There is a bird in a poem by T. S. Eliot who says that mankind cannot bear very much reality; but the bird is mistaken. A man can endure the entire weight of the universe for eighty years. It is unreality that he cannot bear.
Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)
The Lathe of Heaven, 1971
End of Childhood Report 2018 in Numbers
There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
"In commemoration of International Children’s Day, Save the Children releases its second annual End of Childhood Index, taking a hard look at the events that rob children of their childhoods and prevent them from reaching their full potential." From the introduction of The Many Faces of Exclusion.
This sheet has seven statements focusing on the plight of child around the world, one on the extraction of wealth from Africa and two on inequality.
Start by asking if anyone knows the term childhood and can say what it means. Ask the class at what age a child becomes an adult. Introduce the term age of majority and point out that in most countries anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child and anyone over an adult. Go through a few exceptions by naming a country and having students guess the age of majority (eg Indonesia: 15, Cuba: 16, the UK: 16, North Korea: 17, Canada: 19, South Korea: 19, Japan: 20, New Zealand: 20, Singapore: 21. Then point out that according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child the age of majority is considered to be 18.
Next hand out the sheet and read the introduction. Then go through the numbers. Students can divide into pairs and take turns pointing at a number for the other to read. Another possibility is to write the numbers on the board, set a timer going and have random students take turns calling out a number. If it matches one on the board erase it. If it doesn't write up the number as another target. Can the students clear the board in under two minutes?
Next give the students a chance to skim read the ten statements and ask about any vocabulary they are unsure about. The word looted in statement eight is a prime candidate so if no-one asks about it choose a student at random to explain it and offer an alternative word. After this the students can fill out the sheet. With a small group of students go through each of the statements in turn. With a large group divide students into groups of 3-4 and have each group decide its own answers before going through the answers together. Finish with each student sharing a childhood memory.
Here are the numbers in order:
95, 58, 1200,000,000, 153,000,000, 1,000.ooo.000
240,000,000, 575,000,000, 41,300,000,000, 82, 42
Points to Consider and Mention:
1. Inequality has increased over the last few years. Consider showing the 2013 Global Wealth Inequality video by TheRulesOrg. At that time 300 individuals had the same wealth as 3 billion.
2. The number of child labourers has decline by almost 40% since the year 2000 but 152 million children are still forced into work with 73 million doing hazardous work (End of Childhood Report p11)
3.There are 2,208 billionaires in the world and one in four live in the US. 40 million US citizens live in poverty with over 5 million eking out an existance "amid the kind of absolute deprivation normally associated with the developing world." (Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, 1 June 2018)
4. Do the students think there is a connection between global wealth inequality and children at risk? If they do can they think of any ways of curbing inequality? What problems could arise with minimum and maximum wage rates? Does democracy demand a cap on individual wealth?
Open for comments! Please send suggested improvements to these notes or the sheet itself.
Last revision 4 June 2018
getfile: End Of Childhood Report 2018 in NumbersB5 Size, 1 page (1.78 mb)
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