High opportunity costs

The opportunity costs of primary education consist not only of the loss of returns from the income of child labour, but also loss of the child’s informal contribution to the household such as taking care of younger siblings, performing household chores, and caring for livestock. The immediate need for the income from child labour and for children’s non-economic contributions can be a significant barrier preventing children from attending school. Opportunity costs are particularly relevant in poor, rural, agrarian households, where child labour is in high demand and the returns from schooling may be lower than the returns from the labour market. Girls can be more affected than boys in certain contexts, due the gendered distribution of household chores, marriage customs, and the lack of employment opportunities for girls after schooling, while in some areas, boys may be the ones in the family who are responsible for livestock or other farming activities. Strategies include policies that aim to minimize these opportunity costs, and those that aim to accommodate the need for children’s contributions to the household.

Promising policy options

School feeding programmes

School feeding programmes can off-set the opportunity costs of families, and are particularly effective for increasing the school attendance and participation of vulnerable children. A number of considerations have to be taken:

  • choose appropriate modality for context (e.g. on-site meals, snacks, take-home rations, or a combination);
  • appropriate targeting of recipients;
  • measures to ensure reasonable cost and sustainability of the programmes;
  • food should meet nutritional and cultural needs of the children;
  • measures to avoid stigmatization and singling out of recipients; and
  • food sourced locally.
References
Drake, L., & Curtis, S. 2016. Global school feeding sourcebook: Lessons from 14 countries. London: Imperial College Press. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/24418/9781783269129.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

WFP (World Food Program). 2009. Learning from experience: Good practices from 45 years of school feeding. Rome: WFP. Retrieved from: https://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/communications/wfp223424.pdf?_ga=2.195157036.1459275832.1526468639-1597306826.1526468639

High education quality and relevant skills

The higher the quality of education and its relevance to the practical skills needed in the labour market, the lower the opportunity cost of children attending school rather than working directly in the labour force. Quality primary education should be effectively developing basic literacy and numeracy skills, but can also incorporate other competitive skills sets into the curriculum, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, entrepreneurial skills and information technology (the most pertinent skills may vary depending on the country context and labour market).

Movilise efforts to improve overall educational quality. This means investing in well-trained and motivated teachers, pedagogical and learning resources, curriculum, school facilities, and accountability mechanisms. It also requires a curriculum that also includes vital skills needed in the labour market, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, information technology, and entrepreneurial skills.

References

Fasih, T. 2008. Linking education policy to labor market outcomes. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/828021468338480190/pdf/439770PUB0Box310only109780821375099.pdf

Hanushek, E.; WoBmann, L. 2007. Education quality and economic growth. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099079934475/Edu_Quality_Economic_Growth.pdf

UNESCO. 2005b. Global Monitoring Report 2005 Summary: Education for all: The quality imperative: Special Education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001373/137333e.pdf

UNESCO. 2014b. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14 Summary: Teaching and learning : Achieving quality for all. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002266/226662e.pdf

Early Childhood Education

The provision of early childhood education and services can prevent the need for older siblings to stay home to take care of younger children.

*For more on this subject, consult Policy page School readiness.

Raising awareness of the value of education

Parents and family members, especially those that are not educated themselves, may not realize the value of primary education. Providing community members with information on the returns to education can allow them to understand that it is a worthwhile investment for their children and families. Parents and families can also be consulted when developing curriculum and lesson plans, to ensure that their expectations are being met.

*For more on this subject, consult Policy pages Socio-cultural barriers to schooling and Relationship between schools and their community.

References
Nordstrum, L. E. 2012. Private educational expenditure, cost-reduction strategies and the financial barriers that remain after fee abolition: Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2012: Youth and skills: putting education to work. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002178/217869E.pdf

The World Bank. 2009d. Six steps to abolishing primary school fees: Operational guide. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Six_Steps_to_Abolishing_Primary_School_Fees.pdf

Other policy options

Conditional cash transfers

Conditional cash transfers (CCTS) are targeted cash grants that can be provided to the poorest households, conditional upon the school attendance of primary aged children. This can help alleviate resource constraints that prevent families from sending children to school while increasing the immediate returns of education. Careful consideration needs to be given to the targeting method, conditions, size of transfer, and entry and exit rules.

