The Economic Cost of Out-of-School Children in Southeast Asia

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This publication is the result of UNESCO Bangkok’s project in cooperation with Educate A Child (EAC) which seeks to eradicate obstacles, both in policy and practice, that would prevent children in Southeast Asia from accessing primary education. The project targets out-of-school children, including those born into poverty, the disabled, migrant and stateless children, girls, those living in remote areas and ethnic minorities.

Co-published by UNESCO Bangkok and the Results for Development Institute (R4D), the report looks at the benefits of primary education and estimates the economic cost associated with large populations of OOSC in seven Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. To help education policy makers and decision makers gain a clear understanding of the significant economic incentives linked to educating OOSC, the report used two methods to estimate the economic loss resulting from not educating these children. The first estimation approach uses labour market data to estimate the total earnings which will be forfeited in the near future due to undereducated workers if primary school enrollment patterns do not change. The second approach is based on cross-country regressions that estimate the relationship between national education attainment and per capita income.

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