Discussing dilemmas for UK and Uganda

Last week, Year 6 pupils in Liss had their last lesson where we looked at rights and responsibilities. Firstly, we looked at the role of rights bearers, the people who make sure that rights are enforced. For example, if a child has the right to a tidy classroom, but a responsibility to ensure that they keep it tidy, then the rights bearer has to ensure that a classroom is provided in the first place,

After this we discussed dilemmas that may make us think carefully about rights. The children were asked to discuss one of two dilemmas:

Have the government the right to impose a ban on junk food for all school dinners in the UK?

Should parents be able to take children out of school to support their parents in the field at harvest time in Uganda?

Both questions generated some fierce debate. The children had to choose one of the two questions to answer while working as a pair. Here are a couple of their answers:

Holly and Leila

Junk food in schools shouldn’t be banned as if it was banned then our rights are being denied. If we eat too much junk food then that’s our fault and we would have to deal with the consequences. If junk food was banned then the children/adults who are sensible eaters wouldn’t be able to have a break once in a while from healthy choices. It isn’t ok to eat loads of junk food, but it still shouldn’t be taken away from us. We should be able to make our own choices and if our choice is to eat lots of junk food then that’s our own fault.

On the other hand, junk food should be banned as too many people are overweight at a young age. If we can’t control our diet then we should get as much help as we can. Other places can supply a treat for those who eat well, so it’s good for everyone. If there was too much unhealthy food on menus, people would most likely choose it over healthy options. Some people eat a lot of junk food outside of school so why not ban it inside school so we can convince them to be healthy.

We don’t think junk food should be banned as that would deny our rights to eat freely without being told what to eat. We should be able to control and convince ourselves to eat healthily, and if we can’t we deserve the consequences of being overweight. If unhelathy food was banned, it’s likely less people would get school dinners as it wouldn’t be something to look forward to, like a treat for healthy eaters. It’s our responsibility to stay healthy and we should only treat ourselves once in a while.

Levi and Isaac

We think that children should be banned from working in the fields as it will ruin the education of most children in Kafuro. If they don’t go to school then they will most likely not pass their end of year exams. Therefore the only job they will ever have will be in the fields.

On the other hand, we think that children shouldn’t be banned from helping their parents because if the school was worried about children working in the field s during harvest then they should just change the term dates and that problem would be solved.

In conclusion, the right of any child in Kafuro is to have a good education, but they have a responsibility to access it.

We asked Yowasi whether it was possible for Ugandan schools to change ter dates to fit in with harvests. Yowasi told us that schools do not have the power to do this and the Ministry of Education in Uganda sets the term dates. He added that the start of the rainy season has been so inconsistent in recent years that even if the dates changed there would be no guarantee that they would get them right.

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