Compare & Contrast Hard Times by Charles Dickens

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1850s: The groundwork is laid for universal compulsory education. In 1858, the British government appoints a commission to inquire into the state of education. The commission recommends an increase of state grants to schools, as long as the schools pass an inspection test regarding teaching standards.

Today: All children in Britain up to the age of sixteen must, by law, receive full-time schooling. Over 90 percent of pupils receive state-funded education; the rest choose independent schooling. National targets are set for raising literacy and numeracy standards.

1850s: Workers in textile mills are so poorly paid that they are forced to send their children to work in the factories as well. Government legislation reduces working hours to ten a day; weekly work hours amount to sixty.

Today: The British government introduces a statutory minimum wage in April 1999 to reduce exploitation of low-paid workers and to ensure greater fairness in the...

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