Bangladesh factory collapse: ‘Very little hope’ of finding more survivors - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 26 April 2013

Rescuers trying to free workers trapped in last week’s clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh have said there is now “very little hope” of finding anybody else alive.


Bangladesh factory collapse: ‘Very little hope’ of finding more survivors

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 26 April 2013


By Irena Barker

Rescuers trying to free workers trapped in last week’s clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh have said there is now “very little hope” of finding anybody else alive.

At least 380 people were killed in the disaster in a suburb of the capital Dhaka, although precise numbers may never be known.

One of the most alarming reports suggested that shortly before the building collapsed, large cracks in the concrete prompted police to order an evacuation, but factory workers were ordered to continue working.

As the rescue efforts in the rubble of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building die down, the disaster has prompted worldwide anger over the working conditions for people producing cheap clothes for the West.

Workers in countries such as Bangladesh can earn as little as £25 a month, sometimes working in extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions with few rights.

Discount chain Primark and other brands which used businesses based inside the Dhaka building, have come under criticism for making profits from clothing made in these poor conditions.

Some campaigners claim that it is not just the big companies who are responsible – as long as Westerners are happy to buy a T-shirt for £3, workers will continue to be exploited, they say.

But others argue that the debate over cheap imported clothing is not so clear cut. If cheap clothes are outlawed to protect third world workers, millions of poor people living in rich countries will find it harder to clothe their families.

Also, the cheap clothing industry is essential for the economy of many developing nations. It is worth £13 billion a year in Bangladesh alone and employs four million people, including being a major source of employment for rural women migrating to the cities for a better life.

Questions for discussion or further research:

  • How much attention do you pay to where your clothes come from?
  • In your opinion, who is to blame for the poor conditions of workers in countries such as Bangladesh?
  • What can consumers to do make sure that they are buying ethical products? How could you find out more about this?
  • How could we raise awareness about fair trade and fair working conditions within our school?

Resources for you


Primark: Stakeholders role play

  • Students assume the role of different stakeholders, from factory worker and western consumer to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They must then debate whose objectives are most important.

Teachers TV: Child labour in India

  • Take a look at this Teachers TV video focusing on child labour in Delhi.

Citizenship and Fairtrade

  • Explore the role of citizenship and Fairtrade with this scheme of work and PowerPoint slide.

Human rights

  • Get students to learn about and debate the issue of human rights, what they are and why we have them, with this PowerPoint lesson.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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To mark the 449th birthday of William Shakespeare, a new book, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, aims to eliminate any questions surrounding the authorship of the Bard's plays.

The behaviour of professional footballers has come under the spotlight once again after the actions of Liverpool striker Luis Suárez this weekend.



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