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Education of Disadvantaged Children in OIC:

The Key to Escape from Poverty


strongly correlated with country income. Yet some countries manage to perform better than

predicted by their income levels.

Poor children have difficulty in reaching education in the OIC member countries

compared to their wealthier counterparts.

Poor children are also more disadvantaged in

access to lower secondary education compared to primary education. Even when they have

access to education poor children are left behind in terms of their achievements signalling that

the quality of the education that they receive might be lower. On average poor children score

less in participating member countries in PIRLS and TIMSS tests compared to rich children.

Living in rural areas also puts children at a disadvantage in the OIC member countries in

access to primary education.

The older the children get the wider the gap becomes. Children

living in rural areas in the OIC are again more disadvantaged in their access to lower secondary

education. These children are also at a disadvantage in access to quality education as evidenced

by their lower average scores in international assessment tests compared to their urban


In most of the member countries large gaps between girls and boys do not exist in access

to education.

Rather than gender alone, gender together with poverty is a more important

predictor of lack of access to education. In fact gender inequality in access to primary education

turns out to be a problemmainly for poor children.

Disabled children are at a disadvantage in access to education.

In countries like Sudan, Chad

and Indonesia, disabled children were found to be more likely to be out of school compared to

their counterparts without a disability. Furthermore disability type also affects access.

Children not speaking the language of instruction in the country are also found to be

disadvantaged in access to education.

An analysis of DHS surveys for 23 countries including

a number in the OIC shows that even controlling for socioeconomic background, gender of the

child and urban status, language continues to determine children’s attendance in school in these



Apart from these barriers, low levels of financing and low quality education prevent

children from accessing schooling and learning what they are supposed to.

Education is

not a priority in most member countries’ budgets. Teacher shortages, teachers’ levels of

education and their absence from the classrooms are problems seen in the OIC. More than half

of the OIC countries spend less than 15 percent of their government budget on education.


Smits, Huisman, & Kruijff (2008)