Cognitive skills among Nepalese child labourers

Authors:
Esa Alaraudanjoki, Murari P. Regmi, Timo Ahonen, Jari‐Erik Nurmi, Isto Ruoppila
Published Online:
18 Oct 2010
DOI:
10.1080/00207590042000164
Pages:
242-250
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 36 Issue 4

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The cognitive skills of 61 Nepalese 10–14‐year‐old working children with at least 2 years working experience (WE) were compared to two groups of children, beginners (N=29) with less than 1 year of WE and a school group (N = 104) matched for age and ethnic background. All the children (N=194) were tested by the Bender test, WISC‐R for Arithmetic, Digit Span, and the Word Fluency test. The main results showed that the school group was better in all the cognitive tests, except for Digit Span Backwards, where the working group had the highest average score. The second main finding shows no major differences in cognitive skills between the beginner and working groups. However, the work experience as such was related to decreasing visuoconstructive skills and improving Digit Span Forward scores. This suggests that work in the carpet factories seem to develop the verbal short‐term memory functions of the children, while their visuoconstructive skills decrease by work experience. The third main finding showed that the boys were better in arithmetic skills than the girls when they had long working experience.

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