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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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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.
Remote learning during COVID-19 : lessons from today, principles for tomorrow

AUTHOR(S)
Alberto Gilberto Munoz-Najar; Alison Grace Sanzana; Amer Hasan (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: November 2021
School closures during COVID-19 (coronavirus) led to an unprecedented global experiment in the delivery of remote learning. This report seeks to assess what lessons can be drawn from experiences of remote learning during COVID-19 in K-12 education, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. It focuses on the period from March 2020 to October 2021 and addresses the following key questions: 1. Was remote learning during COVID-19 taken up and if so, was it effective? That is, did children learn as much as they did during pre-pandemic, in-person learning? 2. What lessons can governments derive from this wide-spread experience? 3. How might policymakers use these lessons to reimagine learning as schools begin to reopen? This report is part of a larger effort led by the World Bank to provide guidance and technical assistance to optimize country effectiveness in the design and execution of remote learning strategies. It has been developed in conjunction with Remote Learning During the Global School Lockdown: Multi-Country Lessons, a qualitative study conducted between May and November 2020 to understand the perceived effectiveness of remote and remedial learning solutions implemented across 17 countries.
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
COVID-19 and children’s school resilience : evidence from Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Sylvain Dessy; Horace Gninafon; Luca Tiberti (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: July 2021
This paper analyzes the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on children's school resilience. Using an individual fixed-effect linear probability model on Nigeria data, it exploits the quasi-randomness of these measures to estimate their effect on school attendance after the lockdown was lifted. The results show that COVID-19 lockdown measures reduced children's probability of attending school after the school system reopened. This negative impact increased with children's age, reaching a peak among those whose education was no longer compulsory. For schoolchildren in that age group, the negative effect of COVID-19 lockdown measures is likely to be permanent, which, if not reversed, will undermine the quality of the economy-wide future labor force. The paper also finds evidence that in the child marriage-prone North-West part of Nigeria that these measures increased gender inequality in education among children aged 12 to 18. This result suggests that COVID-19 lockdown measures may exacerbate harmful traditional practices such as child marriage.
Remote learning : evidence from Nepal during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Karthika Radhakrishnan; Shwetlena Sabarwal; Uttam Sharma

Institution: The World Bank
Published: July 2021
This note discusses early results from a distance education program on foundational numeracy for primary school students in Nepal during Coronavirus (COVID-19) evaluated in a randomized trial. The trial included 3,700 households with children in public school (grades 3-5). It provided support for foundational numeracy through mobile phone-based tutoring. The trial tested delivery through public school teachers and also through NGO facilitators. It led to a 30 percent increase in foundational numeracy, with teachers being slightly more effective at producing learning gains than NGO facilitators. These results suggest that instructional support through mobile phones can be a high-access and low-cost approach to providing instruction at scale.
Foundations for building forward better : an education reform path for Lebanon
Institution: The World Bank
Published: June 2021
Human capital development is a critical determinant of economic growth, equity, and prosperity, but outcomes in this domain are worryingly low inLebanon, risking the future of generations of children. Lebanese children lag behind their peers in human capital development—measured accordingto the World Bank (2020c) Human Capital Index—suggesting that the future productivity of the labor force and the country’s trajectory for equitablegrowth is at risk (World Bank 2020b). The Human Capital Index indicates that children born in Lebanon today will reach, on average, only 52 percentof their potential productivity when they grow up. This is lower than the average estimates for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region(57 percent) and upper-middle-income countries (56 percent). Lebanon’s poor performance on the Human Capital Index is largely attributed to theeducation outcomes calculated for the index.
The intergenerational mortality tradeoff of COVID-19 lockdown policies

AUTHOR(S)
Lin Ma; Gil Shapira; Damien de Walque (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2021
In lower-income countries, the economic contractions that accompany lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 can increase child mortality, counteracting the mortality reductions achieved by the lockdown. To formalize and quantify this effect, this paper builds a macro-susceptible-infected-recovered model that features heterogeneous agents and a country-group-specific relationship between economic downturns and child mortality. The model is calibrated to data for 85 countries across all income levels. The findings show that in low-income countries, a lockdown can potentially lead to 1.76 children’s lives lost due to the economic contraction per COVID-19 fatality averted. The figure stands at 0.59 and 0.06 in lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries, respectively. As a result, in some countries, lockdowns can produce net increases in mortality. The optimal lockdowns are shorter and milder in poorer countries than in rich ones and never produce a net mortality increase.
Philippine basic education system : strengthening effective learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

AUTHOR(S)
Yoonyoung Cho; Sachiko Kataoka; Sharon Piza

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2021
School closures and learning loss during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can have a long-term negative impact on the current cohort of school children. Global evidence from past health and disaster-related emergencies show that the impact extends well beyond the period of the disaster or pandemic. It is also likely to affect the children’s economic potential and productivity in adulthood, thus undermining the country’s competitiveness. This policy note analyzes key issues related to the current schooling and learning situation and proposes policy options to prepare for in-person schooling when this is possible. Two nationwide surveys in the Philippines provide a snapshot of the conditions of education in the country: the High Frequency Monitoring (HFM) Household Survey carried out in December 2020 and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Low Income Household Panel and Economic (HOPE) Survey targeting poor and near-poor households carried out in October 2020. The key issues emerging from these data and policy recommendations are summarized in this report.
Monitoring the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on Djiboutian and refugee households in Djibouti : results from the third wave of survey

AUTHOR(S)
Bilal Malaeb; Anne Duplantier; Romeo Jacky Gansey

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2021
The third round of data collection on monitoring of socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in Djibouti followed urban national households based on two previous waves of data collection as well as a replacement sub-sample. This round also includes a refugee sub-sample, covering urban refugees and those based in refugee villages. Economic recovery in Djibouti continues to follow a positive trend. Breadwinners from Djiboutian households continue to come back to work. Only 4 percent of those working before the pandemic were not working at the time of the survey. Even when counting those who were not working before the pandemic, 83 percent of all national households' breadwinners are now working – continuing strong trends from waves 1 and 2.
Impact of COVID-19 on learning : evidence from six Sub-Saharan African countries

AUTHOR(S)
Hai-Anh Dang; Gbemisola Oseni; Alberto Zezza

Institution: The World Bank
Published: May 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc upon global learning, with many countries facing severe school disruptions and closures. An emerging literature based on household survey data points to the pandemic as having exacerbated inequalities in education and learning in countries from Italy to Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This brief offers new analysis on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning outcomes for six sub-Saharan African countries. We analyze detailed householdlevel data from several rounds of panel phone surveys collected by the World Bank in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda.
Levels and trends in child malnutrition : UNICEF, WHO, World Bank Group Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates : key findings of the 2021 edition
Institution: *UNICEF, World Health Organization, The World Bank
Published: May 2021
The UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank inter-agency team update the joint global and regional estimates of malnutrition among children under 5 years of age each year. These estimates of prevalence and numbers affected for child stunting, overweight, wasting and severe wasting are derived for the global population as well as by regional groupings of United Nations (UN) regions and sub-regions, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), UNICEF, WHO and World Bank regions, as well as World Bank country-income group classifications.
Learning in the time of COVID-19 :iInsights from Nepal

AUTHOR(S)
Karthika Radhakrishnan; Noam Angrist; Peter Bergman (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: March 2021
This note discusses the impact of COVID-19 and related school closures on primary students’ access to learning in Nepal. Its primary source of data is a phone-survey with 1,800 households that have children enrolled in public schools (grades 3-5) collected from November 2020 to February 2021. It describes student learning, parental perception of student levels, access to learning during school closures, and families’ emotional health during COVID-19.
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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.