The Economic Significance of Investing in Children

Theme:
  • Child Wellbeing
theme
77
Pages: 120
Year of Publication: 2011
Country: Africa

Most people, not only parents, have an emotional affection for children, particularly young children. one reason for this is that children are easily perceived as innocent. Children are seen as vulnerable and powerless, and therefore in need of protection and support. Children cannot be ‘evil,’ and cannot be anybody’s enemy; nobody can be against children.

Politicians often refer to the importance of children, with statements such as ‘children are our future,’ or ‘investing in children is investing in the future.’ The common perception of the child as being ‘innocent’ and ‘sacred’, the charitable reaction of many at the sight of suffering children, and the feeling that children should be given priority, paradoxically all contribute to the effective isolation of children from the rest of society.

Attitudes toward children have changed over time and vary a lot across countries, cultures and religions. Childhood is a broad term, referring to different development stages, from birth to adulthood. The very concept of childhood is a mental and social construct that continues to change over time and in all societies. Although all cultures in history are likely to have recognised the process of development from the infant to the adult, the specific notion of ‘childhood’ as a separate period in life is a relatively new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, in many cultures the institution of childhood was not historically recognised as a special period in one’s life, or deserving of particular attention. In Europe, for example, the concept of ‘childhood’ is relatively recent; before the concept became widely accepted, were seen essentially as ‘mini-adults’.

The idea of ‘investing in children’ is relatively new, although the practice of assisting children in learning the skills required in adulthood has always existed, in all cultures. With the introduction of formal education, however, parents all over the world gradually came to realise the importance of education, and to accept great sacrifices to ensure that their children got a good education.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: Urban Jonsson
Located in: Publications
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