For our first activity, we want you to gather into groups and discuss the different discourses of childhood. (venn diagram)
As you can see, oftentimes Westernized discourses conflict with the discourses associated with contexts of child labour. We can see dramatic differences between them. Therefore it is difficult to come up with a universal standard for working children.
In many countries where child labour is high, children have joined together to form unions to express their ideas on what they think are appropriate child rights. Children were mostly aged 12-16, many of who worked in the informal sector. Many were either immigrants or children of immigrants. Many of these children live in impoverished conditions that put their health and basic human rights at risk. Some of these organizations have come up with lists of basic rights for every child, including those who are working. The CRC accepts most of these rights, with the exception of any right dealing with work. The children demanded the right to work.
Why do you the CRC does not fully develop specific working rights and standards for children? (discuss in groups)
Do you think that working rights should be included in the CRC? (or omitted) Article 32 of the CRC says “States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development” The present CRC says that children should not be economically exploited in anyway impede their development or interfere with their education. This a limited view because it ignores the importance of work on children’s survival.
Do you think that work could more beneficial than education in some contexts?
Sometimes children feel that work might teach them more life skills applicable in the future than the poor quality schools in underdeveloped countries. The work they do help their families and the communities that they live in. The communities they live in are very important to the children. The right to stay in one’s communities was one right that was repeatedly demanded by children’s working unions.
This leads to the debate of children as social subjects.
According to the article, how would you define social subjects?
Social subjects are independent beings, that can freely participate in society. Children as social subjects assumes that children are understood in the present instead of what they will become in the future. They have equal access to social resources and rights. The working children want to be seen not only as