Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Trends in School Access and Experience in Eastern and Southern Africa

Smiley, Anne; Omoeva, Carina; Sylla, Benjamin; Chaluda, AniaFHI360EDC2013

This paper examines access to schooling and educational experiences of orphan youth, moving from a macro lens—analyses of household survey data from Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia—to a micro lens—an in-depth secondary school survey and ethnographic study from Lesotho. We find that orphanhood itself is not predictive of lower levels of school attendance, and that there are generally more orphans enrolled in school now than there were in the past. In addition, female orphans have higher primary attendance rates than their male counterparts. A closer look at barriers to school attendance in Lesotho shows that orphans do face certain economic disadvantages, though ethnographic findings identify the lack of adult care, leading to perceived behavioral problems at school and in the community, as a key local measure of child vulnerability.

Fragile and Conflict-Affected StatesInclusive EducationOut-of-School ChildrenDebate in global educationEvaluation & Systematic ReviewMonitoring reportLiterature reviewStudent support

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