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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Lebanese crisis forcing youth out of learning, robbing them of their futures: UNICEF survey
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: February 2022

As Lebanon’s triple crisis continues to worsen, youth are struggling to find hope, support and opportunities amid mounting despair. The combined impact of an economic meltdown, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Beirut Port explosions are forcing youth from all backgrounds to take on responsibilities beyond their ages, with detrimental impacts on their mental health and on access to opportunities. More and more young people are dropping out of education or any type of learning to engage in ill-paid, irregular and informal work to generate whatever income they can to help their families cope with the mounting challenges. UNICEF’s new assessment shows that 3 in 10 young people in Lebanon have stopped their education, while 4 in 10 reduced spending on education to buy essential items like basic food and medicine. The combined impact of the crises has led to a significant increase in mental health issues among young people, resulting in risky behaviour and substance abuse, as well as an increase in gender-based violence (GBV). Approximately one in four adolescents in Lebanon suffers from a psychiatric disorder. Alarmingly, 94 per cent of adolescents with a mental disorder have not sought any treatment. In September 2021, UNICEF conducted a Youth-Focused Rapid Assessment (YFRA), interviewing around 900 youth and adolescents aged 15 to 246 across Lebanon. One in four reported often feeling depressed and just over half the respondents said their lives worsened over the past year.

Scars of pandemics from lost schooling and experience : aggregate implications and gender differences through the lens of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Roberto Samaniego; Remi Jedwab; Paul Romer (et al.)

Published: February 2022

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.

Girls’ lived experiences of school closures : insights from interviews with girls and mothers in Punjab, Pakistan

AUTHOR(S)
Rabea Malik; Najaf Zahra; Ayesha Tahir (et al.)

Published: February 2022
This note explores findings on the changing household dynamics in response to the mandated Coronavirus (COVID-19) school closures in Punjab, Pakistan. The SMS girl impact evaluation and a complementing qualitative study assessed the lived experiences of girls during school closures. Mothers and daughters in select districts were interviewed via phone. The initial round of interviews tells a story of economic hardship, gendered division of household tasks, loss of learning, lack of engagement with educational TV programming, and fear that some students may not re-enrol when schools reopen.
A generational catastrophe: COVID-19 and children’s access to education and food in South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Debra Shepherd; Nompumelelo Mohohlwane

Published: December 2021   Journal: Development Southern Africa
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children have been put at greater risk of school drop-out, as well as food insecurity and emotional health deterioration. This paper considers these issues as they have occurred in South Africa. It uses all waves of the National Income Dynamics Study–Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey to estimate non-return to school, access to school meals, and household well-being. The number of learners not attending school in 2021 is estimated to be close to quadruple pre-pandemic levels. Combined with estimates of learning lost, we can conclude that the pandemic has worn away at two decades of progress made in basic education. Evidence also indicates that school feeding has been slow to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Deepened levels of household hunger combined with a lack of access to free school meals is indicated to contribute to significantly greater levels of caregiver anxiety and psychological distress.
Data on students’ learning experiences in mathematics during the COVID-19 school closure

AUTHOR(S)
Angel Mukuka; Overson Shumba; Henry M. Mulenga

Published: December 2021   Journal: Data in Brief
Like in other education systems around the world, the COVID-19 school closure in Zambia necessitated a shift from physical classroom face-to-face interactions to remote learning. However, it was not clear whether all students’ remained engaged with the learning of mathematics during that time. The data described in this paper were collected to support the findings of a descriptive survey that aimed at finding out Zambian students’ experiences with mathematics remote learning. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 367 secondary school students in Kitwe district. It was anticipated that the collected information could provide some valuable insights into remote learning experiences among secondary school students in times of a crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.
Psychological impact of school closure and social isolation on female students during Covid-19: a case study from Bangladesh

AUTHOR(S)
Sohela Mustari; Mehe Zebunnesa Rahman; Susmita Kar (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Prospects
This article describes the socio-psychological efects of school closure on school-going urban girls in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It illustrates the life of urban students in Bangladesh during the school-closing time and relates it to their previous normal life. It asserts that the strengths of traditional schools have important relevance to socialization, which was signifcantly disturbed during the pandemic due to home confnement. Based on both qualitative and quantitative data, the following components led to an understanding of the schools’ role in the socialization of urban female students in Bangladesh: emotional attachments, interpersonal interactions, and physical activity. During confnement, the absence of these components put the students’ socialization process at risk, resulting in socio-psychological changes in activities and behavioral patterns. Finally, the article recommends not considering online classes as the “new normal”; working toward vaccination and obtaining suitable health equipment for the reopening of traditional schools will do more to ensure the socio-psychological health of future generations.
Advancing girls’ education in light of COVID-19 in East Africa: a synthesis report
Institution: Population Council
Published: November 2021
Over a billion students around the world have been affected by school closures in the past year and a half (March 2020 to August 2021) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The persistence of the pandemic and the severity of the risks posed by the disruption of education necessitate a strong understanding of the present state of girls’ education in East Africa. This study aimed to understand the current problems posed by COVID-19 for girls’ education in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; identify the gaps in understanding with regard to these problems; and illuminate solutions. The study is based on a rapid desk review of peer-review and grey literature, coupled with nearly 30 key informant interviews with a range of East African organizations working on education and/or gender issues. These methods were complemented by an interactive, participatory workshop during which interviewees and other education stakeholders validated and supplemented the initial study results. Key findings from the study are summarized below
Learning loss among adolescent girls during the COVID-19 pandemic in rural Bangladesh

AUTHOR(S)
S. Amin; I. M.I. Hossain; S. Ainul (et al.)

