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Kaku Attah Damoah; Frank Otchere; Dominic Richardson
Marco Valenza; Cirenia Chávez; Annika Rigole; Andrea Clemons; Alvaro Fortin; Erica Mattellone
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.
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.
Cirenia Chávez; Marco Valenza; Annika Rigole; Thomas Dreesen
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.
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:
Dita Nugroho; Youngkwang Jeon; Akito Kamei; Florencia Lopez Boo
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.
Lorraine Sherr; Lucie Cluver; Mark Tomlinson; Priscilla Idele; Prerna Banati; David Anthony; Kathryn Roberts; Katharina Haag; Xanthe Hunt
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.
Marco Valenza; Cirenia Chávez; Annika Rigole; Taniya Laizu Sumy; Mohammad Mohsin; Iqbal Hossain
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 (Ability-Based Accelerated Learning
programme) and entering the job market (Alternative Learning Pathway
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.
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.
Kim Caarls; Victor Cebotari; Despina Karamperidou; Maria Carolina Alban Conto; Juliana Zapata; Rachel Yang Zhou
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.
Giovanna Mascheroni; Marium Saeed; Marco Valenza; Davide Cino; Thomas Dreesen; Lorenzo Giuseppe Zaffaroni; Daniel Kardefelt Winther
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
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.
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.
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.
Read the latest quarterly digest on children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response