Patterns of Children’s Work during Schooling and its Association with School Attendance in Coffee and Non-Coffee Picking Seasons in Intense Coffee Growing Regions in Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia: A Mixed-methods Study





Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences



Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdanning


This study examined patterns of children’s work combined with schooling and its association with school attendance in coffee and non-coffee picking seasons among primary school students (grade5 to 8) in Sidama Coffee Livelihood Zones. Mixed methods were employed with a concurrent triangulation design. A total of 240 school children, and three students and three teachers were selected using multi-stage random and purposeful sampling respectively. Questionnaire and interviews were used to collect data. Descriptive statistics, non-parametric and parametric tests involving chi-square, t-test and bivariate correlation as well as verbatim, quoted texts of the interviewees and thematic analysis were used to analyze quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Findings show that combining work with school is a common practice among students. The study found statistically significant difference between coffee and non-coffee picking seasons in the regularity of children’s work (M=2.92, SD=1.07, t (218) = 18.68, p < .001), intensity of children’s work (M=2.92, SD=1.07, t (220) = 23.3, p < .001 and in school attendance rates (M=3.17, SD=1.01, t (217) = -13.82, p < .001). Moderately statistical significant correlations were obtained between school attendance and (a) average days worked per week (r = .531, p < .001) and (b) average hours worked per day in the past 10 school months (r = .394, p < .001). Qualitatively, findings revealed coffee picking season is the greatest time waster for the students. The negative impacts of children’s work on school attendance patterns were described by the students and teachers in relation to coffee picking season. The results of this thesis can provide foundations for introducing flexible school calendar in Sidama Zone coffee growing areas, and it can open up avenues of further research in other coffee growing areas to make nation-wide policy decisions


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