A study in Fiji has found that about 17,500 students drop out of school every year because their parents cannot afford to keep them there.
Local newspaper The Fiji Sun reported Wednesday that the study by the Fijian Teachers Association found that the parents of these students earn an average income but this is diverted to other obligations rather than education.
The Fijian Teachers Association's project manager, Josefa Nainima, said children leave school as early as Class One and that the result shows up later in secondary schools where few students make it up to Form Seven or to university and other tertiary institutions.
He said this is because traditional obligations and donations to churches frequently take priority over meeting the costs of education.
Nainima said as a consequence children often become victims of wrong decisions that result in high dropout rates and poor academic performance.