While generally proven effective for increasing primary attendance, an argument against CCTs is that they can require a significant amount of discretionary education spending that could be used for other programmes devoted to educational quality. Their long-term use should, therefore, be weighed against more lasting educational reforms.

It is fundamental that governments carefully select the targeting method for CCTs. It can target all poor households with primary aged children, or for example, specifically those that are not sending their children to school, by using means-testing, geographical location, community leader assessments, self-selection. It is also important to select appropriate conditions (such as rate of attendance) and size of the transfer and consider entry and exit rules.

References
Fiszbein, A. and Schady, N. R. 2009. Conditional cash transfers: reducing present and future poverty: The World Bank Policy Report. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCCT/Resources/5757608-1234228266004/PRR-CCT_web_noembargo.pdf

Reimers, B. F.; Trevino, E. 2006. Where is the “education” in conditional cash transfers in education? Montreal: UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001476/147635e.pdf

UNESCO. 2015a. Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and challenges. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232205e.pdf

Flexible Delivery Modes

Flexible school delivery modes allow schools to be more accommodating to children’s work schedules – yearly school calendars and daily school schedules can be adjusted to fit with local needs. There should be an adequate balance between work and school, to prevent children’s work from interfering with learning needs. It often calls for strong community participation and may require extra resources for added shifts. A number of strategies exist to adjust delivery modes to better fit with the local context:

  • setting yearly school calendar to reflect local agricultural and livestock seasons, with school vacations during harvest times, or other heavy work periods;
  • adjustment of daily school hours to better-fit work schedules- can be set by local parents;
  • adding additional school shifts during off-work hours; and
  • independent study models to make up lost work.
References
Lyon, S.; Rosati, F. C. 2006. Non-Formal education approaches for child labourers: An issue paper. UCW (Understanding Children’s Work). http://www.ucw-project.org/attachment/standard_NFE_ and_CL_17nov2006.pdf

Flexible learning strategies/alternative learning programmes

Flexible learning strategies (FLS) occur outside of the context of traditional schooling, focusing on the needs of children excluded from the formal education systems. There is no one globally accepted term to refer to these programmes that meet learning needs outside of the formal system, so the term “flexible learning strategies” encompasses a variety of programmes such as alternative learning programmes, equivalency programmes, accelerated learning programmes, certified non-formal education programmes etc. FLS are often targeted for children who either have never enrolled or have dropped out of school and may need to catch-up to age-appropriate education, learning basic literacy numeracy skills and life skills. This can include specific marginalized groups such as refugees, minorities, girls, migrants, and children living in extreme poverty. FLS can be flexible in regards to hours of teaching, setting, curriculum, and teaching strategy, responding to the specific needs and characteristics of excluded children and “bringing the schooling to the students rather than getting students to the school” (UNESCO Bangkok. n.d.).

Issues with FLS approaches include poorly qualified teachers, lack of resources, poor quality of programmes, and the risk of developing a parallel inferior education system for marginalized and disadvantaged children.

Some approaches for successful Flexible Learning Strategies are:

  • national/ regional guidelines and standards for FLS;
  • national system of accreditation for FLS, and credit transfers;
  • institutional connections and coordinating mechanisms between formal schooling and FLS;
  • monitoring and evaluation of FLS programmes (student enrolment, achievement, completion, transition);
  • programmes adapt to the needs and circumstances of the populations they are serving, with flexible delivery modes;
  • partnerships between government, NGOs and communities;
  • emphasis on quality;
  • increased political commitment, and government resource allocation;
  • approached as a transitionary step to formal schooling.
References
Farrell, J.; Hartwell, A. 2008. Planning for successful alternative schooling: a possible route to Education for All. Paris : IIEP-UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001598/159851e.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok. nd. Flexible learning strategies for out-of-school children and youth. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002230/223023E.pdf

UNESCO. 2013b. Flexible learning strategies country case report: Regional meeting on alternative learning/schooling programmes for primary education to reach the unreached. Outcome Document. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002233/223325E.pdf

Yasunaga, M. 2014. Non-formal education as a means to meet learning needs of out-of-school children and adolescents. Paris: UNESCO. http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/OOSC-2014-Non-formal-education-for-OOSC-final.pdf

Double-shift Schooling

Double-shift or multiple-shift schooling allows schools to hold multiple sessions during the day for different sets of students, freeing students to work for part of the day to support themselves and their families. It also allows schools to save on building and resources and reduce class sizes. However, this shortened school day often means an overall lower quality of education (for more on this subject, consult Policy page Double-shift schooling).

