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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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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.

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
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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.