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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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An analysis of COVID-19 student learning loss

AUTHOR(S)
Harry Patrinos; Anthony Vegas; Emiliana Carter-Rau (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2022
COVID-19 caused significant disruption to the global education system. Early reviews of the first wave of lockdowns and school closures suggested significant learning loss in a few countries. A more recent and thorough analysis of recorded learning loss evidence documented since the beginning of the school closures between March 2020 and March 2022 finds even more evidence of learning loss. Most studies observed increases in inequality where certain demographics of students experienced more significant learning losses than others. But there are also outliers, countries that managed to limit the amount of loss. This review aims to consolidate all the available evidence and documents the empirical findings. Thirty-six robust studies were identified, the majority of which find learning losses on average amounting to 0.17 of a standard deviation, equivalent to roughly a one-half year’s worth of learning. These findings confirm that learning loss is real and significant, even compared to the first year of the pandemic. Further work is needed to increase the quantity of studies produced, and to ascertain the reasons for learning loss and in a few cases mitigation of loss.
School is closed: simulating the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic–related school disruptions in Kuwait

AUTHOR(S)
Simon Bilo; Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad; Ebtesam AlAnsari (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2022

The schooling disruption caused by COVID-19 in Kuwait is among the longest in the world. Using the similarities between the schooling disruptions due to the Gulf War and the schooling disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this note shows that students in school during the COVID-19 pandemic face significant reductions in the present value of their lifetime income. Furthermore, the findings show that students in higher grades during the pandemic are likely to face larger reductions in lifetime earnings than students in lower grades. Kuwaiti females in secondary school who will become civil service workers face a reduction of close to $40,000. The corresponding reduction for males is more than $70,000.

Childcare, COVID-19 and female firm exit: impact of COVID-19 school closure policies on global gender gaps in business outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Markus Goldstein; Paula Gonzalez; Sreelakshmi Papineni (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: April 2022
This paper estimates the impact of a large negative childcare shock on gender gaps in entrepreneurship using the shock created by national COVID-19 school closure policies. The paper leverages a unique data set of monthly enterprise data collected from a repeated cross-section of business owners across 50 countries via Facebook throughout 2020 and in 2021. The paper shows that, globally, female-led firms were, on average, 4 percentage points more likely to close their business and experienced larger revenue declines than male-led firms during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (male firms closed at a rate of 17 percent in 2020, and 12 percent in 2021). The gender gap in firm closures persisted into 2021. The closing of schools, a key part of the care infrastructure, led to higher business closures, and women with children were more likely to close their business in response to a school closure policy than men with children. Female entrepreneurs were found to take on a greater share of the increase in the domestic and care work burden than male entrepreneurs. Finally, the paper finds that women entrepreneurs in societies with more conservative norms with respect to gender equality were significantly more likely to close their business and increase the time spent on domestic and care responsibilities in response to a school closure policy, relative to women in more liberal societies. The paper provides global evidence of a motherhood penalty and childcare constraint to help explain gender inequalities in an entrepreneurship context.
Assessing the damage: early evidence on impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on girls and women in Africa
Institution: The World Bank
Published: April 2022
At the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was global concern about the negative indirect impacts the crisis would have on girls and women and their human capital. Two years into the crisis, this brief summarizes the evidence to date on how the prediction of a shadow crisis has played out in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The brief is intended as a call to action for policymakers, since available research sets off multiple alarm bells. It also proposes urgent policy responses. Evidence to date confirms that the COVID-19 crisis has had profound negative impacts on the education, health, employment and empowerment of girls and women including in SSA. Available data is still limited, but what is known to date suggests that we are seeing the tip of an iceberg. Many impacts will have long term repercussions for girls’ and women’s human capital. Decision makers are at a pivotal moment to invest now in women and girls, to neutralize immediate but also prolonged costs to individuals, societies and economies.
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for children in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Emma Cameron; Antonia Delius; Amanda Devercelli (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: April 2022
Based on survey data for more than 5,000 Kenyan households, this study shows that, despite government efforts to introduce remote learning options, access to education declined markedly during a nine-month-long period of school closures. Remote learning was adopted by only a small minority of students, and disadvantaged children fell further behind. During the first semester of 2021, reports of alterations in children’s externalizing and internalizing behavior more than tripled, with one in five children being affected by June 2021. After schools reopened, children learning remotely or through alternative means were more likely to suffer from these disruptions in emotional well-being than those who returned to school. While the medium- and long-term effects on learning outcomes and human capital remain unknown, the findings suggest that girls and children from poorer and less educated households have been disproportionately affected.
Balancing work and childcare: evidence from COVID-19 school closures and reopenings in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Pierre E. Biscaye; Dennis Egger; Utz J. Pape

