London, March 15 IANS | 7 months ago

A novel way to attract kids in developing countries to schools is to provide safe drinking water, researchers have found.

The study findings showed that during the dry period, children without access to clean water were about 2.5 times more likely to be absent from school than children where water was provided.

Researchers looked at absentee rates in eight schools in Cambodia - half of which received treated drinking water, and half of which did not.

The 26-week study period spanned two terms - one in the country's dry season and one in the wet season. The absentee records of 3,520 children were taken into account.

"We found lower absenteeism in the schools that received the free clean water - however this association was only seen in the dry season," said professor Paul Hunter from Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia in Britain.

"During the wet season, absenteeism increased in all eight schools, which is explained by children being kept off school to help in the fields," he said.

The findings have major implications for developing countries where rate of attendance in schools is very low.

"Reducing student absenteeism is vital to improve educational attainment and alleviate poverty," said Hunter.

The study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

(Posted on 15-03-2014)

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