References
Bray, M. 2010. Double-shift schooling: Design and operation for cost-effectiveness. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0016/001636/163606e.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Perform a gender analysis

A gender analysis is important to ‘identify the extent to which gender roles hinder equal opportunities and outcomes from development initiatives and who is most affected in particular contexts’ (GPE and UNGEI, 2017: 4). Through a gender analysis, Ministries of Education will get a comprehensive idea of the opportunity costs that represent sending boys and girls to schools for low-income households in their own country.

In many countries, ‘structural inequalities result in strong links between gender and children’s work: males tend to enter the workforce earlier and to hold a paying job more frequently than females’ (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018: 6). For example, in Brazil and Jamaica boys find jobs in manual labor and construction where no secondary education is needed (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018), whereas girls perform domestic work, such as fetching water, preparing the firewood, preparing and cooking food, cleaning the house, looking out for their siblings. In Malawi, girls spend more than 28 hours per week doing household chores and they are twice as likely to drop out of school because of this than boys (Robertson, Cassity and Kunkwenzu, 2017).

As previously revealed, the opportunity costs of sending children to school are highly shaped by underlying gender norms. Thus, performing a gender analysis is of utmost importance to ensure that the policy options selected to target the pertinent population and their specific needs.

References
Robertson, S.; Cassity, E.; Kunkwenzu, E. 2017. Girls’ Primary and Secondary Education in Malawi: Sector Review. Final Report. Camberwell: ACER (The Australian Council for Educational Research) and UNICEF  (United Nations Children’s Fund). Retrieved from:  https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=monitoring_learning

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2018. Achieving gender equality in education: don’t forget the boys, Policy Paper 35. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000262714

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

Provide economic incentives

The following policy strategies can help alleviate resource constraints that prevent families from sending children to school:

  • implement conditional and unconditional cash transfers, stipends, bursaries, subsidies, scholarships and/or school fee waivers programmes;
  • provide school supplies, free uniforms, and other resources; and
  • subsidize or provide free transportation.

*For more details consult Policy page High direct costs.

References
Girl’s Education Challenge. 2018. Thematic Review: Economic Empowerment Interventions. London: Girl’s Education Challenge, UK Aid. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/730858/TR-Economic-Empowerment-Interventions.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2010a. ‘Chapter 2.2: Gender’. In: Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction (pp.31-59). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001902/190223E.pdf

Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/whatworksingirlseducation 1.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok; APPEAL (Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All). 2004. Advocacy brief on the impact of incentives to increase girls access to and retention in basic education. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000137807?posInSet=1&queryId=b4d5234a-9255-490d-adda-192346ea36c2

UNICEF. n.d. Barriers to Girls’ Education, Strategies and Interventions. Accessed 26 August 2019: https://www.unicef.org/teachers/girls_ed/BarrierstoGE.pdf

School feeding programmes

This policy option has been proven to increase enrolment and attendance rates, particularly for girls (INEE, 2010; Girl’s Education Challenge, 2018; GPE and UNGEI, 2017). For instance, the Food for Education FFE programme implemented in Bangladesh increased enrolment and attendance in general, although the impact on girls was greater than on boys: 44 percent enrolment rates increase compared to 28 (UNESCO Bangkok and APPEAL, 2004).

*For specific recommendations consult the general section of the present Policy page.

References
Girl’s Education Challenge. 2018. Thematic Review: Economic Empowerment Interventions. London: Girl’s Education Challenge, UK Aid. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/730858/TR-Economic-Empowerment-Interventions.pdf

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

INEE (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies). 2010. Gender Equality in and through Education: INEE Pocket Guide to Gender. Geneva: INEE. Retrieved from: https://toolkit.ineesite.org/resources/ineecms/uploads/1009/INEE_Pocket_Guide_to_Gender_EN.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok; APPEAL (Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All). 2004. Advocacy brief on the impact of incentives to increase girls access to and retention in basic education. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000137807?posInSet=1&queryId=b4d5234a-9255-490d-adda-192346ea36c2

Raising awareness on the value of education

Community, parents and guardian’s mobilisation, engagement, and public advocacy campaigns are recommended to enhance positive attitudes on the importance of education. They can also be mobilized to address socio-cultural barriers that devalue girls’ education, such as the belief that boy’s education is a better investment than girl’s education (INEE, 2019; UNESCO Bangkok and APPEAL, 2004).

