Orphanhood and Schooling in South Africa: Trends in the Vulnerability of Orphans between 1993 and 2005

Cally Ardington, University of Cape Town
Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

Using 10 nationally representative surveys conducted between 1993 and 2005, we assess the extent to which the vulnerability of orphans to poorer educational outcomes has changed over time as the AIDS crisis deepens in South Africa. We find that at every point in time orphans are at risk of poorer educational outcomes, with maternal deaths generally having stronger negative effects than paternal deaths. However, despite a significant increase in the number of orphans over the last decade, we find no evidence of a systematic strengthening of these negative effects. Patterns of care-giving for orphans have shifted over time, but changes are taking place within the extended family safety net. There is an increasing reliance on grandparents as caregivers. Up to this point, these changing patterns of care-giving within extended families seem to have averted further worsening in educational outcomes for the increasing number of orphans.

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Presented in Session 72: Orphans, Adoption and Fostering