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Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
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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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An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries
An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Anna Gromada; Gwyther Rees; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2018 Innocenti Report Card
In the world’s richest countries, some children do worse at school than others because of circumstances beyond their control, such as where they were born, the language they speak or their parents’ occupations. These children enter the education system at a disadvantage and can drop further behind if educational policies and practices reinforce, rather than reduce, the gap between them and their peers. These types of inequality are unjust. Not all children have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, to pursue their interests and to develop their talents and skills. This has social and economic costs. This report focuses on educational inequalities in 41 of the world’s richest countries, all of which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and/or the European Union (EU). Using the most recent data available, it examines inequalities across childhood – from access to preschool to expectations of post-secondary education – and explores in depth the relationships between educational inequality and factors such as parents’ occupations, migration background, the child’s gender and school characteristics. 

The key feature of the report is the league table, which summarizes the extent of educational inequalities at preschool, primary school and secondary school levels. The indicator of inequality at the preschool level is the percentage of students enrolled in organized learning one year before the official age of primary school entry. The indicator for both primary school (Grade 4, around age 10) and secondary school (age 15) is the gap in reading scores between the lowest- and highest-performing students.  
Un départ dans la vie marqué par les injustices Inégalités scolaires chez les enfants dans les pays riches
Un départ dans la vie marqué par les injustices Inégalités scolaires chez les enfants dans les pays riches

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2018 Innocenti Report Card

Dans les pays les plus riches, certains enfants connaissent plus de difficultés scolaires que d’autres, liées à des circonstances sur lesquelles ils n'ont aucun contrôle, telles que leur lieu de naissance, leur langue ou la profession de leurs parents. Ils sont pénalisés dès leur entrée dans le système scolaire et se retrouvent encore plus marginalisés si les politiques et les pratiques éducatives, au lieu de résorber cet écart avec leurs pairs, le creusent. Ces inégalités constituent une injustice. Tous les enfants n’ont pas les mêmes possibilités de s’épanouir, de développer leurs centres d’intérêt et de cultiver leurs talents et leurs compétences. Ces disparités ont un coût économique et social. Le présent rapport se penche sur les inégalités scolaires dans 41 pays comptant parmi les plus riches du monde, tous membres de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) et/ou de l’Union européenne (UE). En se fondant sur les données disponibles les plus récentes, les auteurs examinent les inégalités aux différents stades de l’enfance – de l’accès à l’éducation préscolaire aux perspectives d’études supérieures – et analysent en détail les relations entre les inégalités scolaires et des facteurs tels que l’activité des parents, le parcours migratoire, le genre de l’enfant et le profil de l’établissement scolaire.

Le tableau de classement constitue l’élément central de ce rapport : il résume l’étendue des inégalités dans le domaine de l’éducation aux niveaux préscolaire, élémentaire et secondaire. Au niveau préscolaire, l’inégalité est exprimée par le pourcentage d’élèves participant à des activités organisées d’apprentissage un an avant l'âge officiel de scolarisation. Aux niveaux de l’élémentaire (en quatrième année, vers 10 ans) et du secondaire (15 ans), elle se traduit par l’écart entre le score de lecture le plus élevé et le plus bas.

Partire svantaggiati: La disuguaglianza educativa tra i bambini dei paesi ricchi
Partire svantaggiati: La disuguaglianza educativa tra i bambini dei paesi ricchi