Some recommendations are (INEE, 2019: 51):

  • community-led advocacy campaigns;
  • outreach and sensitization through Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and School Management Committees (CMS);
  • direct engagement with traditional and community leaders; and
  • direct involvement of mothers and women in the community.

*For specific recommendations consult the general section of the present Policy page as well as the Policy page Socio-cultural barriers to schooling.

Other policy options

Provide income-generating activities for families

Ministries of Education and other stakeholders –such as non-governmental organizations– may provide economic support to families through income-generating activities, in order to help alleviate resource constraints that prevent families from sending children to school. Some examples are micro-enterprise programmes for parents, savings and loan schemes based on the condition that the income generated is invested in children’s education (UK Aid, 2016; Girl’s Education Challenge, 2018).

Although pertinent in some contexts, the following aspects should be kept in mind when implementing this kind of strategy: 

  • they entail substantial investment;
  • they require a lot of time to become sustainable and produce an impact; and
  • tracking that the generated income is effectively invested in children’s (girl’s) education poses significant challenges.
References
UK Aid. 2016. Girls’ Education Challenge: GEC thematic discussion papers. London: UK Aid. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/GEC_Thematic_discussion_papers.pdf

Girl’s Education Challenge. 2018. Thematic Review: Economic Empowerment Interventions. London: Girl’s Education Challenge, UK Aid. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/730858/TR-Economic-Empowerment-Interventions.pdf

Flexible delivery modes and double-shift schooling

Implementing flexible delivery modes are recommendable in regular and community-schools as they help ‘boost enrolment by accommodating children’s work, making it easier for children to care for younger siblings, do chores, or even work for wages while enrolled in school’ (Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016: 146). Although this policy option does raise up many issues, in many cases and for many children, this might be the most realistic option to enjoy an educational opportunity. For instance, Bangladesh’s BRAC schools, which operate only 2.5 hours daily, have allowed drop-out figures to stay below 1 percent of enrolled students (Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016).

In other contexts, where cultural particularities do not allow girls and boys to attend the same school and there is a shortage of school facilities, double-shift schooling could be a solution. For example, Pakistan implemented double-shift schooling in rural areas in order to tackle down the shortage of schools for girls (UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia, 2014).

*For precise information on this strategy consult the general section of the present Policy page.

References
INEE (Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies). 2019. INEE Guidance Note Gender: Gender equality in and through education. New York: INEE. Retrieved from: https://inee.org/system/files/resources/INEE_Guidance%20Note%20on%20Gender_2019_ENG.pdf

Lyon, S.; Rosati, F. C. 2006. Non-Formal education approaches for child labourers: An issue paper. UCW (Understanding Children’s Work). http://www.ucw-project.org/attachment/standard_NFE_ and_CL_17nov2006.pdf

Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/whatworksingirlseducation 1.pdf

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. 2014. All Children in School By 2015, Global Initiative On Out-Of-School Children: South Asia Regional Study Covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Kathmandu: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. Retrieved from: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/GlobalInitiativeOnOut-Of-SchoolChildren.pdf

Policies for children with disabilities

Note: much more research is needed on this subject in order to have more precise evidence on which policies effectively tackle down opportunity costs for families of children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Ensuring a free, inclusive, quality education

Access to free, inclusive, quality public education for children with disabilities can lead to substantial economic and social returns, not only for the children with disabilities themselves and their families but for the society overall as well. Concerning peoples with disabilities and their families, research across 12 developing countries revealed that ‘each additional year of schooling for people with disability decreased their probability of being in the poorest two quintiles by between 2 and 5 percentage points’ (Filmer, 2008, cited by The World Bank, 2018: 63). Concerning the society overall, ‘apart from a wide range of other benefits from educational attainment, the labor market returns to education for individuals with disabilities are large and similar order to the returns observed for other individuals’ (Wodon and Alasuutari, 2018).

To help families of children with disabilities release the economic burden that education represents, not only national policy and laws are essential (consult Policy page Constraints to attendance), but also the financing mechanisms in place. Allocating a sufficient amount of funds and support to the educational services for children with disabilities is of utmost importance (UNICEF, 2014; UNICEF, 2013a).

