I would agree that students should be encouraged to work part-time to a certain extent. Of course, primary school pupils should not be allowed to work at all. As for secondary, and even tertiary students, working part-time should be allowed only during holidays. Working during weekends is not realistic as it would impact their studies.
Firstly, the times are bad. Working part-time during holidays would earn students some extra pocket money that will come in handy. Even if they use their pay to buy the latest model of a handphone or some branded shirts, they are at least not burdening their parents. This would definitely ease the financial stress at home. They would definitely learn how difficult it is to make money. As a result, they may appreciate their parents more. They may even be more careful with their money.
Secondly, working part-time would give invaluable experience to students. Working at fast food outlets and as sales representatives or tutors would expose them to the real world. They would have to develop communicative skills and learn to deal with people. This is something money cannot buy. Working long hours for their pay may even make them value the importance of education, especially higher education.
Critics may argue that working part-time may result in young mixing with the unsavory company. On the other hand, we cannot be always protecting our young.
Furthermore, many students have too much free time in their hands, especially during holidays. They just idle their time away. Moreover, students learn to cope with stress and pressure not just from demanding bosses and unfriendly colleagues, but also from their holiday assignments and projects. Students who work part-time will definitely learn a lot about time management and self-discipline.
In short, working part-time can be very fulfilling, but priorities must be clear. Students must be able to balance work and studies. The objective must still study first.