FREE IELTS SAMPLE ESSAYS: 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 responsibility. What are your opinions on this?

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.

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 industrialized countries, and it is very difficult to judge that it is wrong for children today to contribute to the family income in this way.

Nevertheless, 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’s development.

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