Evidence on education as a driver for migration

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Evidence on education as a driver for migration.


This report synthesises two previous reports on drivers of migration, and focuses on the evidence on education’s role. The previous reports focused on education and migration in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), and youth employment and education in low and middle income countries. The papers presented below reflect these original criteria, but reframe the studies to draw out the evidence on education as a driver. The report outlines the evidence on when and whether education services make a difference to people’s reasons for moving. This report includes rural-urban migration, regional and international migration, and migration away from fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). It does not consider migration that is primarily economic, whether regular or irregular.

There are considerable differences in people’s reasons for migrating, either internally or internationally, depending on where they come from and their personal circumstances. Often cited reasons are to escape conflict, get a better job, provide remittances to their families, or to help a family member. In short, people mostly migrate to improve their circumstances (Devictor, 2016).

The literature here suggests that education is not often a primary driver of migration, either as a push or pull factor, except in the cases of young people going to universities abroad, and sometimes to get into better, more distant, schools than their local ones. Where there has been a deliberate decision to study is the only circumstance noted here in which education is the primary driver of migration. Education is usually viewed as a secondary driver, or one among many socio-economic factors that contribute to a better life. The primary drivers of all kinds of internal and international migration are security concerns, livelihoods opportunities, and economic

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