This article examines the association between formal education, social mobility and independent child migration in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam and draws on data from Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty and schooling. It argues that among resource-poor populations, child migration sustains kin relations across generations and households and also facilitates children’s progression through the life-course, thus it is fundamental to social reproduction. It reasons that formal education has greatly amplified this trend. Schooling has acquired symbolic value as the prime means of escaping household poverty and realising ambitions for social mobility. As such, elevated educational aspirations combine with systems shortcomings to stimulate school selection, school transfer and school-related child migration. The article concludes by examining the implications for children, for social reproduction and for policy.
Keywords: Social mobility;Child migration; Social reproduction; Educational aspirations
Jo Boyden (2013) ‘We’re not going to suffer like this in the mud’: Educational Aspirations, Social Mobility and Independent Child Migration among Populations Living in Poverty, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 43.5: 580-600 DOI:10.1080/03057925.2013.821317