¿Educación o desintegración? The Ramifications of Parental Migration and Remittances on Children’s Education in Western Guatemala

Jason Davis, University of California, Santa Barbara

A small but growing body of literature addresses the largely positive impacts—from a national quantitative perspective—of international migration and remittances on the educational attainment of children. This paper offers a more nuanced view of the situation from the household and community-level that addresses both the positive remittance-related benefits to children’s educational attainment with the negative repercussions of parental absences on children’s general attitudes toward schooling. This investigation reports on a range of positive and negative educational transformations. A mixed-methods approach was used for this study that included participant observation, document analysis, and field interviews of educators, parents, and community elders from five western Guatemalan communities. Results indicate that remittances improved basic living conditions which allowed many children to access a more comfortable and substantive education. However, a lack of parental role models and disciplinarians in the home contributed to the disruption of childhood education for many other children.

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Presented in Session 72: Migrant Workers and Children's Wellbeing in Developing Countries