Institution: Population Council, *UNICEF
Published: November 2021

Poor learning remains a central challenge in Bangladesh despite considerable progress in advancing schooling access and reducing gender gaps in education. The learning crisis is feared to have been exacerbated during extended school closures and limited alternative opportunities for schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief summarizes findings on learning loss among adolescent girls during the pandemic in rural Bangladesh.

COVID’s Educational Time Bomb: Out of school children global snapshot
Published: November 2021
A snapshot survey carried out by Save the Children in 6 countries where schools have reopened, shows that 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 1 in 5 of the most vulnerable children have not returned. This is not typically because of fear of the virus itself, but a direct result of child labour, child marriage, financial hardship, relocation and other consequences of the pandemic – and girls are particularly at risk. 1 in 5 children at schools we surveyed have not returned to school and are at risk of dropping out for good – with potentially devastating consequences for their lives and their country’s future. Eighteen months into this crisis, the clock is ticking to get millions of children back to school. We must act now and invest in getting the world’s children safely back to school, to ensure that generations of the most vulnerable children are not left behind.
Analysis of the health, economic and environmental impacts of COVID-19: The Bangladesh perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Sneh Gautama; Shamsunnahar Setu; Mohd Golam Quader Khan (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Geosystems and Geoenvironment
Although COVID-19 has given an opportunity to the earth to restore her ecosystem, its role in bringing changes in every sector including social, economic, agricultural, industrial, education and health is enormous. The study was conducted to assess the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Bangladesh by collecting data from different sources. The result depicted that during the first wave of COVID-19, the detection rate was less than 5%, exceeding almost 30% after detecting the deadlier Indian variant where 65% of the death is noticed by the people older than 50 years. Among all the frontline service providers during Covid, the highest rate of death was observed for doctors in Bangladesh. This study also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and found that women faced more depression and anxiety than men as well as 43% of children had subthreshold mental disturbances. Three-fourths of the adolescents have been distressed with household stress during the pandemic. Women and girls have encountered increased domestic violence whereas early marriages dropped out many rural girls from education. Decreasing remittance from non-residents and shutting down of RMG industry resulted loss of job and have badly affected economic section. Almost 20 million workers lost their jobs in Bangladesh from the informal sector. Moreover, the healthcare workers who have treated the corona virus patients have been socially stigmatized due to the fear of infection. Corona Virus has jeopardized the agriculture sector and 66 % farmers (53% crop and vegetables, 99% fish farmers) got lower price than they used to get in a normal situation.
Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and country responses for mitigating learning loss

AUTHOR(S)
Carolina Alban Conto; Spogmai Akseer; Thomas Dreesen (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
This article investigates to what extent disrupted schooling and dropout affects children’s acquisition of foundational skills prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using household survey data from thirteen low- and lower-middle-income countries, we find that missing or dropping out of school is associated with lower reading and numeracy outcomes. Drawing on global surveys conducted during the pandemic, we find that countries’ remote learning responses are often inadequate to keep all children learning, avoid dropout, and mitigate the learning losses our findings predict, particularly for marginalized children and those at the pre-primary level.
COVID-19 and digital primary education: impact and strategies for sustainable development

AUTHOR(S)
Sudarshan Maity; Tarak Nath Sahu; Nabanita Sen

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Development Policy and Practice
The present study is based on primary data of 720 students from primary schools in West Bengal, India. With adherence to the Logistic Regression Model, the study investigates and analyses the factors that influence digital learning of primary students during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Further with the application of Welch’s t-test, comparative study have been conducted based on parameters as village and city school students, private and government school students and gender discrimination. The findings conclude that the school structure; willingness of the school and teachers to conduct virtual classes; availability and accessibility of high-speed internet and economic capability of parents to bear the exorbitant internet charges are significant dimensions in virtual learning of primary section students. The study also confirms that during the pandemic girl students and students from village government schools are the worst hit in comparison to boys who are from city-based schools and private schools respectively.
Learning disruption or learning loss: using evidence from unplanned closures to inform returning to school after COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Sinéad Harmey; Gemma Moss

Published: September 2021   Journal: Educational Review
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate and longer-term effects of school closures and ongoing interruptions on children’s learning have been a source of considerable apprehension to many. In an attempt to anticipate and mitigate the effect of school closures, researchers and policymakers have turned to the learning loss literature, research that estimates the effect of summer holidays on academic achievement. However, school closures due to COVID-19 have taken place under very different conditions, making the utility of such a literature debatable. Instead, this study is based on a rapid evidence assessment of research on learning disruption – extended and unplanned periods of school closure following unprecedented events, such as SARs or weather-related events.
Learning in the shadow of a conflict: barriers to education in Syria

AUTHOR(S)
Jiwan Said

Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the bleak situation of education in Syria. Recurrent lockdowns and suspension of activities over 2020 and 2021 have limited children’s physical access to school and has worsened the poor economic situation across the country obliging many Syrian families to apply coping mechanisms including removing their children from schools. All of the above has resulted in an estimated 2.5 million children aged 5-17 years – one-third of the school-age population – are out of school. They are unable to exercise their basic right to education as laid out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). A further 1.6 million school-age children are at risk of being denied this right. These astonishing numbers indicate that a generation is growing up deprived of school in Syria. Those children are also more likely to suffer further violations, including falling victim to violence, child marriage, and engagement in worst form of child labour.

Covid one year on: why children are still out of school
Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2021

A snapshot survey carried out by Save the Children in 6 countries where schools have reopened, suggests that 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, significant numbers of the most vulnerable children are still out of school. This is not because of fear of the virus, but a result of child labour, child marriage, financial hardship, relocation and other consequences of the pandemic - and girls are particularly at risk. These briefs summarise the “out-of-school” context in these 6 countries – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Somalia, and Uganda.

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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.