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2018 Innocenti Report Card

Nei paesi più ricchi del mondo, alcuni bambini hanno un rendimento scolastico inferiore ad altri a causa di circostanze al di fuori del loro controllo, come il luogo in cui sono nati, la lingua parlata o l'occupazione dei genitori. Al loro ingresso nel sistema scolastico questi bambini partono da una posizione svantaggiata, che può peggiorare ulteriormente se le politiche e le pratiche educative rafforzano, anziché ridurre, il divario esistente con i coetanei. Questi tipi di disuguaglianze sono ingiusti. Non tutti i bambini hanno pari opportunità per raggiungere appieno il loro potenziale, per perseguire i loro interessi e sviluppare i propri talenti e abilità. Tutto questo ha costi sociali ed economici. Il presente rapporto è dedicato alle disuguaglianze nell'ambito educativo in 41 dei paesi più ricchi del mondo, tutti membri dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e/o dell'Unione europea (UE). Utilizzando i dati più recenti disponibili, prende in esame le disuguaglianze durante tutta l'infanzia e adolescenza, dall'accesso alla scuola materna fino alle aspettative durante l'istruzione secondaria superiore, ed esplora in profondità le relazioni esistenti tra disuguaglianza educativa e fattori come occupazione dei genitori, contesto migratorio, genere del bambino e caratteristiche degli istituti scolastici.

L’elemento chiave del rapporto è la classifica riepilogativa, che riassume l'entità delle disuguaglianze educative a livello di scuola dell'infanzia, elementare e secondaria. L'indicatore di disuguaglianza a livello prescolare è la percentuale di bambini iscritti a programmi di apprendimento organizzato un anno prima dell'età ufficiale d'ingresso alla scuola primaria. Per la scuola sia primaria (quarta elementare, 10 anni circa) sia secondaria (15 anni) è invece il divario nei punteggi relativi alla lettura tra gli studenti con il rendimento più basso e quelli con il rendimento più elevato.

Un comienzo injusto: La desigualdad en la educación de los niños en los países ricos
Un comienzo injusto: La desigualdad en la educación de los niños en los países ricos

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Zlata Bruckauf; Jose Cuesta

Published: 2018 Innocenti Report Card

En los países más ricos del mundo, a algunos niños les va peor en la escuela que a otros debido a circunstancias que escapan a su control, como el lugar donde nacieron, el idioma que hablan o la profesión que ejercen sus progenitores. Estos niños acceden al sistema educativo en situación de desventaja y pueden quedarse aún más rezagados si las políticas y prácticas educativas refuerzan, en lugar de reducir, la brecha entre ellos y sus compañeros. Esos tipos de desigualdad son injustos. No todos los niños tienen las mismas oportunidades de alcanzar su pleno potencial, de perseguir sus intereses y de desarrollar sus talentos y habilidades, acarreando con ello costos sociales y económicos. Este informe se centra en las desigualdades educativas en 41 de los países más ricos del mundo, todos ellos miembros de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) o de la Unión Europea (UE). A partir de los datos más recientes disponibles, se examinan las desigualdades a lo largo de la infancia —desde el acceso a la educación preescolar hasta las expectativas educativas una vez concluida la enseñanza secundaria— y se analizan en profundidad las relaciones entre la desigualdad educativa y factores como la actividad profesional de los padres, los antecedentes migratorios, el género y las características de las escuelas.

La principal particularidad de este informe es la tabla clasificatoria, donde se resume el calado de la desigualdad educativa en la enseñanza preescolar, primaria y secundaria. El indicador de la desigualdad en la educación preescolar es el porcentaje de alumnos matriculados en centros oficiales un año antes de la edad oficial de ingreso en la escuela primaria. Tanto para la escuela primaria (cuarto curso, alrededor de los 10 años) como para la escuela secundaria (15 años), el indicador muestra la diferencia entre las puntuaciones obtenidas en las pruebas de lectura por los estudiantes que obtienen los mejores y los peores resultados.
Construire l’avenir : Les enfants et les objectifs de développement durable dans les pays riches
Construire l’avenir : Les enfants et les objectifs de développement durable dans les pays riches
Published: 2017 Innocenti Report Card
Le présent Bilan propose une évaluation du bien-être des enfants dans une perspective de développement durable dans 41 pays de l’Union européenne (UE) et de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE). Le rapport cherche notamment à exploiter de façon pertinente les cibles des objectifs de développement durable (ODD) visant les enfants des pays à revenu élevé (tout en restant fidèle aux ambitions du programme mondial) et à établir un postulat pour la révision du cadre des ODD dans ces pays. Il s’attache essentiellement aux objectifs et cibles touchant directement au bien-être des enfants dans les milieux à revenu élevé. Le cas échéant, il adapte l’indicateur relatif aux ODD convenu afin de mieux rendre compte des problèmes rencontrés par les enfants dans ces pays. Ces résultats mettent donc en évidence les nouveaux défis posés par les ODD.
Construir el futuro: Los niños y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible en los países ricos
Construir el futuro: Los niños y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible en los países ricos
Published: 2017 Innocenti Report Card

