The Industrial Revolution CIVICS Child Labour When the Industrial Revolution started, around 1760, children were employed and had to work the same amount of time as adults but received half the wages. Children as young as 5 years of age operated machines in factories or worked in coal mines. It was only in 1831 that the government approved the first laws to regulate labour. They forbade factory owners from employing children under the age of 9 and children under the age of 18 could not work more than 12 hours a day. Today the problem of the child labour has not been completely solved even if international agreements and laws exist in most countries in the world. ACTIVITY 6.A Pair work Working with a partner prepare wh-questions (who, where, when, what and why) for the image below and then give answers. Using the answers you have given, prepare a short oral description. England, children working in coal mines. UNICEF During the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946 the United Nations International Children s Emergency Fund was created. UNICEF works to improve the lives of children and their families all around the world and fights for the rights of every child seeking safe shelter, nutrition, equality, and protection from disasters and conflicts. UNICEF aims to ensure special protection for disadvantaged children, especially for victims of wars, disasters, poverty, violence and exploitation and children with disabilities. It promotes the equal rights of women and girls and supports their full participation in the political, social, and economic development of their communities. In 1959 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which recognizes, among other rights, children s rights to education, play, a supportive environment and health care. In 1989 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes the roles of children as social, economic, political, civil and cultural actors. One of the key problems that UNICEF faces is child labour. The use of child labour is very common especially in developing countries where children work to help their families. UNICEF estimates that at least 250 million children work in various sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and domestic services. These children do not attend school, so it is evident that to combat child labour it is necessary to ensure universal primary education. ACTIVITY 6.B Individual research 1. Go to the UNICEF website and read the articles n. 32, n. 36 and n. 38 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, in the Child-Friendly Version. 2. Read them and then do some research to find information about the conditions of children in rapidly developing countries, for example in Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. 3. Write a short report (180-200 words) about the workplaces, the employment and treatment of children, and the standard of living in these countries. 4. Referring to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child add a short comment to your report stating which article of the Convention is not being respected. 549