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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Education response to COVID 19 pandemic, a special issue proposed by UNICEF: editorial review

AUTHOR(S)
Nicolas Reuge; Robert Jenkins; Matt Brossard (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
This editorial paper presents 11 papers related to the special issue proposed by UNICEF on the Education Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic provoked an education emergency of unprecedented scale. At its onset in February 2020, school closures were announced in the worst-hit countries. At the peak of the crisis, 90 per cent of learners worldwide had had their education disrupted. Some learners, especially those from the most marginalised population groups, were put at risk of permanent dropout, provoking long-term and significant negative effects on children’s life-long wellbeing and the socio-economic development of their communities and countries. This special issue, which received contributions from UNICEF staff and various researchers, focuses on the impact of school closures, the effectiveness of remote learning solutions, equity implications, the mitigation of learning loss and notions around re-opening better.
Global estimates of the implications of COVID-19-related preprimary school closures for children’s instructional access, development, learning, and economic wellbeing
Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Development
Observational data collected prior to the pandemic (between 2004 and 2019) were used to simulate the potential consequences of early childhood care and education (ECCE) service closures on the estimated 167 million preprimary-age children in 196 countries who lost ECCE access between March 2020 and February 2021. COVID-19-related ECCE disruptions were estimated to result in 19.01 billion person-days of ECCE instruction lost, 10.75 million additional children falling “off track” in their early development, 14.18 million grades of learning lost by adolescence, and a present discounted value of USD 308.02 billion of earnings lost in adulthood. Further burdens associated with ongoing closures were also forecasted. Projected developmental and learning losses were concentrated in low- and lower middle-income countries, likely exacerbating long-standing global inequities.
Health equity, schooling hesitancy, and the social determinants of learning

AUTHOR(S)
Meira Levinson; Alan C. Geller; Joseph G. Allen (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Americas
At least 62 million K-12 students in North America—disproportionately low-income children of color— have been physically out of school for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These children are at risk of significant academic, social, mental, and physical harm now and in the long-term. We review the literature about school safety and the conditions that shape families’ and teachers’ choices to return to in-person schooling. We identify four causes of schooling hesitancy in the U.S. even where schools can be safely reopened: high community transmission rates; the politicization of school re-openings; long-term racialized disinvestment in urban districts; and parents’ rational calculations about their family's vulnerability due to the social determinants of health.
School closures and regional policies to mitigate learning loss due to COVID-19: a focus on the Asia-Pacific
Institution: UNESCO - Institute of Statistics
Published: July 2021

Global school closures as a result of COVID-19 have caused learning losses for millions of children despite efforts to deploy remote learning options. Greater economic insecurity among families may also affect school enrolment as many struggle to pay school fees, or require children to work to supplement family income. Ultimately, this will lead to rising dropout rates, estimated to be as much as 4% in a region where 128 million children and young people were already out of school before COVID-19. The largest number of learners at risk reside in South and West Asia. Together, the education and economic fallout from the pandemic threaten progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4). Even prior to the COVID-19 disruptions, progress towards SDG 4 was lagging in many countries in the Asia-Pacific and without significant contributions to education finance, the pandemic threatens to push the region even further behind. This report breaks down the effects of school closures. It considers, for example, how many schools were closed, and when, across the Asia-Pacific, and the effects on different levels of education from early childhood education, through to primary and secondary school. The report analyses country efforts to implement remote learning, and strategies to mitigate learning losses as the proportion of students expected to fall below minimum proficiency levels is expected to rise.

Recovering lost learning: what can be done quickly and at scale?
Institution: UNESCO
Published: June 2021

Students around the world have lost substantial instructional time owing to abrupt school closures since theoutbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNESCO monitoring, in 2020, school buildings werecompletely closed for an average of 15 weeks (4  months) worldwide (UNESCO, 2021a). Counting partialclosures, schools were shut on average for 26 weeks (6.5 months) worldwide, equivalent to almost two-thirds of a typical school year. In response, education systems have deployed remote and hybrid learning modalities to ensure continuity of learning. These efforts have yielded mixed results, with varying degrees of improvement and reduction in inequalities in student learning depending on the modalities and implementation methods of the different education programmes. As a result, almost all students needsome catch-up learning, compelling education systems to deploy and scale up targeted interventions quicklyto help pupils bridge their learning gaps and improve learning.This paper draws key messages to help policy and practice to mitigate the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 crisis on student learning. It addresses the growing concerns of both policy and decision-makers aboutstudents’ disengagement from – or loss of – learning owing to the pandemic, as   reflected in low levels of achievement at   checkpoints compared to expected learning levels, reduced rates of completion and/orgrowing disparities in learners' achievement. If policy-makers do not react quickly by providing additionaland relevant support to address students’ learning needs, especially those from marginalized groups,millions of children and youth may not return to the classroom, and may eventually drop out of school.

 

An analysis of school absences in England during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Emma Southall; Alex Holmes; Edward M. Hill (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: BMC Medicine
The introduction of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, in the UK in early 2020, resulted in the introduction of several control policies to reduce disease spread. As part of these restrictions, schools were closed to all pupils in March (except for vulnerable and key worker children), before re-opening to certain year groups in June. Finally, all school children returned to the classroom in September. This study analyses data on school absences in late 2020 as a result of COVID-19 infection and how that varied through time as other measures in the community were introduced. It utilises data from the Department for Education Educational Settings database and examines how pupil and teacher absences change in both primary and secondary schools
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:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

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.

 

 

 

Collecter les données essentielles de l’éducation durant la crise du COVID-19 : une nécessité
Institution: UNESCO
Published: May 2020   Journal: Bulletin d’information
La crise du COVID-19 a mis au premier plan la nécessité de mettre l’accent sur l’équité et l’inclusion en matière d’apprentissage. Le défi le plus difficile à relever dans le contexte de la crise actuelle est de veiller à ce que l’équité en matière d’accès et d’apprentissage ne soit pas freinée. Étant donné la nature de la crise, tous les pays doivent apporter leur soutien aux enfants les plus vulnérables pour éviter qu’ils ne soient davantage marginalisés et s’assurer qu’ils continuent de s’investir dans leur éducation. L’équité et l’inclusion doivent continuer d’être un des objectifs clés de la gestion de la crise.
Cite this research | Vol.: 58 | No. of pages: 7 | Language: French | Topics: Education | Tags: education, school dropouts, social inequality
Research Brief: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

 

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.

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:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

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.

 

 

 

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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.