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New journal article from Young Lives: Education and child migration

This article examines the association between formal education, social mobility and children migrating for school in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam and draws on data from Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty and schooling.

"It argues that the recent expansion of school systems has intensified child mobility among poor populations. Formal education has become the defining feature of modern childhood, commonly perceived of as a route out of poverty and to broader societal transformation. In providing a focus for collective social aspirations, schooling increasingly competes with, and is gradually superseding, work as children’s prime responsibility within the family. At the same time, with uneven education access, quality and relevance, schooling has become progressively more commoditised, and is the subject of preferences and choice that give impetus to school mobility and, ultimately, independent child migration.

The article sets out some of the challenges faced by families making decisions about their children’s education and future, and then looks at the responsibilities of education planners. It is important to recognise the part played by education planning in encouraging child relocation, inasmuch as it can be attributed to the expansion of primary schooling without at the same time assuring universal coverage, quality and relevance.

School-related migration among poor children is about social perceptions as much as school realities. This suggests that, ultimately, given the powerful societal processes at play in influencing educational aspirations, the growing commoditisation of schooling and the history of child relocation in many places, school-related child migration is largely beyond the scope of educational, or any other, policy."


Jo Boyden (2013) ‘We’re not going to suffer like this in the mud’: educational aspirations, social mobility and independent child migration among populations living in poverty, Compare 43(5): 580–600,


Tags: child mobility, Young Lives Project, journal article, child migration, education
Published Oct. 15, 2013 12:49 PM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2013 12:49 PM