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Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa

Consultant (Former title)

Javier Santiago joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in March 2020. He has worked for International Organizations since 2013. He has worked for UNESCO, UNDP and the World Bank in projects concerning property crime trends, the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of conditional cash transfers, the impact of industrial policies for the automotive policies and the evaluation of the policing initiatives in cities to improve education outcomes. More recently, he has been a policy specialist consultant for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) helping partner countries to develop their education sector analyses (ESA's) and their education sector plans (ESP's). Javier Santiago holds a PhD from the University of California, Riverside (2013) and a M.A. in International and Development Economics from the University of San Francisco (2007). His main fields of professional work are social policies (health and education), access to water and sanitation services, and the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies. When not dealing with data and water or development issues, he can be seen running on the streets.

Publications

Hacia la reapertura de escuelas más resilientes: Lecciones extraídas del aprendizaje a distancia durante la COVID-19 en América Latina y el Caribe
Publication

Hacia la reapertura de escuelas más resilientes: Lecciones extraídas del aprendizaje a distancia durante la COVID-19 en América Latina y el Caribe

La implementación de la educación a distancia en América Latina y el Caribe, producto del cierre de las escuelas debido a la COVID-19, confirmó que la brecha en el acceso a la electricidad y a la tecnología aún es un obstáculo importante para que los gobiernos de la región puedan atender a todos los niños, niñas y adolescentes. El cierre de las escuelas implica el riesgo de ampliar las brechas de aprendizaje existentes, pues las escuelas privadas estaban más preparadas en cuanto al uso de la tecnología para la educación a distancia. Adicionalmente, los niños, niñas y adolescentes de los hogares más favorecidos recibían más apoyo en casa mientras las escuelas estaban cerradas. Conforme los países de la región reabren las escuelas, es vital que los gobiernos incorporen las principales lecciones aprendidas para mejorar la resiliencia y la equidad de sus sistemas educativos. Este informe presenta evidencias sobre el aprendizaje a distancia durante el cierre de las escuelas debido a la COVID-19 en América Latina y el Caribe para orientar a los tomadores de decisiones en la construcción de sistemas educativos más eficaces, sostenibles y resilientes para las crisis actuales y futuras.
Unlocking Learning: The implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Publication

Unlocking Learning: The implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Digital learning has the potential to offer interactive and personalized learning for children, in and out of school, including the most marginalized. However, depending on programme design, delivery, and use, digital learning can also exacerbate learning inequalities. This report presents tangible findings on the implementation and use of digital learning to improve outcomes for marginalized children in Lebanon. This report focuses on the UNICEF-Akelius Foundation Partnership and its implementation of a digital course used on tablets and mobile phones for language learning of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The report provides findings across three areas: First, the report investigates the digital course’s use in a blended learning environment where it was used on tablets by students as part of traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with teachers. Second, the analysis examines the transition to remote learning where the course was used on devices owned by the household, supported by teachers remotely. Third, the report estimates the effectiveness of the use of the digital course during this period of remote learning from August–November 2020 showing positive results for language and art competencies.
Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – Latin America and the Caribbean
Publication

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – Latin America and the Caribbean

The implementation of remote learning in Latin America and the Caribbean during the COVID-19 school closures confirmed that the divide in access to electricity and technology remained a major hurdle for governments across the region to serve all children. School closures risk widening existing learning gaps as private schools were more prepared to use technology for remote learning and children from wealthier households received more support at home while schools were closed. As countries in the region reopen their schools, it is vital that governments incorporate key lessons learned to improve the resilience and equity of the education systems. This report presents evidence on remote learning during the COVID-19 school closures in Latin America and the Caribbean to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable and resilient education systems for current and future crises.
COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Publication

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.

