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Akito Kamei


Akito joined the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in March 2020. He focuses primarily on conducting education research on the Akelius programme. Prior to joining UNICEF, Office of Research, Akito gained field experiences working on a randomized control trial program in Uganda and disseminating academic knowledge to policymakers in Nepal through policy briefs. He also worked at the Inter-American Development Bank to evaluate a large-scale government early childhood development program in Nicaragua. With the World Bank, he conducted research on urban poverty and labor market outcomes in Ethiopia. He holds a Master of Economics from the University of Tokyo and is currently completing his Ph.D. degree in Applied Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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This research brief is one of a series that explores the impact of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on the potential parental role in learning and its association with foundational reading and numeracy skills. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In low-income countries, the learning crisis is even more acute, with the ‘learning poverty’ rate reaching 90 per cent. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 191 countries have implemented countrywide school closures, affecting 1.6 billion learners worldwide. In India alone, 320 million students from pre-primary to tertiary level are affected by school closures. In sub-Saharan Africa, 240 million are affected. With children currently not able to study in classrooms, the importance of learning at home is amplified and the task of supporting children’s learning has fallen on parents at a much larger rate. This is a significant burden, particularly for those who are also teleworking and those with limited schooling themselves.


Mathieu Brossard; Manuel Cardoso; Akito Kamei; Sakshi Mishra; Suguru Mizunoya; Nicolas Reuge

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.


Thomas Dreesen; Spogmai Akseer; Mathieu Brossard; Pragya Dewan; Juan-Pablo Giraldo; Akito Kamei; Suguru Mizunoya; Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa


Can we count on parents to help their children learn at home? (18 May 2020)

This blog shows the disparities across and within countries in children’s reading skills and looks at the associations between parenta ...

Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right  (18 May 2020)

The massive scale of school closures has laid bare the uneven distribution of technology to facilitate remote learning and the lack of ...



Adding to global knowledge on what improves school settings and how children experience education systems.