Child labour is a matter of national concern: What is the curriculum doing about it?

Keywords: child, curriculum, child labour, child work, trafficking


There is fine line between work or labour that is appropriate and acceptable, minimum working age for children and when work becomes inappropriate and unacceptable for children. While some children do work that is beneficial for them; others are trapped in illegal labour practices. The elimination of child labour is high on the international agenda of the Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet, the South African school curriculum seems to be silent on the issue. A non-empirical qualitative document analysis conducted  on all South Africa’s compulsory school curricula for Grade 1–9 revealed that while some subjects engage with concepts related to legal or illegal labour practices to some extent, others do not engage with these concepts at all. It appears that much more attention needs to be given to the difference between legal and illegal child labour practices to help prevent children from becoming victims of illegal labour practices. This paper closes by highlighting further research needed to address the issue of illegal child labour practices – specifically on raising awareness in the school curriculum as a preventative measure.

Research Articles