Wednesday, January 03, 2007

$100 laptop, Child Labour and other random thoughts

Well, Nicholas Negroponte's $100 laptop is almost ready. I am sure it may be something really great for children of underdeveloped and developing countries.

What caught my eye was his comment:
"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint," Negroponte wrote in an e-mail interview. "I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."
That is very true.
This throws up some interesting questions:
  1. Can a child of an artisan learning ancestral art be considered child labor?
  2. If a child is learning science and maths in a school, or learns to write a software program, should it be considered child labor?
  3. Should the baby who acted in "Baby's Day Out" be considered child labor? In the same breath, should all child actors be considered child labor? What about child musicians and other prodigies?
Why is child labor rampant in underdeveloped countries? One of the greatest reason for that is that most countries fail to implement proper minimum wage policy. The policy is faulty, and sometimes not enforced. Sometimes, the amount of minimum wage is so low, that it does not allow a person to sustain himself/herself and additional 1 defendant (say a child). Think about large families with several children. Only option left for them is to beg, work, and somehow make their living. Can the countries raise their minimum wage to allow a person to survive himself and feed an additional person? If that is possible then those parents would be ready to send their children to schools.

No comments: