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Balancing Education and Work: An Integrated Youth Livelihood Development Approach to Learners Who Need to Work In Order To Stay In Education A presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "Balancing Education and Work: An Integrated Youth Livelihood Development Approach to Learners Who Need to Work In Order To Stay In Education A presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Balancing Education and Work: An Integrated Youth Livelihood Development Approach to Learners Who Need to Work In Order To Stay In Education A presentation to the 2008 CIES Conference Teacher College (New York) -- March 21, 2008 David James-Wilson – EQUIP3 / EDC

2 The Challenge of Serving Poor Students… Much work has been done in the past decade to address low school enrollment and low cohort survival by focusing on supply-side obstacles (buildings/teachers/curricula) Less work has been done to understand and address demand-side issues as families make decision for year olds (including who is involved, what information they rely on, and how they make short and longer term decisions)

3 Emerging research indicates that household decision making regarding participation in education involves significant “opportunity cost” considerations related to the direct and indirect costs associated with formal and non-formal schooling (including forgone income from work) Poor households may “value” education, but still not perceive that they can “afford” it (or they do not have access to educational offerings they can afford in opportunity cost terms) Opportunity Cost Driven Decision Making…

4 Because of the need for all family members in many communities to contribute to daily household-level livelihood strategies, very few young people and their families frame their decision as being between school or work – Rather they express decision making in terms of looking for the optimal balance between continuing education and ongoing work (between short term gain and longer term opportunities). How Poor Families Frame Decision Making…

5 Poor households understand that youth can acquire “human capital” through various formal and informal education and vocational training opportunities – they also know that this can be gained in work settings Poor households similarly understand the ability to gain “social capital” in education and work settings Poor households are also looking for opportunities for young members to gain key livelihood competencies (especially higher order thinking) Holistic Planning at the Household Level…

6 #2 Developing Key Livelihood Capabilities Positive risk taking, innovation, enterprise initiative, critical thinking and dynamic problem solving #1 Acquiring Core Livelihood Assets Human, Social, Financial, Physical and Environmental #3 Applying New and Existing Assets and Capabilities to a Range of Livelihood Activities Employment /Self-Employment in formal and informal sectors, Work (paid and unpaid) in household economic activities (e.g. agriculture, fishing, light manufacturing and petty trading ) Investing time and money into the acquisition of additional human and social assets (e.g. returning to education or developing peer networks) Where continuing education fits… Figure 1 - A Youth Livelihoods Approach to School to Work Transitions

7 SCHOOL WORK Figure 2 - Traditional view of school to work transitions How educators look at school and work… Transition is seen to be an “event” or a “point it time” Metaphor for intervention is one of building a bridge from school to work – with an emphasis on making a seamless transition, and escaping the vicious cycle of poverty Flow of activity is seen to be generally from a focus on the preparation of knowledge/skills to the application of these to world of work Focus is on “dropout prevention” and successful transition at as late a date as possible (with “guidance” focused on staying in school) Focus is on improving the supply (quality/accessibility) of learning inputs (versus the flexibility)

8 Transition is seen to be an overlapping process that takes place over a long period of time (driven by day to day opportunity cost driven decisions) Metaphor is one of a balancing act or a dynamic exchange between education and economic activities -- with a hope for virtuous cycles of opportunity and growth Flow of activity is seen to be as a parallel process marked by the spiraling acquisition, application and continuous development of knowledge/ skills/ capabilities in and for work (with a view to maximizing livelihood outcomes) Focus is on matching demand for learning outcomes with the development of options that understand the importance of relevance in the (i) location,(ii) timing, and (iii) content of offerings How young people and their families view it… Figure 3 – Revised paradigm of school to work transitions Education (Formal / Non-Formal / Informal / Work-Based) Economic Activities (Formal/Informal, Paid/Unpaid, Individual / Household Level)

9 Government and Community Investments Capital Investments in school buildings  Recurring Costs such as teachers / supplies  Program and staff development Family Investments Direct costs (transportation, uniforms, fees, supplies) Opportunity cost (deferred contribution by young person to household economic activities) Young Person’s Investments Energy and interest Time spent on education in and out of school hours Opportunity cost to acquisition of human, social, financial assets in other settings Drivers of Decision-Making  All three “investors” involved in cost-benefit analysis  All form judgments about access, quality and relevance  All rely on the information readily available to them to make decisions

10 Eight Key Building Blocks to Demand Driven Design… 1. Focus is on what drives decisions of a prospective user of a service (“demand” side of equation) 2. Rely less on beliefs / assumptions of the developer of a service (“supply” side of equation) 3.Assume that those with fewer resources / options make even more careful/nuanced choices. 4. Focus on creating opportunity rather than inducing change

11 Eight Building blocks continued… 5. See end-user as the “expert” and service provider as the “specialist” 6. Have the discipline to focus on “need to know” versus “nice to know” information 7. Employ a series of incremental tools that first explore overall context of decision making (general FGD guides) and then look at drivers of key decisions (specific FGD/PRA + Survey Tools) 8. Expect surprises and rely on “smart humility” of researcher / design team

12 Learning While Earning Programming… Instead of making poor youth and their households choose definitively between continuing education and earning income, such youth are often best served with flexible, modular programming that allows them to build human and social capital and key livelihood competencies while still contributing to immediate household economic survival Such “learning while earning” programs are pro- poor and youth friendly, and are a good way to build on the gains from investments in universal primary education or school enrollment campaigns


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