Getting a job

Subject: Social studies
Summary: Students use a case of a young Muslim girl and her unemployment problems to discuss the country’s unemployment policy. Students need to find information and put it into context looking the issue at hand through a perspective of religious diversity.
Activity length: Duration is 45 minutes.
  • Students increase awareness of workers’ rights, the unemployment welfare system and minority rights’ issues in their country.
  • Students practice information acquirement skills.
  • Students practice argumentation and rebuttal.

Students need internet access.


Part 1: Teacher divides students into 4 groups. Each group is handed a side (yes/no). The teacher tells the students the scenario at hand (see additional notes). Students are given written tasks. These tasks serve as a basis for the students to better understand their countries unemployment welfare system.

Questions for students:

1) What is the maximum amount of unemployment welfare benefits (money) that a person can receive?

2) What is the maximum amount of time that unemployment welfare benefits are available?

3) What criteria must a person fulfill to be eligible for unemployment benefits?

4) Under what conditions can the state cancel unemployment welfare benefits?

5) Why should/shouldn’t (depending on which side the student is) the person in the scenario be awarded unemployment benefits? Think of as many reasons as you can and explain

Part 2: After the students have answered the questions, the teacher can arrange a public debate, where people in the yes group and no group take turns in presenting their arguments. First one student of the yes side presents one of their arguments, then one person of the no side argues against that argument and presents their own argument and so on with as many people as possible (this is dependent on the amount of time that the teacher still has left).


Teacher can test whether students found and learned the key concepts of the local unemployment policy.

Additional notes:

Fatima Aziz is a young devout Muslim, who was born and raised in your country by a family of Muslims, who moved to your country 40 years ago. The family is deeply religious. It is a poor family with 6 children. The family or its’ members have never caused trouble in their local community. Fatima has finished the 9th grade and has no special skills and hasn’t learned any specific vocation. Fatima has registered in the unemployment bureau to find a job. The bureau has offered her a few simple jobs, for example a job as a waitress, a job as a flight attendant and a job as a shop clerk. These are the kinds of jobs that she is capable of doing.

Fatima has turned down all of these jobs because they require wearing company clothes and more importantly none of these jobs allow her to wear her religious symbols publicly during work time. Fatima believes that in order to be a good Muslim, she has to wear her religious symbols always. She believes that wearing her religious symbols is her religious right. Fatima has turned down all of these jobs because they infringe on her religious freedoms.

Fatima has written to the unemployment bureau to apply for unemployment benefits that are given to people who can’t find a job. Usually people who get unemployment benefits are people who have learned a skill that isn’t required, for example bus drivers when there is no need for bus drivers. There are jobs that are available for Fatima and her skillset but she is not willing to take up those jobs because she believes they infringe on her religious right to display her religious symbols. Should the unemployment bureau give Fatima unemployment benefits or not?