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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fragilities in the global health architecture that contributed to countries being ill-equipped to effectively respond to a global health emergency, which in turn led to devastating consequences for children’s access to essential health services. Increased political awareness and commitment to pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) efforts offer a pivotal opportunity to make gains in child survival through resilient health systems that are anchored in a primary health care and rights-based approach. Save the Children and UNICEF UK new policy briefing presents a series of measures for the WHO Pandemic Accord as well as recommendations for the broader health emergency PPR architecture.
The 2022 Global Strategy progress report provides an assessment of the situation of women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health in this third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 1 presents abundant evidence showing that inequities persist despite great progress in reducing maternal and child mortality in the two decades leading up to the pandemic. A child’s life trajectory and rights to health, education, opportunities and safety are still largely determined by where that child is born. Data showing stagnation or drops in coverage of lifesaving interventions similarly serve as a reminder of the need to be more vigilant about bridging gaps and placing women, children and adolescents at the centre of development efforts. It also showcases key drivers of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being. It emphasizes that women’s empowerment and adolescent participation are pivotal to achieving the 2030 Agenda yet notes that there is a long way to go in reducing gender inequality and increasing young people’s meaningful opportunities to actively engage in community and civic life. Also stressed is the importance of addressing the complex factors underpinning today’s unacceptable levels of malnutrition and developing effective strategies to reach women, children and adolescents affected by conflict, forced migration, poverty and climate change impacts. Section 2 takes stock of the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on women, children and adolescents. Although children and adolescents are less likely to experience severe health consequences from SARS-COV-2 infection compared with adults, multiple years of education, health, nutrition and social service disruptions have impacted and will continue to impact their lives.
Ivan Coursac; Daniel Kelly
This background paper outlines the scale and urgency of financing education for SDG4 in the post-COVID Asia-Pacific region. The paper focuses primarily on the public financing of education and it directly addresses three main questions: (i) What are the key issues and challenges for education finance in the Asia-Pacific? Situating public education financing within the broader contexts of human capital development and social sector spending; (ii) What has been the impact of COVID-19 on education finance? From the immediate economic and education system impacts to the longer-term effects linked to significant and inequitable learning loss; and finally (iii) What are the priority areas for action? The paper proposes five main recommendations to guide post-COVID recovery and the financing of more inclusive, efficient and resilient regional education systems. The paper includes a list of resources at the end to support the implementation of the recommendations.
A new social contract for education in the Asia-Pacific region paves the way for building fairer and strengthened education systems in the post-COVID-19 era. It will repair inequalities, while transformingthe future, rebuild relationships with each other, with the planet and with technology and support full realization of all the inter-connected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO, 2022). In this new social contract, schools must continue to play a vital role in enhancing health, nutrition andthe well-being of learners, teachers and the community. School Health and Nutrition (SHN) programmesthat address the health, nutrition and well-being of learners and teachers are not only essential for maximizing every child’s life expectancy and potential as a learner; they are cost effective, with benefitsacross multiple sectors and they are a sound economic investment (Oliveira de FPSL et al., 2020).
Lay Cheng Tan
The UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), in partnership with the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO)and the Ministry of Education of Thailand, will convene the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Education Ministers’ Conference (APREMC-II) in June 2022 to reflect on how education systems can be strengthened and transformed to become more equitable, inclusive, responsive, relevant and resilient to better deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 commitments. This background paper has been commissioned by UNESCO Bangkok and the convening partners to facilitate discussions on teacher education and professional development at the primary and secondary education levels. The participating Member States will deliberate priorities and plans for teachers in their post-COVID-19 learning recovery and reconstruction efforts during the conference. Drawing on existing studies and reports, the paper focuses on the following issues in the Asia-Pacific region: 1) Overview of the teaching profession and the impact of the learning crisis and COVID-19pandemic on teachers; 2) Promising policies and practices to strengthen teachers’ competencies and performance for thepost-COVID-19 learning recovery and reform; 3) Teacher competencies required for learning recovery (including assessment of learning levels,identification of learning loss and recuperation), addressing the learning crisis, teaching in digital and hybrid environments, optimizing governance and leadership and enhancing teachers’ well-being; and; 4) Recommendations for preparing and supporting teachers for learning recovery, addressing the learning crisis and for education in the new normal and for the future.
