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On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In response, governments around the world took the unprecedented step of closing all schools as a way to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that school closures impacted almost 1.6 billion learners across 169 countries. Most children in this study experienced school closures, or partial or temporary re-openings, well into 2022. Education systems had very unequal capacities to respond to school closures with remote learning and support to children and families. The most common format remote learning took was online learning (91 per cent), yet 1.3 billion of the 1.6 billion students out of school had no internet connection at home—let alone a device to learn on—and internet literacy was extremely low among students, teachers, and parents.10 Moreover, the majority of the estimated 300 million learners with online access were in high- or middle-income countries. Children in humanitarian settings were among the least likely to be able to access digital education. This digital divide exacerbated education inequalities everywhere. In low-income and humanitarian settings, school closures also amplified the pre-existing learning and school access crisis and cut children off from the protective services schools often provide.
Jerome Marston; Marika Tsolakis
Attacks on education and military use of schools increased by one-third in 2020 compared to 2019, and remained at the same rate in 2021. Meanwhile, the number of people harmed in attacks and military use declined by half in 2020, compared to 2019, then doubled in 2021, returning to near pre-pandemic rates. In some countries, during initial public-health lockdowns in early 2020, GCPEA noted a reduction in attacks on education followed by a spike in attacks on schools or school teachers and students when educational facilities reopened in late 2020 or early 2021. Armed forces and non-state armed groups also took advantage of vacant schools, using them for military purposes during the pandemic in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, and Sudan, amongst others. One explanation for the decline in the number of people harmed in 2020 may be that fewer students or staff were present in schools or universities when attacks occurred. Alternatively, with students and teachers out of schools due to the pandemic, armed groups and armed forces opposed to education no longer needed to violently prevent their attendance. As students and educators resumed in-person learning in 2021, the number of people harmed was similar to in years prior to the pandemic.
This brief was developed to support the dissemination of key messages in Mind the Gap 2: Seeking Safe and Sustainable Solutions for Girls’ Education in Crises. It provides an overview of evidence and gaps in girls’ and women’s access to distance education and recommends actions for gender-responsive planning and design of distance education policies and interventions.
In March 2020, after the coronavirus cases in Bangladesh were confirmed, both Humanitarian Play Labs (HPL) and mainstream Play Labs temporarily stopped their face-to-face operations according to the government mandate. The pandemic endangered people’s physical health and highly impacted their socio-economic and mental health conditions. Hence, BRAC explored alternative approaches and designed a telecommunication model, Pashe Achhi, to support all the direct beneficiaries during the pandemic. The objective of the intervention was to be connected with the beneficiaries and promote children’s wellbeing and development through play-based learning, positive parenting, and self-care practices of caregivers. Since caregivers are the core agent for children’s learning and development during the pandemic, the model provides psychosocial support and learning support to them. To facilitate the calls, the model trained facilitators on ECD, learning through play, playfulness, and mental health. Pashe Achhi is a telecommunication model consisting of tele-counseling and tele-learning components. After receiving the training, the Play Leaders started to call the families every week to conduct a 20 minutes phone session (10 minutes with the mother and 10 minutes with the child) based on the scripts delivered. In the first 10 minutes, Play Leaders give mothers and caregivers basic psychosocial support, tips on engaging with children and discuss health and hygiene issues.
This paper summarizes the findings of the monitoring report: Mind the Gap 2: Seeking Safe and Sustainable Solutions for Girls’ Education in Crises, which was commissioned by the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) in collaboration with the INEE Reference Group on Girls’ Education in Emergencies. It recommends actions for governments, donors, civil society, collectors and collators of data, and teachers and other education personnel to address the gaps identified in the delivery, planning, funding, and monitoring of girls’ and women’s education in crisis contexts.
This report summarizes progress, gaps, challenges and opportunities in improving education and training for girls and women affected by conflict and crisis. This report monitors progress since the first Mind the Gap report and highlights the following thematic areas: distance education and the digital divide, school-related gender-based violence, and girls’ education during climate crisis. The report aims to support the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education’s commitment to enhance the evidence base and monitor progress toward gender-equitable education in crises. The report draws from data on 44 crisis-affected countries, from recent research, and from a set of case studies of interventions in a range of crisis-affected contexts.
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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