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Impact of armed conflict on education: new evidence from Ivory Coast

18 Nov 2016
Education in armed conflict Ivory Coast

(18 November 2016) A recent Innocenti Seminar presented evidence from a new study on the impact of armed conflict on children’s education and mortality. The study gathered data from Ivory Coast, a country that has been deeply affected by armed conflict since 2002.

Despite the global commitments to ensure full and complete access to free quality education for every girl and boy, recent trends in universal enrolment registered a regression with around 58 million out-of-school children in the world, out of which 36 per cent living in countries that have been affected by conflict.

Idrissa Ouili, Assistant Professor at High Institute for Population Science (HIPS) University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, statistician and economist with several years of experience in population policies, poverty, education, family planning and reproductive health issues, presented new evidence from Cote d’Ivoire about the impact of armed conflict in children’s education in an internal seminar at UNICEF Innocenti.

The aim of the study, Armed Conflicts, Children's Education and Mortality: New Evidence from Ivory Coast, conducted in 2015 was to explore the impact of armed conflict on three different outcomes during the Ivorian armed conflict from 1999 to 2011: 1) school enrolment (probability of being enrolled in school); 2) school attainment (number of years of schooling for individuals enrolled in school); 3) under five child mortality.

Using several sources of data, including the Côte d’Ivoire Demographic and Health Surveys, as well as data from pre-conflict and post-conflict surveys, Professor Ouili compared different cohorts of children who had one of more years of life affected by conflict, with groups of children that were not affected by conflict. Results show that in the group of children aged 6-18 in 2011, armed conflict decreased school enrolment by 10% compared with a group of same age in 1998; in the group of students aged 18-36 in 2011, those who were in schools during the conflict period experienced at least one year drop-out of schooling in average, compared with a group of same age in 1998. Lastly, in children aged 5-16 in 2011 armed conflict increased under 5 mortality rate by 3% compared with a group of same age in 1998.

Professor Ouili is one of the four young African fellows coming to UNICEF Innocenti in 2016-2017 as part of a programme funded by SIDA. Fellows are collaborating with researchers in the Social and Economic Policy Unit at Innocenti and with country evaluation teams on specific research questions around the impacts of cash transfers on health, education, or multidimensional poverty utilizing Transfer Project data.

Each fellow visits the UNICEF Innocenti for 2-3 weeks, during which time researchers also present a seminar on some of their past research. The remainder of the approximately 12-month fellowships are conducted from their home base.