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Best of UNICEF Research 2021
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Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

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.
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Best of UNICEF Research 2021
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
Published: 2021 Miscellanea

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme  recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. 

This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to health care? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.

Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery
Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Education systems in South Asia are complex and fragmented. Despite high engagement and involvement of Non-State Actors (NSA) in education, there is a lack of comprehensive policy to govern them. Achieving better learning outcomes for children in South Asia requires understanding the wide variety of NSA providers and unpacking how these different actors engage with and influence education provision. Through a meta-analysis of existing evidence, this report presents findings on learning outcomes in public and non-state schools and the implications on quality, equity and safety of education delivery in the region. It also uncovers critical gaps in evidence that need to be addressed to show what is really working, for whom, where and at what cost.


Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

L'absentéisme des enseignants est un défi particulier qui affecte les progrès éducatifs et l'apprentissage des enfants en Guinée. Des études antérieures suggèrent que 15 pour cent des élèves considèrent l'absentéisme des enseignants comme l'une des principales raisons de leur insatisfaction à l'égard de l'école. Bien que le défi de l'absentéisme soit reconnu par les acteurs politiques nationaux, les études sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui influencent l’assiduité des enseignants en Guinée restent rares. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu'exacerber les défis existants. L'étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler ce manque de connaissances et à renforcer la base de preuves sur les différents types d'assiduité des enseignants du primaire et les facteurs qui y contribuent.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 50 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: primary education, primary schools, teachers
Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa
Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Countries in West and Central Africa strived to implement national responses to continue learning activities during school closures. These responses relied on a mix of channels, including online platforms, broadcast media, mobile phones and printed learning packs. Several barriers, however, still prevented many children and adolescents in the region from taking advantage of these opportunities, resulting in learning loss in a region where almost 50 per cent of children do not achieve minimum reading skills at the end of the primary cycle. This report builds on existing evidence to highlight key lessons learned in continuing education for all at times of mass school closures and provides actionable recommendations to build resilience into national education systems in view of potential future crises. 

Brief: Predictive Analytics for Children: An assessment of ethical considerations, risks, and benefits
Brief: Predictive Analytics for Children: An assessment of ethical considerations, risks, and benefits
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs
This brief examines the potential ethical issues, including benefits and risks, associated with predictive analytics as they pertain to children. 
It is based on a more in-depth working paper, UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper 2021-08, which provides further detail, guidance, and tools.
Predictive Analytics for Children: An assessment of ethical considerations, risks, and benefits
Predictive Analytics for Children: An assessment of ethical considerations, risks, and benefits
Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines potential ethical issues, including benefits and risks, associated with predictive analytics as they pertain to children. It is designed to support readers in gaining an overview of the current state of the field, knowledge of real-world deployments of predictive analytics and ultimately, a deeper understanding of the opportunities and potential harms of deploying predictive analytics that directly or indirectly target children.
Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia
Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

In Liberia, recurring school absenteeism and post abandonment are considered critical obstacles to quality education. Although national political actors recognize absenteeism as a major impediment to quality education, studies on the factors influencing teacher attendance in the country, including national policies and practices at the community and school levels, remain scarce. Also, there is a lack of knowledge on the direct and indirect ways the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it impact primary school teachers. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill these knowledge gaps.

The report provides valuable insights into how the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate existing education system challenges that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also collects and strengthens the evidence base on the factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies. 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education, liberia, primary schools, schools, teachers
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole.

La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca.


Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had taken measures to improve the quality of education and of teachers’ working conditions such as by improving school infrastructure and accelerating teacher training programs, and providing incentive schemes for teachers. While education is free and compulsory, Nigeria reports the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of school closures, and the shift towards remote learning are anticipated to pose further constraints and push even more vulnerable children out of the education system. Teacher absenteeism and the poor use of instructional time are also significant problems for the Nigerian education system, negatively affect students’ academic performance and learning. This Time to Teach study seeks to support both federal and state governments by providing a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in the country’s primary schools. It also aims to provide insights into how attendance challenges may be similar or different across the types of schools (public/Quranic/private) and settings (urban/rural) and more importantly, how these can inform teacher policy design and implementation. Though data were collected prior to COVID-19 school closures, this study also aims to provide insights on how the pandemic may further exacerbate existing challenges. 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 68 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education, nigeria, primary schools, teachers
Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data
Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data

AUTHOR(S)
Alessandro Carraro

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Does governments’ social spending reduce infant mortality? If so, what are the causal mechanisms behind this effect? Using evidence from 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (1990 to 2017), this paper examines various influences – including decreased income inequality and dependence on natural resources – to determine if and how increased public expenditure in the social sector is causally linked with reduced infant mortality.

Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Togo
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Togo
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

L'absentéisme des enseignants est un défi particulier affectant la qualité de l'éducation au Togo. Des études précédentes suggèrent qu'une fois dans la salle de classe, les enseignants n'enseignaient que 79 pour cent du temps, ce qui signifie que près d'un cinquième du temps était consacré à d'autres activités. Cette réduction du temps d'enseignement était exacerbée par l'absentéisme des enseignants. Bien que le défi de l’absentéisme soit reconnu par les acteurs politiques nationaux, les études sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui influencent l’assiduité des enseignants et enseignantes au Togo restent rares. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu’aggraver les défis existants au sein du système éducatif togolais. L’étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler ce manque de connaissances et à renforcer la base de données factuelles sur les différents types d’assiduité des enseignants du primaire, et les facteurs qui y contribuent.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 47 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: primary schools, teachers
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Côte d’Ivoire has made great strides in improving access and quality in its education system, but significant gaps in student learning and achievement remain. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 Ivorian children are not proficient in reading by the age of 10, and do not have enough math skills at the end of primary school. In Côte d’Ivoire, teacher absenteeism is estimated to responsible for the loss of approximately 25 per cent of teaching time. In the specific case of primary education, it is estimated that teacher absenteeism and other calendar delays are responsible for the loss of two months of courses per year on average. This Time to Teach study seeks to contribute to a better understanding of teacher attendance in Côte d’Ivoire’s primary schools. The study adapts a broad concept of teacher absenteeism which includes: absence from school, lack of teacher punctuality, absence from the classroom and reduction in the time dedicated to teaching. 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education, primary education, primary schools, teachers
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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.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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