*For specific recommendations concerning financing mechanisms consult the section Children with Disabilities in the Policy page High direct costs.

References
EDT (Education Development Trust); UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. Eastern and Southern Africa regional study on the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities. Reading: EDT. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/esaro/Regional-children-with-disabilities-UNICEF-EDT-2016.pdf

The World Bank. 2018. Learning to realize education’s promise: A World Bank Group Flagship Report. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2018

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2013a. Call For Action. Education equity now: Including all children in quality learning. Retrieved from: http://education-equity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/EducationEquityNow_Call_for_action_WEB_FINAL_ENG.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Financing of Inclusive Education: Webinar 8 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: http://www.inclusive-education.org/sites/default/files/uploads/booklets/IE_Webinar_Booklet_8.pdf

Wodon, Q.; Alasuutari, H. 2018. The price of exclusion: Disability and education in Africa. Accessed 28 August 2019: https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/price-exclusion-disability-and-education-africa

Provide economic incentives

One of the strategies to provide economic incentives for students with disabilities to remain in the school system is to implement conditional and unconditional cash transfers, stipends, bursaries, subsidies, scholarships and/or school fee waivers programmes. Providing multiple resources, such as subsidizing or providing the required assistive devices for free is also a way of keeping children with disabilities in classrooms. Subsidize or provide accessible school material to all children with disabilities for free, subsidize or provide free uniforms and shoes and adjust them when needed, subsidize or provide free transportation to children with disabilities, provide school meals, and provide medical diagnosis and medical tests within the school.

*For more details consult Policy page High direct costs.

References
Girl’s Education Challenge. 2018. Thematic Review: Economic Empowerment Interventions. London: Girl’s Education Challenge, UK Aid. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/730858/TR-Economic-Empowerment-Interventions.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2019. Technical Round Table: Inclusion of children with disabilities in education sector planning in French-speaking Africa. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. [Unpublished document]. 

Plan International. 2018. Planning for Inclusions: How Education Budgets and Plans target the Most Marginalized. Surrey: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/planning-inclusion

UK Aid. 2016. Girls’ Education Challenge: GEC thematic discussion papers. London: UK Aid. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/GEC_Thematic_discussion_papers.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. The right to education for persons with disabilities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371249

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2013b. The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities – Executive Summary. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SWCR2013_ENG_Lo_res_24_Apr_2013.pdf

Raising awareness on the value of education for children with disabilities

Negative attitudes toward disability –coming from parents, community members, schools, teachers and decision-makers– pose an enormous constraint when it comes to providing mainstream education to children with disabilities (Save the Children, 2002).

To counter this, promote community mobilization and public advocacy campaigns. Help stakeholders comprehend the importance and the returns of providing quality and inclusive mainstream education to children with disabilities, as well as the significant opportunity costs which represent not educating children with disabilities (WHO, 2011). Engage and get support from Disability People’s Organizations (DPOs) as well as traditional and community leaders (IIEP-UNESCO, 2019).

An important tool to mobilize portrayals of children with disabilities, disseminate positive messages and thus tackle down stereotypes (UNICEF, 2013b). An example of a successful campaign done in Nepal with the support of Save the Children UK, where stories of children with disabilities who accessed schools all over the country were publicized and helped raise awareness on their right to education (Save the Children, 2002).

References
EDT (Education Development Trust); UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. Eastern and Southern Africa regional study on the fulfilment of the right to education of children with disabilities. Reading: EDT. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/esaro/Regional-children-with-disabilities-UNICEF-EDT-2016.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2019. Technical Round Table: Inclusion of children with disabilities in education sector planning in French-speaking Africa. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. [Unpublished document]. 

Save the Children. 2002. Schools for All: Including disabled children in education. London: Save the Children. Retrieved from: http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/schools_for_all.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. The right to education for persons with disabilities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371249

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2013b. The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities – Executive Summary. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SWCR2013_ENG_Lo_res_24_Apr_2013.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 203-232). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf

Other policy options

Provide income-generating activities for the families of children with disabilities

Families of children with disabilities face higher direct and opportunity costs of living. In addition to all of the direct expenses they may have due to the particular disability, ‘families also face opportunity costs, as parents and family members must often give up or limit their employment in order to care for children with disabilities’ (UNICEF, 2013b: 4).

