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Maria Carolina Alban Conto; Spogmai Akseer; Thomas Dreesen; Akito Kamei; Suguru Mizunoya; Annika Rigole
While remote learning measures are essential for mitigating the short-term and long-term consequences of COVID-19 school closures, little is known about their impact on and effectiveness for learning.
This working paper contributes to filling this gap by: 1. Exploring how disrupted schooling may affect foundational learning skills, using data from MICS6 (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys - round 6) in 2017–2019; 2. Examining how countries are delivering and monitoring remote learning based on data from the UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank’s National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures survey; and 3. Presenting promising key practices for the effective delivery and monitoring of remote learning.
Atsuko Muroga; Htet Thiha Zaw; Suguru Mizunoya; Hsiao-Chen Lin; Mathieu Brossard; Nicolas Reuge
Dita Nugroho; Chiara Pasquini; Nicolas Reuge; Diogo Amaro
Some countries are starting to reopen schools as others develop plans to do so following widespread and extended closures due to COVID-19. Using data from two surveys and 164 countries, this research brief describes the educational strategies countries are putting into place, or plan to, in order to mitigate learning impacts of extended school closures, particularly for the most vulnerable children. In addition, it highlights emerging good practices.
Shivit Bakrania; Cirenia Chávez; Alessandra Ipince; Matilde Rocca; Sandy Oliver; Claire Stansfield; Ramya Subrahmanian
This protocol details the aims, scope and methodology used for the rapid review titled: “Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19."
This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.
The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited.
There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.
Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:
There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.
Dominic Richardson; Victor Cebotari; Alessandro Carraro; Kaku Attah Damoah
Asif Saeed Memon; Annika Rigole; Taleen Vartan Nakashian; Wongani Grace Taulo; Cirenia Chávez; Suguru Mizunoya
Anna Gromada; Dominic Richardson; Gwyther Rees
The COVID-19 crisis that has engulfed the world during 2020 challenges children’s education, care and well-being. Many parents struggle to balance their responsibilities for childcare and paid employment, with a disproportionate burden placed on women. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of families had been described as ‘a global childcare crisis’.
It is estimated that over 35 million children under five years old are sometimes left without adult supervision, a factor often linked to economic pressures on parents to work. With the arrival of the pandemic, 99 per cent of the world’s 2.36 billion children found themselves in a country with some movement restrictions, including 60 per cent under some form of lockdown. This has made childcare an even greater challenge for parents.
Globally, the work of childcare is done predominantly by women. This includes mothers and also other female caregivers such as grandmothers, siblings and workers in the childcare sector. In 2018, 606 million working-age women considered themselves to be unavailable for employment or not seeking a job because of unpaid care work, compared to only 41 million men. This imbalance has major implications for women’s employment and income opportunities and for children’s development and well-being.
UNICEF has previously called for a set of four family-friendly policies for children in the early years, comprising paid parental leave; breastfeeding support; accessible, affordable and good-quality childcare; and child benefits. We have shown that even some of the world’s richest countries fare poorly in terms of these policies, which is a reflection of their policy priorities rather than available resources.
This brief takes a global perspective on one of these four aspects – childcare in the early years. In the current context of lockdown and school closures, lack of childcare is likely to be one of the worst affected services available to families. This paper paints a picture of current progress towards ensuring that all families have access to affordable and high-quality childcare, and considers the implications of the current COVID-19 crisis for childcare globally. We show how governments and employers can help parents to address theglobal childcare crisis through paid parental leave, followed by accessible, affordable and high-quality childcare. COVID-19 economic recovery packages have, to date, directed the vast majority of resources to firms rather than to households. This can be changed through public provision of childcare, subsidies, social protection floors and tax incentives.
Shivit Bakrania; Ramya Subrahmanian
This research brief summarizes the findings of a rapid review that collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.
The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19. is extremely limited.
