The Economic Cost Out of School Children in 20 Countries (update)

This is an update of the second publication from Educate A Child (EAC) that focuses on the costs of not providing universal primary education—to individuals and to nations. Like the original version of this paper, it was developed by and is published jointly with Results for Development (R4D).

The Economic Cost Out of School Children in 20 Countries (update)

This study, using more recent data reinforces in significant ways the findings of the first two EAC publications on the costs of not educating out of school children (OOSC).  It relies on the estimation methodology used previously, which we believe is an important contribution to future knowledge generation in relation to the economic and related costs of not educating children at the primary level.

The key findings from this research are that the costs of not educating OOSC significantly outweigh the necessary investments for providing universal primary education, and that for some countries, these costs exceed the value of an average year of economic growth.  Additionally, using the findings from this study, educating OOSC will also yield impressive savings in a range of other sectors including health, agriculture, and the environment, which can have a positive effect on growth and productivity.

Investing in basic education seems an obvious solution in a global community where economic disparities are increasing and becoming more visible, leading to dissatisfaction, and sometimes social unrest, among segments of society worldwide.

Why, then, are investments in primary education not on the increase across the board, and especially in those countries where the numbers of OOSC are highest?  The evidence exists and it has been shown to be constant over decades.  We can only surmise that it has not reached leaders and decisions-makers in a form that enables them to understand the importance to nations, as well as to individuals, of providing free, quality primary education to all.

We hope that this research can contribute to decisions that result in increased investment in primary education, particularly as we look to complete the unfinished agenda of Millennium Development Goal 2.

Mary Joy Pigozzi, PhD
Director, Educate A Child


“I meant to take the opportunity to thank you for something that I probably haven't voiced enough appreciation for over the years. Your economic cost of OOSC was a great and powerful idea, and I feel privileged that I was a part of it. I've followed EAC's work closely ever since.” (Milan Thomas, Co-Author, Exclusion from Education: the Economic Cost of Out of School Children in 20 Countries, Results 4 Development)

Publication Date: 
October 06, 2015