Monday, April 13, 2009
Labour plans compulsory volunteer work for under-19s (but surely, it can't be voluntary if it's compulsory!)
Gordon Brown has a plan to keep young people busy by making them do volunteer work: Labour plans compulsory community service for youngsters Manifesto pledge for under-19s to do 50 hours' voluntary work Every young person will have to do 50 hours' voluntary work by the age of 19 if Labour wins the next election. Gordon Brown said a plan for compulsory community service would be included in Labour's manifesto. Under the scheme, the work – which could include helping charities in the UK and abroad – is likely to become part of the national curriculum. (link via guardian. co.uk) Now there are lots of questions that immediately spring to my mind about this plan. Firstly, how can it be called volunteer work if it's compulsory? Isn't "compulsory volunteer work" an oxymoron? And what level of service would these young people (under-19s) be providing if they are being forced to do it? And how would the "volunteers" be organized and supervised? And how would the "compulsory" part of the plan be enforced? And how would their achievements be evaluated? And wouldn't this plan make young people feel rather used? I should think they would feel as though they are looked upon as a source of free manpower disguised as "volunteers". And finally, isn't it infringing on their "right" to spend their own time as they see fit rather than be required to do volunteer work 'outside the school day'? What about the children who have planned lots of after-school activities and busy weekends with their families? Do parents get a say in this? What are your thoughts about Gordon Brown's volunteer plan for children? Do you think it's a good idea?