Priscilla Idele; David Anthony; Lynne M Mofenson; Jennifer Requejo; Danzhen You; Chewe Luo; Stefan Peterson
The initial impression that paediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon and generally mild has been replaced by a more nuanced understanding of infectious manifestations in children and adolescents across low-, middle-, and high-income countries, with recognition of a widening disease spectrum. Critical knowledge gaps, especially in low- and middle-income countries, remain that have significant public policy and programme implications. Insufficient data disaggregated by age, geography and race/ethnicity continue to hinder efforts to fully assess prevalence of infection and disease manifestations in children and adolescents and their role in transmission. Potential biologic differences in susceptibility to infection and transmissibility between children, adolescents and adults need to be assessed. Determination of mother-to-child SARS-CoV-2 transmission during pregnancy, the peripartum period, or through breastfeeding requires appropriate samples obtained with proper timing, lacking in most studies. Finally, predictors of disease progression, morbidity and mortality in children need to be determined and whether these predictors vary by geographic location and in settings where poor nutritional and health conditions and other vulnerabilities are more frequent. Countries, UN agencies, public health communities, donors and academia need to coordinate the efforts and work collectively to close the data and knowledge gaps in all countries (high-, middle- and low-income) for better evidence to guide policy and programme decision-making for children and COVID-19 disease.
Priscilla Idele; David Anthony; Kaku Attah Damoah; Danzhen You
Contrary to the current narrative, the risks of COVID-19 disease in children and young people depend largely on where individuals live and how vulnerable they are to disease and ill health.
It is commonly accepted, at least for now, that children and young people under 20 years of age have largely been spared the direct epidemiological effects on their own health and survival of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for COVID-19 disease. This narrative is based predominantly on early data from the countries first affected by the virus, notably China (Wuhan province) and Italy in early 2020, and also from other high-income countries (HICs) including the United States and some European nations. This narrative has conditioned the subsequent screening and testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus in children and young people under 20, which have been notably lower than for other age cohorts in many, but not all, countries. But demographic profiles differ widely between countries, and assumptions and narratives based on evidence taken from ageing societies, typical of HICs, may not hold for more youthful and growing populations, as illustrated by the contrast between the age-cohort profiles of COVID-19 cases for Italy and Kenya. For this reason, and given that the vast majority of the world’s children and young people live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and territories, we began to investigate the burden of COVID-19 cases among children and young people under 20 globally.
Daniel Kardefelt Winther ; Rogers Twesigye; Rostislav Zlámal; Marium Saeed; David Smahel; Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone
Children’s digital access – or lack thereof – during the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly determined whether children can continue their education, seek information, stay in touch with friends and family, and enjoy digital entertainment. With over 1.5 billion children across 190 countries confined to their homes, active video games or dance videos may also be their best chance to exercise. The rationale for closing digital divides has never been starker or more urgent.
This data-driven research brief explores three research questions.
1) How much do we know about children’s basic access to the internet across
the globe? 2) Do children regularly use the internet to access health
information? 3) Are children able to verify the truth of online information?
The brief analyzes survey data from the ITU
World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators database, as well as household-survey
data collected from approximately 22,000 children aged 12-16, generated by the
collective work of the EU Kids Online and Global Kids Online research networks.
It concludes with recommendations on how stakeholders can ensure that children’s
health information needs are better supported during the COVID-19 pandemic and
Gabrielle Berman; Karen Carter; Manuel Garcia Herranz; Vedran Sekara
Balancing the need to collect data to
support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm
created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than
in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic
has seen an unprecedented rapid scaling up of technologies to support digital
contact tracing and surveillance. As the pandemic progresses, we are also
likely to see the emergence of more applications that link datasets as we seek
to better understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and
This working paper explores the
implications for privacy as the linking of datasets increases the likelihood
that children will be identifiable and consequently, the
opportunities for (sensitive) data profiling. It
also frequently involves making data available to a broader set of users or
While it is recognized that reuse of
unidentifiable data could potentially serve future public health responses and
research, the nature of, access to and use of the data now and in future
necessitate accountability, transparency and clear governance processes. It
requires that these be in place from the outset. These are needed to ensure
that data privacy is protected to the greatest degree possible and that the
limitations to the use of these data are clearly articulated.
Karen Carter; Gabrielle Berman; Manuel Garcia Herranz; Vedran Sekara
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 violence against children and women during COVID-19.
The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response