A moral obligation, an economic priority: the urgency of enrolling out of school children

Type Report
Title A moral obligation, an economic priority: the urgency of enrolling out of school children
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.odisea.org.mx/centro_informacion/educacion/estudio/Urgency-of-Enrolling-OOSC.pdf
E xecutive Summary
Educate A Child (EAC)’s mission to support the Education for All initiative
and Millennium Development Goal for education is more pressing and
relevant than ever. Although significant progress toward achieving universal
primary education has been made over the past decade, out-of-school
children (OOSC) remain a pervasive global problem. According to one
estimate, there are 61 million OOSC in the world (UIS 2012).
To underscore the importance of reducing the global number of out-ofschool
children, this paper summarizes the research on the multi-faceted
benefits of primary education and estimates the economic costs of large outof-school
child populations. Part I of the paper reviews the literature on the
benefits of primary education, covering the vast range of positive economic,
social, political, psychosocial, and environmental impacts for individuals
and society that are associated with primary education attainment. The
evidence in Part I highlights the importance of primary education in breaking
the intergenerational transmission of poverty and building dynamic,
prosperous societies.
The second half of the paper uses two economic methods to estimate the
cost of OOSC in six countries where OOSC are still prevalent (Bangladesh,
Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mali, and Yemen). The
six countries were selected to provide geographic variety and on the basis
of data availability. Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, and India are EAC countries
where EAC is operational, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
and Yemen are both EAC priorities. The first estimation approach uses labor
market data to estimate the total earnings that will be forfeited in the near
future due to undereducated workers (today’s population of out-of-school
children). The second approach consists of a macroeconomic model that
estimates the income gap that has resulted from large past populations of
out-of-school children.
Part II reveals that for many countries with high OOSC prevalence, the
economic benefit associated with achieving universal primary education
exceeds multiple years of economic growth. There are significant economic
incentives to educate current OOSC populations (up to 7% of gross domestic
product) and even larger potential gains from providing remedial education
to the OOSC of past generations. Taken together, the findings of this report
should provide impetus for efforts to reach out-of-school children and ensure
that all citizens have access to primary education and the opportunity to
reach their full economic and social potential.

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