This article examines the link between parental migration and young children’s education using data from the Philippine country study of the Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia (CHAMPSEA) Project. The key research question probed here is: what difference does parental migration make to the school outcomes of young children? Specifically, it looks at factors that explain children’s school progression (school pacing) and academic performance (school achievement) using multiple regression analysis. These questions are explored using CHAMPSEA data gathered from a survey of children under 12 years of age and their households in Laguna and Batangas (n=487).
The concern that parental absence due to migration can negatively affect the school performance of children is not supported by the study. If parental migration affects school outcomes, it is associated with positive outcomes, or with outcomes which show that children in transnational households are not doing worse than children living with both parents. Positive school outcomes are best associated with a migrant-carer arrangement where fathers work abroad and mothers stay home as carers –children in these households fare very well when it comes to school pacing and school achievement. The study concludes that families and households need to provide both economic and psychological support to enhance the chances that children are at pace with their schooling and are doing well at school.