Babies will go nowhere | Daily News

Babies will go nowhere

Last week almost all media spoke about the measures taken by the Labour Ministry to amend the Labour law in order to allow school students aged between 16-20 years to undergo internship programmes at private companies.

Even editorials were written in some newspapers on this topic. But none spoke about what needed to be spoken in connection with this subject.

During a discussion attended by Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, it has been observed that there are several disputes in the labour market as students are not trained for various job environments.

Thereby, it has been decided to engage school students aged over 16-20 years to undergo internship programmes for a period of 20 hours for one month.

Under this new measure, the Labour Ministry will also permit private companies to provide payments to the students during this training period.

There is no argument that this is one of the best decisions made recently in connection with schoolchildren. It is more admirable because the decision had been made by the Labour Ministry and not by the Education Ministry. But there are certain very important factors that need to be included and considered when implementing this new measure.

Priority should be given to the undergraduates in State Universities who totally depend on the Mahapola Scholarship / Bursaries and the money given to them by their innocent poor aged parents. It should be made compulsory for all undergraduates in all State Universities except Medical students to do part time jobs during their university education.

This will help the country to progress in many ways. It will use their valuable time for something useful and they will not have time and enthusiasm to walk along roads, shout saying various unrealistic slogans, make ordinary people’s lives a hell and destroy State properties. With the time being they will understand how hard it is to earn money. The best fact is already some of the undergraduates are doing part time jobs and they do not take part in any destructive activities. Most of those part time employed undergraduates are from the Management Faculties. Those who do not do any part time jobs are from Arts Faculties.

Then comes the schoolchildren between the ages of 16 and 20. The bitter truth in Sri Lanka, parents treat their children as toddlers even after they get married and parents become grandparents. On the other hand some young parents just neglect their children due to various reasons such as poverty, drug addiction, underage marriages (due to becoming parents when they themselves are children under the age of 18 or 21) etc.

Anyway a country cannot walk forward under this situation. The system has worked so far due to certain reasons. Those reasons were very interesting. One such reason is that the parents did not have to face many economic hardships. There was a certain culture which did not include International Schools and encouraged schoolchildren to build up their whole personality without limiting themselves to education. There were fewer school dropouts. Anyway they helped their parents to earn money by helping them at home in various ways such as assisting agricultural activities, etc. They had an idea about income generating even during their school age.

But by now the entire environment has changed into the negative side. The most affected are urban and semi-urban children. They are just ‘toddlers’ for their parents and they don’t even know how to make a cup of tea or wash their own clothes even at the age of 25. So there is no point in talking about the 16 to 20 age limit. They think that it is the responsibility of their parents to feed them and offer whatever amount of money demanded by them at any time for anything. They do not know the real value of money and how hard it is to earn money because they get money without any problem.

Due to this same reason most of the time they waste money for drugs, fun, etc. But letting them earn money will give them an idea about the hardships their parents undergo to earn money for them.

About four years ago almost all media reported how some young schoolgirls in some popular schools in the Colombo city were involved in prostitution in order to earn money to pay their mobile phone bills. This was discussed in Parliament at that time. This is very valuable information for today. Parents should cut down the monthly amount of money they usually give to their children to pay tuition fees, school van fees, to use as pocket money etc. to match with the amount of money the children earn now.

The parents should have a proper, swift and daily coordination with the employer of the child/children. A proper monitoring system should be established by the Labour Ministry for each and every child who does a part time job. No need to listen to the trade unionists who don’t have children and are still single. 

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