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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

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

COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
Publication Publication

COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss

While remote learning measures are essential for mitigating the short-term and long-term consequences of COVID-19 school closures, little is known about their impact on and effectiveness for learning. This working paper contributes to filling this gap by: 1. exploring how disrupted schooling may affect foundational learning skills, using data from MICS6 (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys - round 6) in 2017–2019; 2. examining how countries are delivering and monitoring remote learning based on data from the UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank’s National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures survey; and 3. presenting promising key practices for the effective delivery and monitoring of remote learning.
Promising Practices for Equitable Remote Learning. Emerging lessons from COVID-19 education responses in 127 countries
Publication Publication

Promising Practices for Equitable Remote Learning. Emerging lessons from COVID-19 education responses in 127 countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on societies, globally. To help contain the spread of the disease, schools around the world have closed, affecting 1.6 billion learners – approximately 91 per cent of the world’s enrolled students. Governments and education stakeholders have responded swiftly to continue children’s learning, using various delivery channels including digital tools, TV/radio-based teaching and take-home packages for parent or carer-guided education. However, the massive scale of school closures has laid bare the uneven distribution of the technology needed to facilitate remote learning. It has also highlighted the lack of preparedness and low resilience of systems to support teachers, facilitators and parents/caregivers in the successful and safe use of technology for learning. Using data on access to technology from household surveys (MICS and DHS) and information on national education responses to school closures gathered from UNICEF education staff in over 120 countries, this brief explores potential promising practices for equitable remote learning.

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.

Podcasts

COVID-19 and Education for Children: Lessons Learned