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Ethiopia has made remarkable progress over the last two decades. The poverty rate has halved (from 46% to 24%), the primary completion rate has more than doubled (from 18% to 50%) and the odds of marriage for girls under the age of 15 have fallen to less than 1 in 10. However, alongside the covid-19 pandemic, the last two years have seen increasing ethnic and religious tension and violence, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to deliver on promised political transformations. In Ethiopia GAGE has collected baseline and midline data with approximately 8,000 rural and urban adolescents in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regions as well as Dire Dawa City Administration; fielded two rounds of covid-19 phone surveys; and is running ongoing participatory research groups with older girls and boys (15–19 years). Nested within the Ethiopian study, GAGE is also carrying out an impact evaluation of the adolescent empowerment programme ‘Act With Her’ (AWH). This brief highlights headline emerging findings from this unique dataset, as well as providing links to more comprehensive publications and an annex with key quantitative indicators.
Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in social and economic development in recent decades, which contributed to the country attaining middle-income status in 2015. While the country’s educational advancements are noteworthy – net enrolment rates in school have converged towards gender parity and literacy rates have improved – entrenched obstacles related to educational transitions for adolescents persist. In Bangladesh, GAGE has collected mixed-methods baseline data from a school-based sample in Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, as well as virtual data collected at various intervals during the covid-19 pandemic. Quantitative baseline data was collected from 2,220 adolescents attending grades 7 and 8 in 109 public (government) and semi-private (monthly pay order (MPO)) schools in February and March 2020; and qualitative baseline data was collected by phone from 100 adolescents, parents and teachers between August and September 2020. This brief highlights headline emerging findings and provides links to more comprehensive publications.
This research by Save the Children India highlights the disproportionate impact of India’s Covid-19 crisis on girls, with lockdowns and school closures exacerbating existing gender inequalities in the country and hindering girls’ access to health, education, and play. The report, The World of India’s Girls, reveals that only a third (33%) of girls in India attended online classes during lockdown, while two thirds (68%) struggled to access health and nutrition services. A further 80% were unable to access sanitary items due to limited government supplies, lack of money and shop closures. This study was conducted in four states – Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Telangana, representing the four geographical zones (East, West, North and South) and included a survey, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.
This publication investigates the evidence on the gendered impacts of extended school closures and periods out of school. The aim is to ensure that responses to the current and future crises are informed by an understanding of how they affect education access, participation and outcomes, as well as children’s nutrition, health, well-being and protection. Building on the findings of 154 studies from every region of the world, it highlights how extended school closures and periods out of school deepen gendered exclusions and vulnerabilities – with the poorest children being the most affected. Seven different forms of gendered impact on education processes are delineated, linked to failures to address the needs, rights and capabilities of girls, boys, women and men, and to build institutional structures to sustain equality and protect from violence.
Nicola Jones; Sarah Baird; Bassam Abu Hamad (et al.)
Roberto Samaniego; Remi Jedwab; Paul Romer (et al.)
Pandemic shocks disrupt human capital accumulation through schooling and work experience. This study quantifies the long-term economic impact of these disruptions in the case of COVID-19, focusing on countries at different levels of development and using returns to education and experience by college status that are globally estimated using 1,084 household surveys across 145 countries. The results show that both lost schooling and experience contribute to significant losses in global learning and output. Developed countries incur greater losses than developing countries, because they have more schooling to start with and higher returns to experience. The returns to education and experience are also separately estimated for men and women, to explore the differential effects by gender of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, while the study uncovers gender differences in returns to education and schooling, gender differences in the impact of COVID-19 are small and short-lived, with a loss in female relative income of only 2.5 percent or less, mainly due to the greater severity of the employment shock on impact. These findings might challenge some of the ongoing narratives in policy circles. The methodology employed in this study is easily implementable for future pandemics.
Rabea Malik; Najaf Zahra; Ayesha Tahir (et al.)
For girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, education can be a ladder out of poverty and a way to break cycles of abuse and violence. Yet, there are still steep gender-related barriers to a quality and safe education such as gender-based violence, discrimination, child and forced marriage, lack of access to healthcare and menstrual hygiene products, unpaid domestic labour, and the prioritization of boys’ education. Even girls who do access education face a range of challenges, including poor quality facilities, large class sizes, and a lack of qualified female teachers and staff. For girls in fragile and conflict-affected areas, the threats can include kidnapping, injury, forced recruitment, and displacement. With the COVID-19 pandemic, those challenges have only increased. There are several stakeholders working to reduce these barriers and make sure that girls who must access their education in emergency situations can do so safely and effectively. They are also trying to make sure that the education available is of high quality and sensitive to their unique needs. In 2021, the Government of Canada supported a partnership with Equal Measures 2030 and its in-country partners FAWE and IPBF, based in Kenya and Burkina Faso, respectively, to look at how to strengthen the equitable and coordinated provision of education for girls and women in both countries. The result was research and advocacy that aimed to make the education systems of both countries more data-driven and gender-responsive. This report details the experiences, findings, and recommendations encapsulated in our work.
Kalifa Damani; Rebecca Daltry; Katy Jordan (et al.)
This article discusses the use of educational technology (EdTech) in girls’ education at PEAS schools (‘Promoting Education in African Schools’) in rural Uganda during the COVID-19-related school closures. This article addresses a research gap surrounding the potential use of EdTech to support girls’ education, focusing on the barriers to girls’ EdTech use and how technology might be used to enhance girls’ education in disadvantaged rural areas – specifically their academic learning and their social and emotional learning. A sequential, explanatory mixed-methods case study approach was used. Quantitative exploration of a dataset of 483 Ugandan students, from 28 PEAS schools, was first conducted, followed by interviews with PEAS staff to elucidate the reasons and context behind the findings.
School closures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have caused unprecedented disruption for nearly 1.6 billion learners across the globe. Beyond alarming effects on learning loss and school dropout, they pose an immediate and long-term threat to gender equality, with gender-specific effects on health, well-being and protection. This publication exposes these impacts and calls for effective strategies to ensure education continuity, promote gender equality and improve lives and futures. Through a review of published research, a global survey of actions taken by organizations in favour of gender equality in education, and in-depth data collection in five countries, UNESCO and its partners underline the challenges faced by children and young people to continue learning, and to return to school safely. When schools shut also showcases the efforts made by governments and the international community to mitigate harm and safeguard progress towards gender equality in and through education.
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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