This chapter titled ‘Push Out, Pull Out or Opting Out? Reasons Cited by Adolescents for Discontinuing Education in Four Low and Middle Income Countries’, in Chapter 12 in the Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policies, edited by Jennifer E. Lansford and Prerna Banati, Oxford University Press (March 2018) and is available here.
Authors Renu and Protap draw on Bronfenbrenner’s (1999) ecological framework in this mixed-method paper, recognizing school discontinuation not as an event but as a culmination of an interplay of various factors over time. Adopting a life course perspective and analyzing reasons given by adolescents for “not being in school” across the four low- and middle-income Young Lives study countries, three broad categories of reasons for early school leaving emerge. These are push factors, pull factors, and opted-out factors. Findings revealed that pull factors emerge as the greatest contributor toward children discontinuing education as they enter middle and late adolescence. Besides household dynamics and shocks, boys in particular discontinue schooling due to paid work, while girls spend long hours in domestic chores at the cost of attending school. While in-school factors, particularly quality, cannot be ignored, it is important to provide social protection nets to the poorest families in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.