A Methodological Review for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research: Insights from Positive Deviance, Behavioural Sciences, Implementation Research and Scaling Science

A Methodological Review for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research: Insights from Positive Deviance, Behavioural Sciences, Implementation Research and Scaling Science

AUTHOR(S)
Lorena Levano Gavidia; Cirenia Chavez; Alvaro Fortin; Luca Maria Pesando; Renaud Comba

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

The pandemic has aggravated a learning crisis and put global goals in jeopardy. And yet, even in the most challenging educational contexts, some schools outperform others located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Why do these exceptional schools, known as ‘positive deviant’ schools, achieve improved outcomes in learning, retention, equity and gender equality?

Data Must Speak (DMS) – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. DMS’s research component is co-created with ministries of education. It relies on mixed methods to generate knowledge, alongside practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how to’ scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.

The research utilizes innovative and complementary approaches of positive deviance, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science to identify and scale up behaviours and practices of ‘positive deviant’ schools. This methodological review presents key definitions, concepts and methodologies of those approaches to guide and inform the development and implementation of the DMS research at country level. By drawing on existing examples from research on education and other fields, this review also offers best practices and lessons learned from those approaches that can be used as a common reference and standard language for future application.

The DMS research is currently active in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia. It is co-financed by the Jacobs Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, KIX (IDRC/GPE), NORAD, Schools2030, and internal UNICEF resources.

 

Let Us Learn: Making education work for the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

Let Us Learn: Making education work for the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Learning remains largely out of reach for many of the most vulnerable children around the world. In low- and middle-income countries, an estimated 56% of children cannot read a simple text by the age of 10. This share is projected to rise to 70% after the pandemic. The school closures imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with an enduring tendency in low-income countries to allocate a limited share of the national education budget to the most vulnerable, are further widening inequalities in the global learning crisis landscape.

The Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative implements innovative education programmes to improve learning for the most vulnerable children in five countries with high levels of out-of-school children: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal. This report documents the outcomes, lessons learned and recommendations based on the experience of the initiative across four types of learning programmes spanning the education lifecycle: (1) pre-primary education; (2) accelerated learning pathways; (3) programmes to reduce barriers to access and stay in formal school; and (4) vocational training.

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

The widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the learning crisis for children living in Eastern and Southern Africa. The crisis has also shown the great need to develop resilient education systems that can provide learning when schools are forced to close. Understanding how to provide remote learning equitably utilizing multiple modalities and emphasizing low-tech solutions in Eastern and Southern Africa is critical given the great challenges facing the region in terms of electricity and connectivity access. This report provides a summary of lessons learned in the East and Southern Africa region from remote learning during COVID-19 and provides concrete recommendations on how to increase the resilience of education systems.

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

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

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

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.

Disrupting Harm in The Philippines: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Disrupting Harm in The Philippines: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, through its Safe Online initiative, ECPAT, INTERPOL, and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti worked in partnership to design and implement Disrupting Harm – a research project on online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). This unique partnership brings a multidisciplinary approach to a complex issue in order to see all sides of the problem. OCSEA refers to situations that involve digital or communication technologies at some point during the continuum of abuse or exploitation; it can occur fully online or through a mix of online and in-person interactions between offenders and children. The Disrupting Harm research was conducted in six Southeast Asian countries, including The Philippines and seven Eastern and Southern African countries. Data were synthesised from nine different research activities to generate each national report which tells the story of the threat, and presents clear recommendations for action.

Key findings in the Disrupting Harm in The Philippines report include:

  • ●  55% of children surveyed did not know how to report harmful content on social media.
  • ●  44% said they did not know where to get help if they or a friend were subjected to sexual harassment or abuse.
  • ●  13% of children surveyed said they had had sexual images of them shared without their permission within the last year. 36% did not know who had shared the images. 31% of children who had their sexual images shared without their permission did not tell anyone.
  • ●  13% of children surveyed had been threatened or blackmailed to engage in sexual activities within the past year. None of these children reported what happened to any formal reporting mechanisms though over half of those children did disclose to friends or caregivers.

For more information, visit the Disrupting Harm The Philippines country report page.

 

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

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

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

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.

Where are we on Education Recovery? Taking the Global Pulse of a RAPID Response

Where are we on Education Recovery? Taking the Global Pulse of a RAPID Response

AUTHOR(S)
Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi; Robert Jenkins; Pragya Dewan; Nicolas Reuge; Haogen Yao; Anna Alejo; Aisling Falconer; Borhene Chakroun; Gwang-Chol Chang; João Pedro Azevedo; Alonso Sánchez; Stefania Giannini; Mathieu Brossard; Thomas Dreesen; Jessica Bergmann

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report
Two years into the COVID-19 global pandemic, education has been seriously disrupted. In response to this crisis, the global priority remains to ensure every child is supported so they can return to school and catch up on lost learning.

