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Thomas Dreesen

Education Manager

Thomas is an Education Manager at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, with specific focus on implementation research in the Innovation in Education, Let Us Learn, and Sports for Development research programmes. Prior to his current role, he worked on the education team at UNICEF Headquarters where he supported multiple country offices and implementing partners to improve M&E systems and develop evidence to inform education programmes. Before UNICEF, Thomas worked in India as a Research Manager for Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Harvard Kennedy School and as Senior Research Associate for the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia. Thomas was also previously a visiting researcher at the Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Thomas holds an M.S. in International and Development Economics from the University of San Francisco, and a B.A. in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University.

Publications

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal
Publication Publication

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

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.
La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana
Publication Publication

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.
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

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 future. *** 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.
Unlocking Learning: The co-creation and effectiveness of a digital language learning course for refugees and migrants in Greece
Publication Publication

Unlocking Learning: The co-creation and effectiveness of a digital language learning course for refugees and migrants in Greece

Blogs

How are sport for development organizations keeping children healthy during COVID-19?
Blog Blog

How are sport for development organizations keeping children healthy during COVID-19?

This blog explores how Sport for Development (S4D) organisations have responded and adapted their programming to support children during the COVID-19 crisis. S4D organisations use sport as a tool to catalyse positive change in the lives of children, youth and the communities they live in. Interviews with S4D organizations, conducted as part of the ongoing research commissioned by the Barça Foundation and UNICEF partnership, revealed that organizations are innovating to adapt to the current crisis through three key interconnected practices:
Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right 
Blog Blog

Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right 

The massive scale of school closures has laid bare the uneven distribution of technology to facilitate remote learning and the lack of preparedness of systems to support teachers, and caregivers in the successful and safe use of technology for learning.
Can broadcast media foster equitable learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Blog Blog

Can broadcast media foster equitable learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

This post is the second in a series of articles focused on helping children continue to learn at home during the COVID-19 global pandemic, emphasizing the need for multiple remote learning platforms to meet the needs of all students.

Journal articles

Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and Country responses for mitigating learning loss
Journal Article Journal Article

Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and Country responses for mitigating learning loss

Events

How to apply Smart Buy's evidence in country education investment decisions
Event Event

How to apply Smart Buy's evidence in country education investment decisions

23 July 2021 - Lessons on the implementation and contextualization of Smart Buys evidence at country level by the Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP).

Podcasts

COVID-19 and Education for Children: Lessons Learned
Podcast Podcast

COVID-19 and Education for Children: Lessons Learned