Children's schooling in sub-Saharan Africa: The role of fathers, mothers, and others
Lloyd,Cynthia B.; Blanc,Ann K.
Population and Development Review 22(2): 265-298
Publication date: 1996
The article examines the determinants of children's school enrollment and completion of primary grade four--one of UNICEF's key indicators of social progress--in seven countries of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the role of parents and other household members in providing children with educational and residential support. While in most of these countries a substantial majority of 10-14-year-old children are currently enrolled in school, many fewer children by this age have attained a minimum of a fourth grade education, primarily due to late ages of entry into school and slow progress from grade to grade. The resources of a child's residential household--in particular the education of the household head and the household standard of living--are determining factors in explaining variations among children in these aspects of schooling. By contrast, a child's biological parents appear to play a less critical role, as demonstrated by comparing the educational record of orphans with that of children whose parents are still living. Furthermore, children living in female-headed households have better school outcomes than children living in male-headed households, when households with similar resources are compared.