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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.
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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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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
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
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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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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

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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