Syed Fahadulla Hussainy
Writing and Communication Sec 14
4th January 2012
Is Child Labor Acceptable in Pakistan?
Child labor is a global phenomenon that is defined as the children working under the age of 14 or 16 years. While most of the developed world has been able to overcome with this so-called social evil, child labor has been prevailing in almost all of the developing countries. The International Labor Organization (ILO) and Human Rights Organizations have been active in eliminating the practice of child labor through the agreement on the protection of the rights of children and the labor. The issue of child labor came into consideration in ...view middle of the document...
It is said that education is an investment in a child for better job opportunities in the future. However, in Pakistan, education sector is not efficient in providing subsidized education at primary level and the quality of education provided does not guarantee better future jobs for the educated children. With the budget allocation for education as low as 2.2% of GDP, the education sector in Pakistan cannot provide the less privileged children free education even at primary level. And also, the focus of the educational budget is mainly on the higher studies rather than primary level which only benefits the upper class, while the rural areas and the low-income earning groups are neglected (Memon, 2). As a result, the quality of education at primary level for these unfortunates goes on to decrease while the lack of trained teachers and the poor infrastructure in government schools worsen the situation. This implies that the children who are discouraged to work cannot be better off by studying in the current education system since it cannot be guaranteed that they will get better jobs in the future.
Cost of education to the families of the children is also a factor that hinders the attainment of schooling. The expenditure on the course books, uniforms, transportation etcetera totals to an amount which cannot be borne by the impoverished families just to educate their children. Moreover, the opportunity cost, that is the loss of income otherwise generated by the children, decreases the total income of the household which makes the family suffer more. According to an article published in The News, a boy named Rehman said that he wanted to study but if he did not earn for his family, his sisters, brother and mother would starve to death (Khattak n.p). In addition to this, condemning the child labor is not a solution; however, a child could work part time while attending the school so that he or she can add to the household’s income to pay for food and secure shelter for the family. According to ILO survey, 13.2% of the working children in Pakistan also attend schools (“Child Labor Situation – Pakistan” n.p). In this way, a child can learn practical or trade skills at work and can get necessary education for his or her future development at the same time. Furthermore, the skills of these working children can be upgraded by special non-formal educational programs so that they become efficient in doing their jobs and gain experience by working.
It is claimed that child labor is immoral as it leads to the exploitation of children working in dangerous environments and gives rise to child abuse. Dealing with exploitation of child labor has always been a serious problem for the government. With allowing the employers to employ children in their factories, the government should take measures to examine the number of working hours the children are made to work and the working conditions. Along with this, the working children could form unions in Pakistan...