Although providing schooling for children with disabilities allows family members to work outside the home and produce income, helping them by providing income-generating activities could also be a pertinent policy option (Girl’s Education Challenge, 2018). For instance, through the programme Cheshire Services Uganda, ‘Parents were supported with business training and start-up capital to set up small income-generating schemes, ranging from livestock rearing to retail’ (Girl’s Education Challenge, 2018: 15).

Although appropriate in some contexts, the following aspects should be kept in mind when implementing this kind of strategy: 

  • they entail substantial investment;
  • they require a lot of time to become sustainable and produce an impact; and
  • tracking that the generated income is effectively invested in children’s education poses significant challenges.

*For more details consult Policy page High direct costs.

References
Girl’s Education Challenge. 2018. Thematic Review: Economic Empowerment Interventions. London: Girl’s Education Challenge, UK Aid. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/730858/TR-Economic-Empowerment-Interventions.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2013b. The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities – Executive Summary. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SWCR2013_ENG_Lo_res_24_Apr_2013.pdf
 

Double-shift Schooling

There is a significant lack of research regarding the effects of a double-shift schooling system on children with disabilities’ access to schooling and their learning achievements in mainstream settings. Yet, in certain contexts and under certain factors educational planners could study the possibility of implementing such a policy (UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, 2014). It is of utmost importance to guarantee large-scale implementation, so that this system is not applied solely to the most disadvantaged groups, such as children with disabilities (Linden, 2001).

References
Linden, T. 2001. Double-shift Secondary Schools: Possibilities and Issues. Washington, D.C: The World Bank. Retrieved from : http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099079967208/Double_shift_secondary_schools_En01.pdf

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. 2014. All Children in School By 2015, Global Initiative On Out-Of-School Children: South Asia Regional Study Covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Kathmandu: UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. Retrieved from: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/GlobalInitiativeOnOut-Of-SchoolChildren.pdf

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

Other policy options

Education level assessment and adequate training should be provided to refugees on arrival to host communities

On arrival–or even beforehand– refugees’ education level and skills should be assessed to identify and provide for their training needs and better match them to employment opportunities. Literacy training should be provided to those that need it, with language training tailored to refugees’ workplace needs.

Job training and skills development can enable refugees to find higher-skilled and better-paid work longer term, which means recognition and conversion of foreign qualifications should be streamlined.

Integrating refugees into the host communities by introducing a proper legal framework

The refugees who do have the skills will not be an asset to the national economy if there are no job opportunities available. This means refugees should be resettled in areas where host communities can provide them with adequate jobs, not just in areas where there is cheap housing but no employment opportunities.  Following the resettlement, governments should actively and sternly enforce anti-discrimination laws.

The government should cut through the red tape and enable refugees to start businesses in the host communities. There could also be additional provisions for them to make this process less trying. For example, ensuring refugee children don’t get left behind at school is vital. Businesses and non-profit organisations which employ refugees are also instrumental. For example, through the Tent Alliance, business leaders can commit to making a difference in the lives of refugees and their host communities.

References
Philippe Legrain (2016), “Refugees Work: A humanitarian investment that yields economic dividends”, OPEN and Tent. Retrieved from: http://www.opennetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Tent-Open-Refugees-Work_V13.pdf

OECD, (2013), “The fiscal impact of immigration in OECD countries”, in International Migration Outlook 2013, OECD Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.uio.no/studier/emner/sv/oekonomi/ECON1730/h14/pensumliste/intmigroutlook2013ch3.pdf

Refugees are not a burden but an opportunity. Retrieved from:  https://www.oecd.org/forum/oecdyearbook/refugees-are-not-a-burden-but-an-opportunity.htm

Starting Out – Why education for refugees matters. UNHCR education report 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.unhcr.org/starting-out.html

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) 2018. Dafi annual report 2017.  The other one per cent – refugee students in higher education. https://www.unhcr.org/5bc4affc4.pdf

The Opportunity Cost of Refugee Resettlement. Retrieved from: https://jeffbloem.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/opportunity-cost-of-refugee-resettlement/

UNICEF Sudan. Education programme final- sector profiles (education). Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/files/Unicef_Sudan_EDUCATION_PROGRAMME_FINAL_(032016).pdf

UNHCR. 2016. Missing out : Refugee education in crisis. Retrieved from:  https://www.unhcr.org/57d9d01d0

Policies for minority populations

All the policies recommended in the general category are applicable to this section. Policies such as School feeding programmes; High education quality and relevant skills; Raising awareness on the value of education; Early Childhood Education; Conditional cash transfers and Double-shift Schooling.

