Children from poor backgrounds may face educational barriers in low-income countries

New research published in the British Educational Research Journal suggests a very strong association between socio-economic background and educational attainment throughout children’s schooling in 4 low- and middle-income countries.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from individuals in Ethiopia, Peru, Vietnam, and India from age 5 to age 22 years to explore the relationship between early schooling opportunities and progression to higher education. Investigators found that students who had high initial learning achievements in primary school, but who were from poor backgrounds, typically fell back in secondary school, or high school.

The results imply that lower socio-economic status continues to be a barrier to educational attainment throughout children’s schooling in some countries.

“Our findings, based on the Young Lives study, suggest that even when comparing children with similar levels of prior attainment at ages 8, 12, and 15 years, differences in higher education participation by socio-economic background still remain,” said lead author Sonia Ilie, MPhil, PhD, of the University of Cambridge, in the U.K. “This suggests enduring barriers for education progression for the poorest and a need for better evidence about what supports equitable progression.”


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