Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Report
Title Child Labour and Out-of-School Children: Evidence from 25 developing countries
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/OOSC-2014-Child-labour-final.pdf
The child labour phenomenon is closely related to that of out-of-school children (OOSC). The
majority of children not in school are engaged in some form of work activity, and, for children
in school, involvement in work makes them more susceptible to premature drop-out.
Understanding the interplay between child labour and out-of-school children is therefore
critical to achieving both Education for All (EFA) and child labour elimination goals. This
study presents a descriptive profile of links between child labour and out-of-school children
from the set of 25 developing countries included in the OOSC study. The focus is primarily
on the 7-14 years age range, and on Dimensions 2-5 of the Five Dimensions of Exclusion.
How are the OOSC and child labour phenomena related? The intersection of the OOSC and
child labour groups can be expressed in two different ways: first, the extent to which the
OOSC population is composed of child labourers and second, the extent to which child
labourers are out of school. These two indicators offer different ways of viewing the interplay
between the OOSC and child labour groups. The first indicator, out of school child labourers
expressed as a percentage of the total out of school children population, offers some insight
into the importance of child labour as a factor in children being out of school. The second
indicator, out of school child labours expressed as a percentage of the child labour
population, offers insight into the social cost of child labour in terms of denied schooling.
But it should be emphasised that these descriptive indicators cannot be interpreted as
evidence of a causal link between child labour and OOSC (in either direction). Establishing
causality is complicated by the fact that child labour and school attendance are usually the
result of a joint decision on the part of the household, and by the fact that this decision may
be influenced by possibly unobserved factors such as innate talent, family behaviour and or
family preferences. While they fall short of establishing a robust causal link between child
labour and out of school children, the indicators nonetheless serve to illustrate the degree of
incompatibility between child labour, on the one hand, and school participation, on the other.
Out-of-school children are at a greater risk of child labour and child labourers are at
greater risk of being out of school. Statistics from the 25 countries indicate clearly that outof-school
children are at greater risk of child labour compared to children attending school,
suggestive of the important role of child labour as a “pull” factor in decisions to leave school
prematurely or to not enroll in school in the first place. Seen from the opposite perspective,
child labourers are more likely to be out of school, either due to drop-out or to non-entrance,
evidence of the educational cost of child labour and its importance as a barrier to Education
for All. Child labour clearly makes it more difficult to attend school, although it should
stressed that school attendance status is an incomplete indicator of the full educational costs
of child labour, as work also effects the time and energy that working students have for their
studies, and their ability, therefore, to benefit from their classroom time.

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