Impact of child labor on academic performance: Evidence from the program "Edúcame Primero Colombia"

Daniel Holgado, Isidro Maya-Jariego, Ignacio Ramos, Jorge Palacio, Óscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, Vanessa Romero-Mendoza, José Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In this study, the effects of different variables of child labor on academic performance are investigated. To this end, 3302 children participating in the child labor eradication program "Edúcame Primero Colombia" were interviewed. The interview format used for the children's enrollment into the program was a template from which socioeconomic conditions, academic performance, and child labor variables were evaluated. The academic performance factor was determined using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The data were analyzed through a logistic regression model that took into account children who engaged in a type of labor (n= 921). The results showed that labor conditions, the number of weekly hours dedicated to work, and the presence of work scheduled in the morning negatively affected the academic performance of child laborers. These results show that the relationship between child labor and academic performance is based on the conflict between these two activities. These results do not indicate a linear and simple relationship associated with the recognition of the presence or absence of child labor. This study has implications for the formulation of policies, programs, and interventions for preventing, eradicating, and attenuating the negative effects of child labor on the social and educational development of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was written within the framework of the “Edúcame Primero Colombia” project, developed by Partners of the Americas, Cinde, Devtech and Mercy Corps, financed by the United States Department of Labor (DOL-IL-16574-07 5K), executed in the Caribbean by the Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla), the Mamonal Foundation (Cartagena), and the Foundation for Child, Family and Community Development (Santa Marta). In addition, scholarships for collaboration and exchange were provided by the Development Cooperation Office of the University of Sevilla, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), and by the childhood and youth strategic line of the Universidad del Norte.


  • Academic performance
  • Child labor
  • Labor conditions


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