by Christian Wong
On the 24th of May 2021, there were 24 new community COVID-19 cases. Among those were a 15-year-old Peicai Secondary student and a 16-year-old Greendale Secondary student.
According to the article, the students engaged in part-time employment with Pizza Hut whilst schooling.
One reason that secondary school-goers partake in wage work is the need to support their family due to their financial circumstances.
There are other reasons that they may do so; however, I will focus on the aforementioned reason as I believe that it warrants the most attention.
The average secondary school student has numerous commitments such as homework, examinations, and co-curricular activities (CCAs) stacked on their plate. If wage work is added to the pile, the student might be unable to dedicate more time to school-related commitments, which is of utmost importance.
Furthermore, the laborious nature of such part-time jobs saps these students of the energy needed for their schoolwork.
In addition, there is a disparity in the resources that lower-income students can dedicate towards their education compared to their more well-to-do peers. The competitive nature of our education system pushes for families to invest in their child’s education through tuition and enrichment courses if they have the means to do so.
Such a mindset is understandable as most, if not all parents would want the best for their child. However, lower-income students would therefore be less likely to catch up with the curriculum compared to other higher-income students
When one experiences a lack of time and treasures dedicated towards their education, they tend to fall behind their more affluent counterparts results-wise. Furthermore, with one’s success primarily being determined by their educational achievements, this likely weighs down on their shot for success.
When the ‘haves’ invest huge amounts of time and money into their child’s success while the ‘have-nots’ are unable to do so, the benchmark for success would naturally be raised higher. Hence, there would be a greater disparity in the outcomes between the lower and the higher-income students.
The example above can be used to illustrate the prevalence of inequality in our society and how it prevents citizens from the lower echelons of our society from levelling up.
Sure, there are stories of people who overcame the odds and managed to succeed despite the obstacles in their path, but is that the rule or the exception?
Ultimately, we must ask if we are doing enough to minimise inequality in our society and how we can work towards a more equal society for our future generations.