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Non-state actors’ role extends beyond provision of schooling to interventions at various education levels and influence spheres. Alongside its review of progress towards SDG 4, including emerging evidence on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, the 2021/2 Global Education Monitoring Report urges governments to see all institutions, students and teachers as part of a single system. Standards, information, incentives and accountability should help governments protect, respect and fulfil the right to education of all, without turning their eyes away from privilege or exploitation. Publicly funded education does not have to be publicly provided but disparity in education processes, student outcomes and teacher working conditions must be addressed. Efficiency and innovation, rather than being commercial secrets, should be diffused and practised by all. To that end, transparency and integrity in the public education policy process need to be maintained to block vested interests. The report’s rallying call – Who chooses? Who loses? – invites policymakers to question relationships with non-state actors in terms of fundamental choices: between equity and freedom of choice; between encouraging initiative and setting standards; between groups of varying means and needs; between immediate commitments under SDG 4 and those to be progressively realized (e.g. post-secondary education); and between education and other social sectors.
Lucy Hall; Pawel Mania
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.
Ebrima K. Ceesay
If all children are to reach their full potential in life, they must have an equal chance of receiving an education of good quality. The critical importance of education for the prospects and prosperity of individuals, communities and entire nations is recognized in Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with SDG 4 calling for inclusive and equitable quality education for all. However, too often, the most marginalized children are left behind, including girls, ethnic and linguistic minorities, migrants and refugees, children with disabilities, and those from low-income families or living in remote areas. Yet education’s unique power to act as a catalyst for wider development goals can be fully realized only if it is equitable.If all children are to be fully included in education, we need to understand the factors that inhibit and exclude the most vulnerable from learning. The 2021 Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia report on inclusion and education aims to fill key knowledge gaps and provide evidence-based recommendations to assist governments and other key education stakeholders in strengthening inclusion and SDG 4 implementation across the region.
N. Jones; S. Guglielmi; A. Małachowska (et al.)
This report aims to support timely and context-relevant policy and programming in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the State of Palestine (Gaza and West Bank) and Jordan by adding to the evidence base on adolescent girls’ and boys’ experiences during COVID-19. Drawing on mixed methods research it captures the risks and opportunities adolescents face across four low- and middle-income country contexts six to nine months after lockdowns in response to the pandemic were first introduced. With a focus on the intersectional challenges faced by adolescents including by gender, age, marital status, disability and context, the report covers three key domains: education and learning; violence and bodily integrity; and voice, agency and community participation. This is the companion report to a report published in August 2020, ‘I have nothing to feed my family’, which focused on the immediate, short-term effects of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns on girls and boys across the same contexts. The report concludes with key recommendations for policy and programming actors so that efforts to ‘build back better’ post-pandemic can be more effectively informed by adolescents’ experiences and voices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the world’s population. Although it has been established that children are at lower risk of falling seriously ill with COVID-19, the pandemic has had, and continues to have, far-reaching effects on them. The pandemic poses a health crisis that has become a child rights’ crisis. It is heightening the impact of conflict and climate change on children. In sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 is exacerbating not only existing threats to the future that 550 million children face, but also measures put in place to control and contain the disease. While the arrival of the first vaccines brings hope to put an end to the pandemic, it will take time before these vaccines can reach everyone who needs them. This report sheds light on the various ways children in sub-Saharan Africa have been affected by the ongoing pandemic and how UNICEF and partners have been supporting them. The report also is a call to action to governments and the international community to take concerted action to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures, and build forward a better world fit for children.
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.
Samira Ahmed Raha; Md. Sajib Rana; Saklain Al Mamun Al Mamun (et al.)
This research is part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme, a nine-year, mixed methods longitudinal research and evaluation programme following the lives of 20,000 adolescents in six low- and middle-income countries. BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH) and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) partnered to carry out rapid-response research in Dhaka to gain an understanding of vulnerable and underprivileged adolescents’ lives during the pandemic. This policy brief presents findings from the second round of data collection which included 30 in-depth interviews with adolescents living in three sites in Dhaka. Findings show inequalities in access to and continuation of distance education, negative effects in psychosocial well-being, unequal access to digital connectivity, financial constraints, with inequalities between different socio-economic classes, gender and age groups, which put them at risk of discontinuing education, entering into child labour and also early marriage.
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.
Artur Borkowski; Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa; Donald A. P. Bundy; Carmen Burbano; Chika Hayashi; Edward Lloyd-Evans; Jutta Neitzel; Nicolas Reuge
In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries.
The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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 disabilities.
The second digest discussed children and violence during the pandemic.
The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response
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