Education, urban poverty and migration: Evidence from Bangladesh and Vietnam

Type Report
Title Education, urban poverty and migration: Evidence from Bangladesh and Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Despite the acknowledged importance and large scale of rural-urban migration in many
developing countries, few studies have compared education outcomes of migrants to those for people
born in the city. This paper uses recent data from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi,
Vietnam, to examine educational expenditure and children’s grade attainment, with a focus on poor
households. It finds that rural-urban migrant households have fewer assets, live in worse housing
conditions and in areas less well served by public schools, have fewer social connections in the area where
they live, and contain adults with lower educational levels than for urban native households. Even
conditional on these household characteristics, educational expenditure and grade attainment were both
lower for children from migrant households than urban natives. The findings are consistent with migrant
children’s education being impeded by bureaucratic obstacles such as the household registration system in
Vietnam. The paper concludes by noting that expansion of urban school systems sometimes fails to keep
pace with population movements. While the barriers to education of recent migrants in these two contexts
are in many ways similar to those of other poor urban households, they are among the most severely
disadvantaged but do not always benefit from existing programmes such as school fee waivers. Specific
policies may be needed to address the multiple causes of educational deprivation for this group.

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