Hadley – Seasonality and Access to Education

Seasonality and Access to Education: A Review of Research Improved education is associated with higher socio-economic status, lower fertility rates, improved health, reduced mortality rates and greater gender equality and mobility. Investment in primary education is especially crucial, as it offers the greatest private social returns to investment of all education spending. It is largely for this reason that Millennium Development Goal 2, to ensure that, by 2015, all children will be able to complete a full course of primary education, focuses not just on education, but primary education. This paper draws together literature on seasonality and education, largely in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, to demonstrate how seasonality is relevant to the design of education policy, and suggests the possible implementation of seasonally-sensitive reforms and interventions. While the scarcity of research constrains analysis, it is argued that this approach has the potential not only to boost enrolment and lower drop-outs, but also to protect livelihoods and potentially reduce insecurity and vulnerability. Five general conclusions are drawn. First, the private costs of education vary relatively with seasonal fluctuations in income and expenditure. School schedules should ensure larger school expenses, like fees or school uniforms, are not due during the hunger season. Second, school schedules can be made more flexible or adapted to seasonal demands for child labour to allow more children to attend school, reduce absenteeism and school drop outs. Third, seasonal distress migration presents a substantial challenge to educational attendance and policy, because migrant labourers are frequently excluded from education services and official statistics. Fourth, seasonal health interventions targeting malnutrition, malaria or worms could improve the cognitive development of children and school attendance. Fifth, more research is needed on the seasonal dimensions of educational access, including child labour, household income and expenditure, the private costs of education and school participation.

File: Hadley_2009_-_Seasonality_and_access_to_education.pdf