Institution: The World Bank
Published: March 2022
This paper identifies the impact of childcare responsibilities on adult labor supply in the context of COVID-19-related school closures in Kenya. It compares changes in parents’ labor participation after schools partly reopened in October 2020 for households with children in a grade eligible to return against households with children in adjacent grades. Using nationally-representative panel data from World Bank phone surveys in 2020–21, the findings show that the partial reopening increases affected adults’ weekly labor hours by 22 percent, with increases concentrated in household agriculture. The results suggest that school closures account for over 30 percent of the fall in average work hours in the first few months after COVID-19 cases were detected. The effects are driven by changes in household childcare burdens and child agricultural labor when a student returns to school. The impacts are not significantly different by sex of the adult. Although both women and men increased hours spent on childcare during the pandemic, women benefited more than men from reductions in childcare needs, but took on more of the childcare burden when the returning student was a net childcare provider. The results highlight the importance of siblings in household childcare and suggest that policies that increase childcare availability and affordability could increase adult labor supply in Kenya.
The impact of COVID-19 on the welfare of households with children: an overview based on High Frequency Phone Surveys
Institution: *UNICEF, The World Bank
Published: March 2022

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been widespread and disproportionately affected vulnerable segments of the population, including children and their families. The modest progress made in reducing child poverty has been reversed in all parts of the world by COVID-19. Impact of COVID-19 on the welfare of households with children – a joint World Bank and UNICEF publication - presents findings from data from high frequency phone surveys collected in 35 countries. The analysis identifies the impact of the crisis on households without and with (few or many) children, both focusing on the initial impact in 2020 but also the subsequent evolution of this impact. The analysis focus on key areas such as income and job loss, food insecurity, social protection programs and access to education, shedding light on the importance of placing children in poverty and their families highly on the agenda in the COVID-19 response and recovery.

Where are we on education recovery? taking the global pulse of a RAPID response
Institution: *UNICEF, UNESCO, The World Bank
Published: March 2022

Two years into the COVID-19 global pandemic, education has been seriously disrupted. In response to this crisis, the global priority remains to ensure every child is supported so they can return to school and catch up on lost learning. Recognizing the need to accelerate education recovery with urgent, at-scale action, this joint report by UNICEF in partnership with UNESCO and the World Bank highlights staggering levels of learning loss globally and takes stock of the measures being taken by countries to mitigate learning losses as schools reopen. Based on a survey of 122 UNICEF country and fundraising offices administered in early March 2022, the report presents the importance of and progress made in five key actions for education recovery, the RAPID: Reach every child and retain them in school; Assess learning levels; Prioritize teaching the fundamentals; Increase catch-up learning and progress beyond what was lost; and Develop psychosocial health and well-being so every child is ready to learn.

Prioritizing learning during COVID-19: the most effective ways to keep children learning during and postpandemic

The short- and long-term impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children’s education, wellbeing, and future productivity is profound. Almost two years after schools began closing in most countries across the world, governments need to take urgent steps to limit the damage.

What do you want to be: youth aspirations in the time of the COVID-19 crisis: evidence from three Sub-Saharan countries

AUTHOR(S)
Valentina Costa; Ivette Maria Contreras Gonzalez; Amparo Palacios-Lopez (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: January 2022
Understanding the aspirations and goals of the youth is essential to developing effective employment policies. Policies should be designed to allow educational and professional aspirations of young people to align with pathways to achieving them. The data collected is nationally representative and age distribution is similar across countries. Recent surveys on youth or sub-populations of youth have included questions to capture career aspirations and life goals in the time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Incorporating the youth aspirations and employment module for High Frequency Phone Surveys (HFPS) into multitopic household surveys has several advantages. In conclusion, measuring youth aspirations helps shed light on the possible employment outcomes that can be observed in adulthood and play a role in breaking poverty circles, which is highly relevant for public policy.
Levels & trends in child mortality report 2021
Institution: *UNICEF, The World Bank, World Health Organisation
Published: December 2021

While the world was gripped by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, children continued to face the same crisis they have for decades: intolerably high mortality rates and vastly inequitable chances at life. In total, more than 5.0 million children under age 5, including 2.4 million newborns, along with 2.2 million children and youth aged 5 to 24 years – 43 per cent of whom are adolescents – died in 2020. This tragic and massive loss of life, most of which was due to preventable or treatable causes, is a stark reminder of the urgent need to end preventable deaths of children and young people. Data gaps remain a serious challenge to child mortality estimation and monitoring. Almost two thirds of low and middle income countries (97 out of 135) have no reliable mortality data in the past three years. And just 40 countries had high-quality national data for 2020 included in the estimation model, though national or subnational data were available for more than 80 countries or areas to help analyse excess mortality due to COVID-19.