En este Report Card se evalúa el bienestar infantil en el contexto del desarrollo sostenible en 41 países de la Unión Europea (UE) y la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE). En concreto, este informe pretende adaptar las metas de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) de modo que sean pertinentes para los niños de países de ingresos altos (sin dejar de respetar las ambiciones de la agenda internacional) y establecer un punto de partida para el examen del marco de los ODS en esos entornos. Se centra en los objetivos y metas más significativos para el bienestar de los niños en contextos de ingresos altos. Asimismo, cabe señalar que en ciertos casos se ha adaptado el indicador de los ODS acordado para que refleje mejor los problemas a los que se enfrentan los niños de dichos países. Por tanto, los resultados ponen de manifiesto los nuevos desafíos que plantean los ODS.

Income Inequality among Children in Europe 2008–2013
Income Inequality among Children in Europe 2008–2013

AUTHOR(S)
Emilia Toczydlowska; Yekaterina Chzhen; Zlata Bruckauf; Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
With income inequality increasing and children exposed to higher risks of poverty and material deprivation than the population as a whole in the majority of European countries, there is a concern that income inequality among children has worsened over the financial crisis. This paper presents results on the levels of bottom-end inequality in children’s incomes in 31 European countries in 2013 and traces the evolution of this measure since 2008. The relative income gap worsened in 20 of the 31 European countries between 2008 and 2013. Social transfers play a positive role in reducing income differentials, as post-transfer income gaps are smaller than those before transfers, especially in countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom. Countries with greater bottom-end income inequality among children have lower levels of child well-being, and higher levels of child poverty and material deprivation.
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Paul Dornan; Martin Woodhead

Published: 2015 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper contributes longitudinal research evidence on these issues, notably: the impact of structural inequalities on children’s development within households and communities; the ways access to health, education and other key services may reduce or amplify inequalities; and especially evidence on the ways that children’s developmental trajectories diverge from early in life, through to early adulthood.
Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents
Is there Catch-Up Growth? Evidence from Three Continents

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman

Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
The ability to correct childhood malnutrition, or for children to display ‘catch-up growth’, has important population-level implications for economic and social development. According to most recent estimates, over one third of all children under the age of five in developing countries suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency, with approximately 27% classified as underweight, 31% exhibiting stunting and 10% exhibiting wasting. We contribute to the catch-up growth debate by presenting results from three widely varying population based samples using identical statistical techniques, controlling for endogeneity of lagged health in several different ways, and measuring height in z-scores. Our estimates for these three different populations indicate that while previous health does not track future health perfectly, there is still significant persistence in health status for young children. These estimates do not account for household health-related behaviour.
Child Poverty and Material Deprivation in the European Union during the Great Recession
Child Poverty and Material Deprivation in the European Union during the Great Recession

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
The 2008 financial crisis triggered the first contraction of the world economy in the post-war era. This paper investigates the effect of the economic crisis on child poverty and material deprivation across the EU-28 plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. First, it examines if children were affected by the crisis to a greater extent than the population as a whole. Second, it analyses inequities among households with children and the degree to which those in workless households, migrant households, lone parent families and large families were at a greater risk of poverty and deprivation. Finally, it studies the extent to which social safety nets may have softened the negative impact of the economic crisis.
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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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