Blogs

Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right 
Blog

Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right 

This blogpost summarizes recommendations for policy makers and explores 3 good practices for equitable remote learning, based on recent research conducted using data on education responses to COVID-19 from UNICEF staff in 127 countries.To help contain the spread COVID-19, schools have closed around the world, at its peak putting  approximately 1.6 billion or 91% of the world’s enrolled students out of school (UNESCO). Governments and education stakeholders have responded swiftly implementing remote learning, using various delivery channels, including digital tools, TV/radio-based teaching, and take-home packages. 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. Key recommendations to education policy makers for COVID-19 and beyond:Education systems need a ‘Plan B’ for safe and effective learning delivery when schools are closed. Producing accessible digital and media resources based on the curriculum will not only allow a quicker response, but their use in ordinary times can enrich learning opportunities for children in and out of school.Infrastructure investment in remote and rural areas to reach marginalized children should be a priority. Initiatives like Generation Unlimited and GIGA, can democratize access to technology and connectivity, increasing options for remote learning delivery and speeding up response during school closures.Teacher training should change to include management of remote ‘virtual’ classrooms, improving presentation techniques, tailoring follow-up sessions with caregivers and effective blending of technology into lessons.Further applied research for learning and sharing what works is more important than ever. Increased focus on implementation research is needed to develop practical ways to improve teacher training, content production, parental engagement, and to leverage the use of technologies at scale.Practices for more equitable remote learningGiven the digital divide use multiple delivery channelsLarge inequities exist in access to internet around the world as illustrated by figure 1 below.  Governments are increasing access to digital content for children where possible, by negotiating to not charge data costs for education content (Rwanda, South Africa, Jordan). Even with initiatives to increase access in the short-term, digital channels are not enough to reach all children, especially the most disadvantaged as explored in Remote Learning Amid a Pandemic: Insights from MICS6.   To expand their reach, 68% countries are utilizing some combination of digital and non-digital (TV, Radio, and take-home packages) in their education responses. TV is being used by 75% of countries, including making TV lessons accessible for children with hearing impairments with sign language (Morocco, Uzbekistan).  Radio is also a widely used tool, 58% of countries report using it to deliver audio content. However, digital, tv and radio delivery channels all require electricity.  Simple (unweighted) average of the 28 countries with data by income level, shows that only 65% of households from the poorest quintile have electricity, compared to 98% of households from the wealthiest quintile. In seven countries (Côte d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Kiribati, Sudan, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania) less than 10% of the poorest households have electricity. To address this challenge, 49% of countries are also using “take home” packages for learners. In Jordan, refugee children are receiving learning packages and in Jamaica learn and play kits are delivered to children in quarantined zones.  Parental engagement is critically important for learning and should not be overlooked as explored in the recent research brief on parental Engagement in Children’s Learning – Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19 Figure 3. Below shows the wide disparity in Radio ownership across 88 countries, while figure 4 illustrates the urban rural gap in TV ownership within countries. Strengthen support to the teachers, facilitators and parents delivering remote learningAccess to content is only the first step in remote learning. Countries are supporting caregivers who have been thrust into teaching at home, with tutoring materials, webinars/helplines to answer their questions (North Macedonia, Uruguay). Countries are engaging with caregivers, to not only support learning but to, provide psychosocial support to children (Bhutan, Cameroon, Ecuador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Oman, India), provide tips for children’s online safety (North Macedonia, Serbia) and engage with families to allow girls to continue learning remotely rather than increasing their household duties (Ghana). Gather feedback and strengthen monitoring of reach and qualityCountries have engaged in a variety of measures to collect feedback, and to understand the usage and effectiveness of different delivery channels. Monitoring of reach and quality for remote learning remains a challenge for many countries.  While there is great need to understand how COVID-19 has impacted children, education actors must take care to ensure that any data collection exercise from children follows ethical considerations and, first and foremost does no harm (Berman, 2020). Several countries are using simple tools (SMS in Tanzania, Chatbots in Mongolia) to gather feedback from parents to improve remote learning.  Serbia, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have incorporated assessment tools within digital platforms. Thomas Dreesen  is an Education Manager at UNICEF’s Office of Research (OoR), Mathieu Brossard is the Chief of Education at UNICEF OoR- Innocenti. Spogmai Akseer, Akito Kamei and Javier Santiago Ortiz are education research consultants at UNICEF OoR- Innocenti, Pragya Dewan is a consultant in the education section of UNICEF’s programme division, Juan-Pablo Giraldo is an education specialist in UNICEF’s Programme division, and Suguru Mizunoya is a Senior Advisor in statistics and monitoring with UNICEF’s Data and Analytics team.