The Price of Exclusion: Social and Economic Costs of Out of School Children in Colombia

This Results for Development publication, developed in partnership with Educate A Child, addresses the socio-political, health and economic costs of out of school children (OOSC) in Colombia.

The research has two strands of key findings—it confirms that an ongoing commitment to quality universal primary education (UPE) can result in strong improvements in development outcomes, both social and economic, and that there is a pressing need to address the dearth of useful data on OOSC.

This Colombian case study estimates an annual loss of 0.43% of GDP as a result of the expected forgone labor earnings of current OOSC.  On a very positive note, however, it illustrates that UPE could lift as many as 1.4 million Colombians out of poverty.  Further, it demonstrates that UPE would have significant impact and improve the lives of Colombians in regard to political participation and engagement, democratization, voting and the exercise of civil liberties; lower crime rates; resilience to and understanding of climate change; conflict mitigation and peace building; and improved livelihood opportunities, as well as health gains that have inter-generational effects.

The selection of a single country for this research reflects the need for more data on OOSC—lack of data was the reason for limiting the study to one country.

The evidence is clear.  The unfinished agenda of quality universal primary education is essential for a better and sustainable future.

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