children are engaged in some kind of paid work

Question

In many countries, children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong, while others consider it as valuable work experience, important for learning and taking responsibilities.

Discuss.

Sample Answer

The issue of children doing paid work is a complex and sensitive one. It is difficult to say who has the right to judge whether children working is ‘wrong’ or ‘valuable’. Opinions will also differ as to ‘learning’ benefits: no doubt teachers and factory owners, for example, would have varying concerns.

An important consideration is the kind of work undertaken. Young children doing arduous and repetitive tasks on a factory production line, for example, are less likely to be ‘learning’ than older children helping in an old people’s home. There are health and safety issues to be considered as well. It is an unfortunate fact that many employers may prefer to use the services of children simply to save money by paying them less than adults and it is this type of exploitation that should be discouraged. There is a big possibility that those working kids are influenced by different types of people they are working with and some lead them to a malevolent way. For example, most of the working kids in the factory start smoking and even abuse drugs at a very early age. Some kids are engaged in full-time jobs to support their family and thus how completely destroying their education.

However, in many countries children work because their families need the additional income, no matter how small. This was certainly the case in the past in many industrialised countries, and it is very difficult to judge that it is wrong for children today to contribute to the family income in this way. A working child in many cases is the only earning member for many families. So their support is invaluable and they can’t leave the jobs no matter how hazardous the job is.

Nevertheless, I would like to conclude that, in better economic circumstances, few parents would choose to send their children out to full-time paid work. If learning responsibilities and work experience are considered to be important, then children can acquire these by having light, part-time jobs or even doing tasks such as helping their parents around the family home, which are unpaid, but undoubtedly of value in children development.

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