that time, every seventh child in this age range on the planet was working. Despite the overall decrease in the number of working children that was registered recently, more than 126 million children were performing dangerous work in 2004, threatening their health and safety.
• The majority of these children work in agriculture (70 %), followed by the food processing industry, then commerce, transport, hotels and restaurants. Other children work in the streets or they are even involved in illicit activities. The problem of child labour most affects Asia, where 61 % of children have to work, then Africa and Latin America, while the least affected continent is Europe.
• Poverty tends to be viewed as one of the most significant causes of child labour. However, to blame poverty for child labour (sometime even considering it the only cause) would be a gross generalization. Poverty and child labour together form a vicious circle, and one cannot be understood - let alone solved - without the other. Child labour is actually not only a common consequence of poverty, but it simultaneously compounds it – it is not the solution it may appear to be at first sight. The families of working children often claim that their children must work, even if they do not like it, because their income is the only way to sustain their sick parents or younger siblings. Although it cannot be denied that in the short-term perspective the family receives some extra money, child labour is among the causes of poverty in the long run. Child labour is cheaper, since children have less means to defend themselves against abusively low wages. Objectively, they work less effectively, and so they are paid less, and moreover, they increase the competition for jobs, so child labour puts downwards pressure on salaries in the entire labour market with consequences for the whole society.
GC2.1 lesson 2 - lessonup
assignment 1: pair assignment
In pairs or groups of three you will get a card, read it and try to imagine in what circumstances the child lives.