Recognizing the need to accelerate education recovery with urgent, at-scale action, this joint report by UNICEF in partnership with UNESCO and the World Bank highlights staggering levels of learning loss globally and takes stock of the measures being taken by countries to mitigate learning losses as schools reopen. Based on a survey of 122 UNICEF country and fundraising offices administered in early March 2022, the report presents the importance of and progress made in five key actions for education recovery, the RAPID:

Reach every child and retain them in school;

Assess learning levels;

Prioritize teaching the fundamentals;

Increase catch-up learning and progress beyond what was lost; and

Develop psychosocial health and well-being so every child is ready to learn.
Cite this publication | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education
Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis

Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis

AUTHOR(S)
Vidhya Ganesh; Robert Jenkins; Mark Hereward; Yanhong Zhang; Suguru Mizunoya; Peggy Kelly; Diogo Amaro; Sakshi Mishra; Garen Avanesian; Yixin Wang; Michelle Kaffenberger; Jason Silberstein; Silvia Beatriz Montoya; Mathieu Brossard

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were serious questions about whether children were actually learning. With widespread school closures and other disruptions to the education system brought about by the pandemic, the learning crisis has escalated to new heights. As the pandemic enters its third year, 23 countries – home to around 405 million schoolchildren – are yet to fully open schools, with many schoolchildren at risk of dropping out. Over the past two years nearly 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person schooling, amounting to 2 trillion hours of lost learning. Children have to get back to the classroom, but changes are needed to ensure that they really learn, starting with the foundational basics of reading and numeracy. 

This report offers unique insight into the extent of the learning crisis by providing an in-depth picture of which children are most at risk of not acquiring foundational learning skills. The analysis of 32 low- and middle-income countries and territories uses newly released data to examine the equity perspectives of the crisis, exploring learning outcomes among different subgroups of children, with a focus on the most vulnerable. 
Cite this publication | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Education has been a priority for Ghana since its independence, with current expenditures representing double the average for Africa and other developing nations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government aimed to enhance the quality of education and teacher attendance, including improving school infrastructure and providing textbooks and incentive packages to attract more teachers to rural and remote areas. However, the disruption of the pandemic forced school closures and economic consequences, threatening to push millions of vulnerable children out of the education system, widen inequalities and impede progress on the country’s development goals. The Ghana Time to Teach research project set out to capture teachers’ voices and provide a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in pre-tertiary schools in the country. Although data collection for this study was completed before the onset of COVID-19, it provides valuable insights into how the national education system can be strengthened to improve teacher motivation, attendance, and time on task. Detailed findings, analysis and policy implications can be found in the report.

Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

AUTHOR(S)
Sophia Kan; Mirwais Fahez; Marco Valenza

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

In Afghanistan, 93% of children cannot read a simple text by the age of 10. Education is not available to everyone, especially for girls and children in remote areas. A form of community-based education, called Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs), can help close the distance barrier and meet the needs of out-of-school children and girls. In May 2021, an assessment of foundational literacy and numeracy skills of ALC students and nearby government school students was conducted. Results show that children at ALCs are learning at similar levels or better compared with children who attend government schools. This report provides insight into practices to improve education in rural areas in Afghanistan. 

Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire

Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Si la Côte d’Ivoire a accompli de grands progrès pour faciliter l’accès à son système éducatif et en améliorer la qualité, d’importantes lacunes subsistent en matière d’apprentissage et de réussite des élèves. On estime que huit enfants sur dix en Côte d’Ivoire ne maîtrisent pas la lecture à l’âge de 10 ans et disposent de compétences insuffisantes en mathématiques à la sortie du primaire. Les données probantes existantes suggèrent que l'absentéisme des enseignants serait responsable de la perte d'environ 25 pour cent du temps d'enseignement dans les écoles primaires du pays. Si l’on tient compte de l’absentéisme des élèves et des retards dans le calendrier scolaire, la perte moyenne s’élève à deux mois par année scolaire. La présente étude « Time to Teach » vise à contribuer à une meilleure compréhension de l’assiduité des enseignants dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire. Pour ce faire, l’étude adopte un concept large de l’absentéisme des enseignants, qui comprend :  l’absence de l’école, le manque de ponctualité, l’absence de la salle de classe et la réduction du temps d’enseignement.

Disrupting Harm in Thailand: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Disrupting Harm in Thailand: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, through its Safe Online initiative, ECPAT, INTERPOL, and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti worked in partnership to design and implement Disrupting Harm – a research project on online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). This unique partnership brings a multidisciplinary approach to a complex issue in order to see all sides of the problem. OCSEA refers to situations that involve digital or communication technologies at some point during the continuum of abuse or exploitation; it can occur fully online or through a mix of online and in-person interactions between offenders and children. The Disrupting Harm research was conducted in six Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, and seven Eastern and Southern African countries. Data were synthesised from nine different research activities to generate each national report which tells the story of the threat, and presents clear recommendations for action.

Key findings in the Disrupting Harm in Thailand report include:

● Children and caregivers are not reporting online sexual abuse.

○ Between 10% - 31% of children (aged 12-17) who had experienced online sexual exploitation and abuse in the past year did not disclose the most recent incident to anyone.

○ Only 17% of caregivers surveyed said they would report to the police if their child experienced sexual harassment, abuse, or exploitation online.

● Children are being subjected to horrific experiences of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Why aren’t they reporting it? The main barriers to disclosure reported by children were a lack of awareness around where to go or whom to tell.

○ 47% of children surveyed said they would not know where to get help if they or a friend were sexually assaulted or harassed.

● What are the experiences of those who are reporting? Experiences leave some children feeling ashamed, blamed, and silenced.

For more information, visit the Disrupting Harm Thailand country report page.

Download the advocacy brief.

 

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