Some other relevant policies for minority populations which primarily include ethnic minorities and indigenous population.

Other policy options

Early Childhood Education

The provision of early childhood education and services can prevent the need for older siblings to stay home to take care of younger children.

*For more on this subject, consult Policy page School readiness.

Flexible Delivery Modes for Indigenous populations living in remote areas

Flexible delivery modes allow schools to be more accommodating to children’s work schedules – yearly school calendars and daily school schedules can be adjusted to fit with local needs. There should be an adequate balance between work and school, to prevent children’s work from interfering with learning needs. It often calls for strong community participation, and may require extra resources for added shifts. Strategies include:

  • setting yearly school calendar to reflect local agricultural and livestock seasons, with school vacations during harvest times, or other heavy work periods;
  • adjustment of daily school hours to better-fit work schedules- can be set by local parents;
  • adding additional school shifts during off-work hours; and
  • independent study models to make up lost work.
References
Lyon, S.; Rosati, F. C. 2006. Non-Formal education approaches for child labourers: An issue paper. UCW (Understanding Children’s Work). http://www.ucw-project.org/attachment/standard_NFE_ and_CL_17nov2006.pdf

National governments practicing sustainable borrowing

There is a ‘Debt Sustainability Framework’ which has been developed by the IMF-World Bank, which aims to assess and set a threshold for external debt for developing countries, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa.

Raising more revenue is another way for governments to generate resources for public spending. For example, low-income African countries have made major strides in recent years by increasing taxes and expanding the tax base, but it is widely recognized that there are limits to how much they can increase tax collection. Another way for low-income African countries to expand fiscal space is to obtain more grants.

Flexible learning strategies/alternative learning programmes

Flexible learning strategies (FLS) occur outside of the context of traditional schooling, focusing on the needs of children excluded from the formal education systems. There is no one globally accepted term to refer to these programmes that meet learning needs outside of the formal system, so the term “flexible learning strategies” encompasses a variety of programmes such as alternative learning programmes, equivalency programmes, accelerated learning programmes, certified non-formal education programmes etc. FLS are often targeted for children who either have never enrolled or have dropped out of school and may need to catch-up to age-appropriate education, learning basic literacy numeracy skills and life skills. This can include specific marginalized groups such as refugees, minorities, girls, migrants, and children living in extreme poverty. FLS can be flexible in regards to hours of teaching, setting, curriculum, and teaching strategy, responding to the specific needs and characteristics of excluded children and “bringing the schooling to the students rather than getting students to the school” (UNESCO Bangkok. n.d.).

Issues with FLS approaches include poorly qualified teachers, lack of resources, poor quality of programmes, and the risk of developing a parallel inferior education system for marginalized and disadvantaged children.

Some approaches for successful Flexible Learning Strategies are:

  • national/ regional guidelines and standards for FLS;
  • national system of accreditation for FLS, and credit transfers;
  • institutional connections and coordinating mechanisms between formal schooling and FLS;
  • monitoring and evaluation of FLS programmes (student enrolment, achievement, completion, transition);
  • programmes adapt to the needs and circumstances of the populations they are serving, with flexible delivery modes; and
  • partnerships between government, NGOs and communities.

These strategies should have a strong emphasis on quality, increased political commitment, and government resource allocation, and they need to be approached as a transitionary step to formal schooling.

References
Farrell, J.; Hartwell, A. 2008. Planning for successful alternative schooling: a possible route to Education for All. Paris : IIEP-UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001598/159851e.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok. nd. Flexible learning strategies for out-of-school children and youth. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002230/223023E.pdf

UNESCO. 2013b. Flexible learning strategies country case report: Regional meeting on alternative learning/schooling programmes for primary education to reach the unreached. Outcome Document. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002233/223325E.pdf

Yasunaga, M. 2014. Non-formal education as a means to meet learning needs of out-of-school children and adolescents. Paris: UNESCO. http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/OOSC-2014-Non-formal-education-for-OOSC-final.pdf

Updated on 2021-06-16

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