A recent study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proves that, albeit intricate, the relationship between remittances and education is a positive one overall.
The positive impact of remittances is indisputable, but the correlation between them and education is under constant debate.
Because of the complex nature of immigration, it’s difficult to predict the kind of impact it will have on families.
For instance, in the same way migrant workers can help pay for loans, medical bills and boost investment, their migration can also result in relocation expenses and disrupt existing family dynamics.
It can also dissuade older children from continuing their education, especially if they’re pursuing a degree that might not be transferable or valid abroad.
However, there is substantial evidence to show that most families in middle- and low-income countries who receive remittances do use the aid to keep their kids in school.
Remittances and education
According to the World Bank’s latest estimate, close to US$690 million were sent in remittances last year.
So, when we talk about remittances boosting education, we’re talking about a big impact worldwide.
In general terms, the number of children out of school has decreased dramatically since the 1970s, according to data collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
Remittance-receiving households in Lima and Guatemala tripled their education budget.
What’s more, remittances can help kids stay in school even if the funds are not being used expressively for educational investment.
For example, a 10% increase in remittances helped Filipinos reduce unpaid child labor by more than three hours a week, allowing for more children to return to school.
When families don’t have to worry about making ends meet, children are more likely to finish their education. For example, children aged 6 to 17 in the Dominican Republic were more likely to attend school if their families were being supported by remittances.
Yet, based on the World Bank chart, there are still over 63 million children out of primary school.
The question is, how do we help raise education spending now that a pattern has been established?
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals are very clear: reduce the global cost of remittances.
All sources are original citations of the UNESCO study.
 Parida et al., 2015
 Ibourk and Bensaïd, 2014
 Adams and Cuecuecha, 2010; Loveday and Molina, 2006
 Clemens and Tiongson, 2017
 Amuedo-Dorantes and Pozo, 2010