This background paper was prepared to inform the thematic panel discussion on Learning Recovery and Addressing the Learning Crisis at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Education Ministerial Conference (APREMC-II) in June 2022. The purpose of this paper is to provide key recommendations for the provision and delivery of school education2 to facilitate post-COVID-19 learning recovery in the immediate and short-term. The recommendations focus on how education systems could provide safe schools and deliver a more equitable, inclusive and relevant education for all learners.
Nurth Palomo; Luis Vargas Faulbaum; Anna Carolina Machado (et al.)
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the foundations of the economy and provoked devastating social effects in all the countries in the world, being Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) one of the most affected regions. The region is also experiencing a significant deterioration in the levels of poverty and extreme poverty, which affects children and adolescents more significantly. This Research Report analyzes digital payment systems for social protection interventions in the region.
Marco Valenza; Thomas Dreesen; Sophia Kan
Sophia Kan; Thomas Dreesen; Marco Valenza
Ellen Helsper; Steven Vosloo
The digitization of society does not have a universal effect on all children. Even with the same internet access, digital literacy and content, children from different places and backgrounds can still have unequal experiences and outcomes. A child’s individual environment influences the extent to which they can seize digital opportunities and avoid digital risks. Unaddressed injustices and inequities based on sexism, racism, classism and other forms of discrimination, contribute to this, and technological advances reflect and amplify existing social, cultural and economic inequalities. In order to get the most out of digital technology, underlying inequalities in the lives of children need to be addressed. This report presents a future-ready, child-centred digital framework that incorporates all aspects of digital inclusion, addresses known gaps, explicitly aims to achieve digital equality, involves a broader range of stakeholders to do this, and responds to emerging technologies and trends.
UNICEF and WHO jointly organized Ending Violence Against Children During COVID-19 and Beyond: Second Regional Conference to Strengthen Implementation of the INSPIRE Strategies, held virtually on 1–5 November 2021. The Conference comes under the umbrella of the 2021 Solutions Summit series of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC). Over 1700 delegates gathered for the Conference virtually, representing governments (including from the health, social welfare, education and justice sectors), youth groups, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international NGOs, faith-based organizations and religious leaders, academic institutions, private sector and development partners, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children. The purpose of the Conference was to identify actions needed to ensure effective prevention and response to VAC during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, utilizing the strategies outlined in INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children.
We are in a learning crisis. To give young people the best chance to succeed, we need to support them holistically. The first step is to identify where children and youth are in building the range of skills they need, monitor progress in their development and ensure no child or young person is left behind. The Recovering Learning report published jointly by UNICEF and the Education Commission, and supported by Generation Unlimited, contributes to these efforts by providing a comprehensive view of skills attainment among children and youth. The report highlights the need to improve tracking progress in skills development, especially in light of the global priority to recover education in response to COVID-related disruptions. To succeed in the global commitment to support the holistic development of children and young people, we need better and more inclusive data to recover and reimagine our education system RAPID-ly. We also need to mobilize increased and improved investment in education to finance transformation, including through innovative instruments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education for approximately 1.2 billion students across the Asia-Pacific, and forced the closure of many schools, precipitating a transition towards remote learning, albeit with uneven access and quality, and threatening to deepen the ‘learning crisis’ that already existed, particularly for the most vulnerable learners. As education systems in the Asia-Pacific seek to recover the learning loss due to the pandemic and address the broader learning crisis, it is incumbent on governments to identify appropriate recovery strategies in the short term. Also, governments need to support education system transformation so that all learners reach minimum proficiency in numeracy and literacy and acquire competencies needed to fulfil their potential –personal, social and economic. Learning recovery strategies will differ across the region, not the least because schools were fully or partially closed1for different lengths of time -for example, India (82 weeks), Indonesia (77 weeks), and Bangladesh (73 weeks). Other countries saw shorter closures, such as: Vanuatu (4 weeks), Papua New Guinea (6 weeks), and the Solomon Islands (7 weeks).
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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