Last week, Milan Thomas and Nick Burnett of R4D published a report that estimates the economic cost of out-of-school children (OOSC) by looking at wage data and the relationship between education attainment and national income in 20 developing countries. The results are clear: it costs more to not educate a child than it does to educate a child. Thomas summarizes in a post on the Education for All Blog:
Our estimates of the cost of out-of-school children confirm the value of primary education, and are striking in their magnitude. For the 20 countries we analyzed, the average cost of out-of-school children is 2.74% of GDP. By the first estimation method, the economic cost of out-of-school children is greater than a year of average economic growth for Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mali, Senegal and Yemen. For all countries with available data on public expenditure for primary education, the increase in spending required to achieve universal primary education is dwarfed by the economic cost of out-of-school children.
Around the world there are innovative programs working to get these children into school. Here are 6 featured on the CEI database:
1. Children in Crisis' Community Based Education Centres (CBECs)
CBECs provide an intensive, accelerated primary school education for 300 out-of-school children (OOSC) in some of the poorest districts of Kabul, Afghanistan.
2. Turning Point Children's Centers
Turning Point helps children and families gain access to education, health care, food and microfinance in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya through its Children's Centers.
3. Access to Education through Emerging Non-formal Education Centers
The Progressive Institute of Socio-economics (PRISE) is setting up non-formal education centers in the Nankana Sahib community in Pakistan in collaboration with local small-industry representatives to provide education to children who are often working as bonded laborers at brick kilns in the area.
4. Slum-2-School Initiative
Slum-2-School is a non-profit initiative aimed at improving access to quality education for children in hard-to-reach slums in Nigeria through the provision of educational scholarships and other psycho-social support programs.
5. Pehchan Project
The project runs "Pehchanshalas," bridge courses for socially and economically deprived out-of-school adolescent girls of 9-14 years of age. These courses offer quality elementary education and facilitate the process of re-integrating out-of-school girls into mainstream schools in India.
6. BMWEC Learning Centers
The Burmese Migrant Workers' Education Committee (BMWEC) is a community-based organization providing education for thousands of migrant youth and internally displaced persons (IDPs) living along the Thai-Burmese border. BMWEC supports and directs a network of 25 learning centers.