Political prioritization of early childhood education during the COVID-19 pandemic : a comparative policy analysis of low- and middle-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Michelle J. Neuman; Shawn Michael Powers

Institution: The World Bank
Published: December 2021
Despite strong evidence of its importance to the welfare of children and societies, early childhood education has been comparatively neglected as a policy priority both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper seeks to understand what factors have contributed to the lack of priority for early childhood education in distance learning and school reopening plans, by applying a political prioritization framework to the pandemic context in four low- and middle-income countries: Ethiopia, Jamaica, Liberia, and Pakistan. Some aspects of the pre-COVID-19 status quo, which disfavored early childhood education, have continued, including a lack of cohesive support from civil society and a greater focus by international partners on norm promotion and technical assistance than financing. In other respects, the pandemic put early childhood education at an even greater disadvantage. These include perceptions that early childhood education is less suited to distance delivery than other levels of education, concerns about young children’s ability to comply with health protocols, and competition with high-stakes examinations for education ministries’ attention. Previous country experience with pandemics (in Liberia) and a strong coordinating entity (in Jamaica) were mitigating factors. These results point to an urgent need to elevate priority for early childhood education in normal times and improve the resilience of early childhood education in future crises.
COVID-19 learning losses: rebuilding quality learning for all in the Middle East and North Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Harriet Nannyonjo; Joao Pedro Wagner De Azevedo; Maryam Akmal (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank, *UNICEF, UNESCO
Published: November 2021
Since the beginning of the pandemic, efforts have been made to monitor both school closures (and re-opening) and the measures put in place to ensure continuity of learning. These include the Survey of Ministries of Education on National Responses to COVID-19, jointly supported by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank. However, to date, no systematic evidence has been available on how students’ learning is being affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic or on the impact of education response measures initiated by governments. This report contributes to filling this evidence gap and includes a series of simulations of potential learning losses due to COVID-19 and exploration of their longer-term implications. The analysis is based on the Enabling learning for all framework, which outlines access, engagement and enabling environment as the three crucial enablers for learning, while the simulation assumptions are informed by the evidence on school closures and governments’ education-related responses, collected through the joint survey.
Remote learning during the global school lockdown: multi-country lessons

AUTHOR(S)
Maria Barron Rodriguez; Cristobal Cobo; Alberto Munoz-Najar (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: August 2021
This study includes three main sections that have been organized in a chronological order within this report: the first one, “What can we learn from education emergency responses in low- and middle-income countries?” analyzes the emergency education responses to the COVID-19 pandemic of over 120 governments from April until May, 2020. The second section, “Is remote learning perceived as effective? An in-depth analysis across five countries” discusses the main national education responses deployed by Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Peru, as well as the perceived effectiveness of these strategies conducted from May until August, 2020. The third section, “What works with remote and remedial strategies? an analysis across 13 countries” builds on key lessons learned during the analysis of the five multi-country experiences and presents global trends of remote learning implemented during school closures and the actions governments adopted to get ready for remedial learning, conducted from August until December 2020. The countries prioritized for the third section are IDA borrowing countries of which six are low-income countries.
Building forward better to ensure learning for all children in Iraq : an education reform path
Institution: The World Bank
Published: July 2021
Human capital development is imperative to achieve sustainable economic growth in Iraq. At the heart of Iraq’s human capital crisis is a learning crisis, which is exacerbated by effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis on education service delivery. The low levels of human capital development, coupled with limited opportunities to gain job-relevant skills, have translated into worsening economic and social outcomes. To overcome these sources of fragility and spur sustainable human capital driven economic growth, change can only be brought about through a comprehensive reform agenda that addresses the inefficiencies in the education sector and promotes a renewed focus on learning. This Iraq education reform note proposes actionable reforms for key education sector inputs to lead to better learning and skills development.
Cite this research | No. of pages: 21 | Language: English | Topics: Education | Tags: child education, COVID-19 response, educational policy, lockdown, social distance | Countries: Iraq | Publisher: The World Bank
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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.