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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.
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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion
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Beyond Masks: A Policy Panel Discussion

UNICEF Innocenti’s new report – Beyond Masks: Societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents – offers a comprehensive picture of the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, and its implications for children and adolescents. The report examines evidence from the current crisis, examines past health crises such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola to provide insights into the current one, and proposes proven and promising solutions.
Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence
Blog Blog

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence

Although much of the world is focused on the “silver lining” that COVID-19 does not appear to severely impact children’s health, UNICEF is raising the alarm about the potential damage of the hidden impacts on children’s health as well as the indirect socio-economic effects of the fallout from the pandemic. In response, UNICEF Innocenti is generating evidence to assist and inform UNICEF’s COVID-19 work. This blog is about a research conducted by UNICEF on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection, including topics such as violence against children, child labour and child marriage.
COVID-19 & Children
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COVID-19 & Children

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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

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.

School-Related Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Building an evidence base for stronger schools
School-Related Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Building an evidence base for stronger schools
Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

The prevalence of school-related violence and, in particular, bullying is not a new or isolated phenomenon, nor is it limited to certain schools or countries. Abundant evidence indicates that bullying is widespread and has a negative impact on educational outcomes. Children who are victims of bullying can also be affected emotionally and physically in both the short and long terms. Evidence from low- and middle-income countries on bullying is less extensive when compared to the evidence available on predictors and effects of bullying from high-income countries. However, some findings for the Latin American and Caribbean region seem to suggest a similar picture, with a high prevalence of bullying victimization and association to lower reading scores in different subjects tested. 

This working paper first uses data from UNESCO’s Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study for nationally representative samples of sixth grade students to determine the prevalence of bullying and its association to learning outcomes in 15 countries of the LAC region. It then looks at interventions to mitigate the impacts of violence.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 68 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education, latin america
Social Protection and Its Effects on Gender Equality: A literature review
Social Protection and Its Effects on Gender Equality: A literature review

AUTHOR(S)
Elena Camilletti

Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

Globally, progress has been made in the fight against both poverty and gender inequality, including through the expansion of social protection programmes. Yet significant gaps remain. Many women and girls remain in poverty and often face different structural constraints and risks across their life course, related to their biological sex as well as entrenched gender norms that discriminate against them in many aspects of their lives. As poverty, risks and vulnerabilities – which social protection aims to minimize, reduce or tackle – are gendered, if the root causes of gender inequality are not investigated in evidence generation and addressed in policy and practice, poverty will not be sustainably eradicated, nor gender equality achieved.

This paper provides an overview of the latest evidence on the effects of social protection on gender equality. It starts by considering how risks and vulnerabilities are gendered, and the implications of their gendered nature for boys’ and girls’, and men’s and women’s well-being throughout the life course. It then reviews and discusses the evidence on the design features of four types of social protection programmes – non-contributory programmes, contributory programmes, labour market programmes, and social care services – and their effects on gender equality, unpacking which design features matter the most to achieve gender equality. Finally, the paper concludes with implications for a future research agenda on gender and social protection.

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education
COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines the remote learning options that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights trends, gaps and emerging good practices that are supported by existing evidence.
Encryption, Privacy and Children’s Right to Protection from Harm
Encryption, Privacy and Children’s Right to Protection from Harm
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

This working paper provides a short overview of the challenges and opportunities related to child protection and the use of encryption technology. While it does not constitute the UNICEF organizational position on the topic, it is meant to inform UNICEF on the issue and to reach and engage professionals, including nonexperts, within and between the child rights and privacy rights sectors.

This paper will provide an overview of the debate around encryption and its possible impact on children’s right to protection from harm. It also reflects on the pros and cons of some proposed solutions.

How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
Shocks can pressure families into negative coping strategies with significant drawbacks for children’s lives and development, particularly for children living in disadvantaged households who are at greater risk of falling into a poverty trap. This paper investigates if unconditional cash transfers can be effective in protecting children against unexpected negative life events. Using two waves of data, we found that the Lesotho Child Grant Programme reduced the incidence and intensity of multidimensional deprivation for children living in labour-constrained female-headed households that experienced negative economic or demographic shocks. Programme design in shock-prone contexts should seek to reinforce and widen the protective effect of the cash transfer for the most vulnerable.
The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People
The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
The initial impression that paediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon and generally mild has been replaced by a more nuanced understanding of infectious manifestations in children and adolescents across low-, middle-, and high-income countries and by demographic structure, with recognition of a widening disease spectrum. Critical knowledge gaps, especially in low- and middle-income countries remain, that have significant public policy and programme implications. Insufficient data disaggregated by age, geography and race/ethnicity are hindering efforts to fully assess prevalence of infection and disease in children and adolescents and their role in transmission. Potential biologic differences in susceptibility to infection and between children and adults need to be assessed. Determination of mother-to-child SARS-CoV-2 transmission during pregnancy or peripartum requires appropriate samples obtained with proper timing, lacking in most studies. Finally, predictors of disease progression, morbidity and mortality in children need to be determined particularly as the pandemic moves to low- and middle-income countries, where poor nutritional and health conditions and other vulnerabilities are more frequent among children than in higher-income settings. Countries, UN agencies, public health communities, donors and academia need to coordinate the efforts and work collectively to close the data and knowledge gaps in all countries (high-, middle- and low-income) for better evidence to guide policy and programme decision-making for children and COVID-19 disease.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 62 | Thematic area: Health
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper summarizes the recent UNICEF analysis on investing in early childhood education in developing countries. It provides a benefit-cost analysis of investments in pre-primary education in 109 developing low- and middle-income countries and territories, using data from 2008 to 2019.
COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

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.

Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection: A conceptual framework
Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection: A conceptual framework
Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers

There is significant potential for social protection systems (including policies, programmes and institutions) to promote gender equality and transformative change as a core pre-condition for long-term and sustainable poverty reduction. There is also the potential of poverty reduction to promote long-term and sustained gender equality and transformative change. Recognising this, the Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection (GRASSP) research programme, led by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti (hereafter UNICEF Innocenti) seeks to strengthen the gender-responsiveness of social protection systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and support shifts long-term towards gender-transformational social protection work, by building a robust evidence base focused on ‘what works’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ to contribute to enhanced gender equality outcomes across the life course.

This working paper provides a concise narrative behind the graphic representation of the GRASSP conceptual framework. The framework delineates the conceptual linkages between gender (including gender risks, vulnerabilities, discrimination and inequalities, multidimensional deprivations affecting women and girls), and social protection. It proposes a systematic, holistic and integrated approach for conceptualising the intersections between gender and social protection, to achieve SDG1 (‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’) and SDG5 (‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’)1 through careful planning, design, implementation and evaluation of a gender-responsive social protection system.

The GRASSP conceptual framework builds on and expands existing conceptual and theoretical efforts focused on integrating a gender lens into public policy (see for instance Holmes and Jones 2013, GAGE Consortium 2017). Building on these earlier efforts, the GRASSP conceptual framework brings together several integrated aspects related to gender, social protection, and the life course.

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Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda
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Time to Teach: Combating Teacher Absenteeism in Rwanda

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps
Journal Article Journal Article

The evolving picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children: critical knowledge gaps

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