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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
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Global Climate Change and Child Health: A review of pathways, impacts and measures to improve the evidence base
Global Climate Change and Child Health: A review of pathways, impacts and measures to improve the evidence base

AUTHOR(S)
David Parker; Yoko Akachi; Donna Goodman

Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper reviews the published evidence of pathways and impacts of global climate change on child health. The review was occasioned by the recognition that most of the work to date on climate change and health lacks clear focus on the children's dimension, while the climate change and children literature tends to be brief or imprecise on the complex health aspects.
Studies were identified by searching the PubMed database for articles published before April 2009. Publications by agencies (e.g., UNICEF, WHO, IPPC) were also included based upon review. A list of references was developed that provide evidence to the linkages between climate change and health outcomes, and on specific health outcomes for children. The analysis explores the hypothesis of disproportionate vulnerability of children’s health to environmental factors, specifically those most closely related to climate change.
Based upon scientific and policy research conducted to date there is found to be substantial evidence of disproportionate vulnerability of children in response to climate change. The diseases likely to be potentiated by climate change are already the primary causes of child morbidity and mortality, including vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases and air-borne diseases. For this reason further research, assessment and monitoring of child health in respect to climate change is critical. Proposals are made for governments to integrate environmental health indicators into data collection in order to accurately assess the state of child health in relation to other age groups and its sensitivity to climate change.
Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature
Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature

AUTHOR(S)
Gerry Redmond

Published: 2008 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper reviews some of the recent qualitative literature on children's perspectives on economic disadvantage. The idea of asking people who experience disadvantage about their own situations is still a relatively new one in the social sciences, and the idea of asking children about their own perceptions of economic and social disadvantage is even more recent. Nine analyses, all published since 1998, and all of them involving in-depth interviews or group work with children aged between 5 and 17, are examined in detail. Most of these studies develop frameworks based on the 'new sociology of childhood', which emphasises the social construction of childhood and children's agency in the context of child-adult relations. The nine studies cover a number of issues related to economic disadvantage, including exclusion from activities and peer groups at school and in the community; perceptions of 'poor' and 'affluent' children; participation in organized activities outside of school hours; methods of coping with financial hardship; support for parents in coping and in seeking and keeping employment, and aspirations for future careers and lives.
Independent Children, Inconsistent Adults: International child migration and the legal framework
Independent Children, Inconsistent Adults: International child migration and the legal framework

AUTHOR(S)
Jacqueline Bhabha

Published: 2008 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Like adults, children migrate across borders for different reasons and in varying circumstances; and they face legal consequences as a result of their migration. Two of these consequences are common to all child migrants and have far-reaching implications: the child migrants become non-citizens or aliens once they cross a border, and they face a new social environment once they leave home. The existing legal framework does not directly address either of these consequences. Domestic child protection law, which addresses the problems facing children without satisfactory homes, does not often cover issues of foreign citizenship, including the risk of deportation and lack of entitlement to social benefits that non-citizen children can face. And migration law, which establishes the parameters of lawful status for recognized categories of migrant, does not deal with the needs and circumstances of most children who travel independently of their families. However, international law has long recognized the distinctive needs of some groups of child migrants. In the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, the first ever international child rights declaration, two of the five principles articulated define rights relevant to child migrants: (1) the primacy of the child’s right to relief in times of distress (a precursor to attention to the special needs of refugee children) and (2) the imperative of protection for exploited children (prefiguring concern with child trafficking). More recent regional and domestic legislation regulating immigration has included provisions promoting family unity and by implication the migration of children with or to join their adult relatives. A broader engagement with the many other aspects of child migration however has been absent. There is no single piece of international or regional legislation that systematically and comprehensively addresses the issue. As a result the body of relevant legislation, though quite extensive and diverse, has an impact on child migrants which is inconsistent and incomplete.
The Transition Generation: Young people in school and work in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
The Transition Generation: Young people in school and work in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

AUTHOR(S)
Sheila Marnie; Leonardo Menchini

Published: 2007 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper focuses on the transition from school to labour market for the generation of young people in CEE/CIS who experienced the most turbulent years of the transition in their formative years. Using administrative data on school enrolment, as well as data from labour force surveys, the paper tracks the main trends in education enrollments in primary, lower and upper secondary, showing that the impact of the economic difficulties of the early 1990s was greater in the poorest countries of the region, and was reflected in particular in falling enrollments for the non-compulsory levels of education. The post-1998 period of economic recovery brought with it a marked divergence between upper secondary education enrollments in the Central and Eastern European countries, and the rest of the region. However, data on enrollments give only a partial picture of what happened to the school system during the transition; statistics on attendance and achievements from other data sources suggest that inequality in school access and quality increased both across the region and within countries. Education trends (using indicators measuring both quantity and quality) influence outcomes in the labour market, but can also be influenced by them: labour force surveys’ results show that young people in CEE/CIS face a high risk of unemployment or underemployment. At the same time, in particular in CEE, lack of employment opportunities encourages young people to stay longer in the education system. Mismatches between the outcomes of the education systems and labour market demand, as well as the character of recent economic growth, have resulted in significant imbalances in the labour market.
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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