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Expanding formal education is a universal and uncontested aim of development policy.
The last several decades have ushered in dramatic shifts in access to schooling, particularly at the primary and secondary level. Gross enrollment ratios in primary school in low‐income countries, for example, grew from 46 percent in 1970 to over 100 percent in 2015 (World Bank 2017). Alongside its intrinsic value, the social benefits of widening access to formal education are well known: education tends to expand economic opportunity, promote health, and contribute to greater gender equality (Benavot 2006). However, the impact of rising access to formal education on migration has received comparatively little attention. Migration, unlike income, health, or gender equality, is often not perceived as a universal good. On the contrary, increased political interest in migration focuses on reducing the internal and international mobility of the world's poor. Governments and non‐governmental institutions alike, across a wide variety of contexts, perceive growing rural‐urban migration as a challenge to rural futures and urban sustainability, the international emigration of skilled workers as a loss for national development (the so‐called “brain drain”), and the emigration of unskilled workers as a threat to security and national identity in destination countries. This paper considers the mobility consequences of expanding formal education in Ethiopia. In particular, it examines the impact of primary and secondary education on the migration aspirations of young people.

Schewel, K., & Fransen, S. (2018). Formal Education and Migration Aspirations in Ethiopia. Population and Development Review, 44(3), 555.

Formal Education and Migration Aspirations in Ethiopia

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