Raihan, S. (2009), Impact of Food Price Rise on School Enrolment and Dropout in the Poor and Vulnerable Households in Selected Areas of Bangladesh, DFID, Bangladesh.

Abstract: This study has explored the impact of the rise in food prices on the education of children in the poor and vulnerable households in Bangladesh. A survey was conducted on these households in five districts in Bangladesh across different professions and locations. Also, a number of Focused Group Discussions were undertaken. Analyses of the survey data suggests that during early 2008 the prices of rice, pulses and edible oil increased tremendously which threatened the status of food security of these poor and vulnerable households in Bangladesh. As a result of the price hike, significant per cent of households were forced to cut their consumption of rice, pulses and edible oil. The households who could maintain the level of consumption of rice unaffected, they could do so at the cost of reduced consumption of other non-rice food items or/and by reducing the non-food expenditure, i.e., expenses on their children education. High dropout rates among the children of these households were observed because of the price hike of food items as most of the households could not continue to bear the expenses on their children’s education. On average, 58 per cent and 56 per cent households in the rural and urban areas respectively experienced dropout of their children from school. A significant proportion of these dropped out children were engaged in different jobs with the aim of contributing to their household income. In this sense, the opportunity cost of sending children from these poor and vulnerable households appeared to be high as the rural and urban households could save, by not sending their children to school, around 9 per cent and 7 per cent of their monthly household expenses respectively, and the rural and urban households could earn, by withdrawing their children from schools and engaging them into any work, around 10 per cent and 11 per cent of their monthly household expenses. The ‘net gain’ (savings plus income) appears to be around 25 per cent of the households’ monthly expenses. In all cases, the female headed households turned out to be affected more than their male counterparts. The poor and vulnerable households under consideration employed several coping strategies to combat the adverse effects of food price hike, and ‘becoming more indebted by taking loans’ turned out to be the most widely used coping strategy.

Link: http://research.brac.net/publications/monograph_dfid1.pdf