Ghulam Reza Paikar

Abstract

 

Afghanistan has witnessed a tremendous increase in school enrolment since the collapse of the Taliban regime. However, a substantial proportion of children are still not enrolled in school and are being employed as child laborers. In this paper, the factors determining school attendance and child labor are studied in the case of 586 children aged 6 to 14 in Balkh Province, using the logit model. The analysis suggests that the degree of parental education and the distance travelled to school strongly influence school enrolment and child labor, while the mothers’ employment status has a negative impact on school enrolment. The size of the family and the number of family members over the age of 14 are seen to affect the probability of a child being enrolled in school or working. The number of siblings is also found to influence school enrolment and in some households there seems to be evidence of a policy of ‘specialization,’ whereby some children are chosen to work and others are chosen to attend school. Interestingly, it is observed that rural-urban residency determines child labor by gender. In urban areas, there is a greater expectation that boys will join the labor market, whereas girls are not expected to do so. The probability of a child working decreases as the family’s income rises. Rural residency increases the probability of a child working and decreases the probability of a child attending school.

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