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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 51
Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept over the world from early 2020 has triggered both health and economic shocks of unprecedented proportions in recent memory. Some estimates suggest that the consequences of these shocks will likely erase most of the progress made in global development over the past two decades. Many countries now risk falling further behind the attainment of national and international development goals, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these shocks due to their persistent higher levels of vulnerability, and the reality that school closures and other COVID-19 containment measures can be more damaging to children. 

This report examines the effect of previous economic crises on children’s well-being in UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Region (WCAR) and makes projections regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19-induced economic crises on priority indicators for the region. 
Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school

Malagasy adolescents face severe challenges in accessing and completing basic education. Among those students who complete the primary cycle, one in four does not transition into lower secondary school. Economic constraints among vulnerable households coupled with low-quality education result in widespread dropout and poor learning outcomes.

Acknowledging these multidimensional barriers, UNICEF Madagascar leveraged funds from the Let us Learn (LUL) programme to implement a two-pronged strategy to support Malagasy children in accessing and continuing lower secondary school. The Catch-up Classes provide out-of-school adolescents with a learning pathway to build the foundational literacy and numeracy skills they need to resume studying in formal school. Conditional cash transfers target families with children who are at risk of abandoning school after completing the primary cycle.

This brief builds on programme monitoring data, impact evaluations and qualitative insights from the field to highlight lessons learnt and actionable recommendations for accessing and continuing vulnerable children’s secondary education.

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID19

The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures around the world, affecting almost 1.6 billion students. The effects of even short disruptions in a child’s schooling on their learning and well-being have been shown to be acute and long lasting. The capacities of education systems to respond to the crisis by delivering remote learning and support to children and families have been diverse yet uneven.

This report reviews the emerging evidence on remote learning throughout the global school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable, and resilient education systems for current and future crises.

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of society. In mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed their schools, putting 9 out of 10 enrolled children out of school.

These closures disproportionately affected marginalized children, worsening existing inequities across education systems worldwide.

This brief draws on the experience of five UNICEF education country programmes supported by the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, to document tangible lessons in adapting education programmes to support the most marginalized children during school and learning centre closures.

The evidence in this brief stems from a series of semi-structured interviews with Education and Child Protection specialists, as well as a document review of available COVID-19 response studies, in the five LUL-supported UNICEF Country Offices.

Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

While there has been a global rush to generate rapid evidence on COVID-19 mental health impacts among adults, limited evidence exists on the potential impacts on children.

This is the protocol for our rapid review that seeks to (i) understand the immediate impact of COVID-19’s first wave on the mental health of children and adolescents (0–19 years); and (ii) apply lessons learned from this pandemic to mitigate the impacts of future health crises.

The key research questions of this review are: 

  • What has been the immediate impact of COVID-19 and associated containment measures on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents?
  • How and which risk and protective factors have affected mental health during COVID-19 and have they varied across subgroups of children and adolescents?

It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19

This paper presents a new estimate that pre-primary school closures in 2020 may cost today’s young children US$1.6 trillion in lost earnings over their lifetimes. Children in middle-income countries will be most greatly affected. However, most low- and middle- income countries are leaving pre-primary education out of their responses to COVID-19. This paper also draws lessons from evaluations of accelerated, bridging and remedial programmes on how introducing or expanding these transition programmes in the early years can mitigate the long-term impact on learning from pre-primary school closures.

Mind Matters: Lessons from past crises for child and adolescent mental health during COVID-19

COVID-19 is a crisis like no other in modern times. It has reached every population and community. While the evidence base is still nascent, this report looks at the impacts of disasters and past epidemics – such as Ebola, HIV, SARS/MERS and Zika – on child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and examines how these insights can guide policies and progammes to support children, their families and communities during the current pandemic.

COVID-19 – its associated public health responses and social and economic impacts – is likely to have multiple deleterious effects on mental health, including elevated risks of anxiety and depression, trauma, loss of family and friends, violence, loneliness and social isolation. However, this pandemic also offers opportunities for positive coping and resilience.

While there is no magic formula to address the mental health and psychosocial impacts of crises, there are proven and promising interventions from past experiences to mitigate the impact today – especially for the most vulnerable children and adolescents. These include social protection, caregiver skills and support, community and social support, life skills and school based programmes, and specialized care, to name a few.



Cite this research | No. of pages: 70 | Language: English | Topics: Mental Health | Tags: mental health | Publisher: UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
Ready to Start School, Learn and Work: Evidence from three education programmes for out-of-school children and adolescents in Bangladesh

Children in the Sylhet division, in the Northeast of Bangladesh, face complex challenges in accessing quality education, at all school levels. The region ranks among the poorest performers in learning attainment across education levels. UNICEF Bangladesh and its partners have leveraged resources from the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative to deliver three alternative learning pathways for out-of-school children and adolescents in remote areas of Sylhet. The three pathways cover key transition points in a child’s education: Getting ready to start school (Pre-Primary Education programme), learning foundational skills (A​bility-B​ased Accelerated Learning programme) and entering the job market (Alternative Learning Pathway programme). This report presents evidence on the achievements of the three programmes, highlighting key policy recommendations. The findings draw on analysis of programme monitoring data, qualitative case studies, focus group discussions and interviews. This paper is one of a series of research reports presenting emerging evidence on programmes supported by the LUL initiative, which aims to expand quality learning opportunities for disadvantaged children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal.

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean

By the end of 2019, 4.8 million refugees and migrants had left Venezuela – making it the largest external displacement crisis in the region’s recent history. Of these, 1 in 4 was a child.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean, since November 2020, 137 million girls and boys are missing out on their education due to the prolonged closure of schools during COVID-19. The implications are troubling, especially for migrant and refugee children, for whom access to inclusive and equitable education remains a major challenge.

This study collates evidence from Latin America, the Caribbean and across the world to gain a better understanding of the multifaceted linkages between education and migration. It estimates gaps in educational outcomes; identifies structural barriers to education; and highlights promising practices to inform policy.

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean

By the end of 2019, 4.8 million refugees and migrants had left Venezuela – making it the largest external displacement crisis in the region’s recent history. Of these, 1 in 4 was a child.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean, since November 2020, 137 million girls and boys are missing out on their education due to the prolonged closure of schools during COVID-19. The implications are troubling, especially for migrant and refugee children, for whom access to inclusive and equitable education remains a major challenge.

This study collates evidence from Latin America, the Caribbean and across the world to gain a better understanding of the multifaceted linkages between education and migration. It estimates gaps in educational outcomes; identifies structural barriers to education; and highlights promising practices to inform policy.

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home.

This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future.

***

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare  col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa.

Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief

This research brief is an addition to a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child well-being in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space.

Cite this research | No. of pages: 11 | Language: English | Tags: child well-being, COVID-19 | Publisher: UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home.

This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future.

***

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare  col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa.

Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.

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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.