Cash transfers help keep Philippines children in school: ADB

picture-22(AFP) – A novel cash incentive programme for the Philippines poor is helping keep children in primary school, but not preventing them dropping out of high school, according to a study released Tuesday.

The food-for-education subsidy started just over a year ago and gives 300 pesos (6.30 dollars) a month to children aged between six and 15 from the poorest 300,000 households on condition they attended classes regularly.

“The results showed that the targeted CCT (conditional cash transfer) programme would lead to greater school attendance and poverty reduction,” the Asian Development Bank said, evaluating the impact of the programme.
With the amount, “almost one in every three children aged 6-15 who are currently not attending school would have enough incentive from the transfer to go to school,” the Manila-based lender said.

Half of this group would then opt to attend school while continuing to work outside the home, it added.

The bank said two million Filipino children of school age, or 10 percent of the country’s total, fail to attend school.

The child subsidies are a significant boost to household incomes in a country where 27.6 million people, or a third of the population, live on a dollar a day or less and where children often have to work instead of study.

The education department has announced plans to expand the programme further as part of a 300-billion-peso economic stimulus package to prevent the country sliding into recession amid a global economic slowdown.

The ADB study also suggested that targeted cash transfers “could be more effective for targeting older children,” citing the huge disparity in the 16 percent dropout rate at the secondary school level, compared to just over five percent for grade school.

One such alternative is “increasing the transfer amount progressively with the age of the child,” it added.

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