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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
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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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Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?
Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?

AUTHOR(S)
Zlata Bruckauf; Nóirín Hayes

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Early childhood development is a driving force for sustainable development due to its multiplier effects not only on children but also on the community and society at large. Access to ECEC alone is insufficient for achieving positive child outcomes – it must also be of high quality. This Brief aims to summarize the key points of ongoing debate on this issue, and outline some of the challenges faced by high-income countries. A step towards a more holistic monitoring of ECEC would be to develop a coherent national strategy that recognizes diversity while addressing disparities; to respond to the needs of both child and family through strong partnerships with parents and ECE practitioners; and to apply measurement tools that capture a child’s engagement rather than test readiness.

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.
Understanding Governance of Early Childhood Development and Education Systems and Services in Low-Income Countries
Understanding Governance of Early Childhood Development and Education Systems and Services in Low-Income Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Pia Rebello Britto; Hirokazu Yoshikawa; Jan Van Ravens; Liliana A. Ponguta; Soojin S. Oh; Roland Dimaya; Richard C. Seder

Published: 2013 Innocenti Working Papers
Over the past decade, early childhood development and education (ECDE) has received increasing attention. This has led to an influx of scientific, macroeconomic, and rights-based evidence, supporting the importance of equitably implementing quality ECDE programmes and services. Despite the increase in evidence, young children in the developing world still bear the greatest burden of poverty, disease, violence, and risk factors. Recent research suggests that equitable access to quality early childhood services (ECS) can reduce the impact of risk factors and improve outcomes.
Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia
Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Michael (et al.) Linnan

Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Drowning is a leading cause of death among children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia, but current data greatly underestimate mortality due to drowning. This is due to the way drowning data is collected, classified and reported as well as the difficulty in correcting and adjusting the data. The sum of all the biases and uncertainties has masked the fact that drowning is a leading cause of child death in LMICs in Asia. Cost-effective, affordable and sustainable interventions appropriate for LMICs are available to address this newly recognized and significant killer of children. Large numbers of these deaths could be prevented annually if these drowning interventions were included in current country programmes. When implemented at national scale and as an integral part of country programmes, the prevention of these drowning deaths, which mostly occur in early childhood, would result in a rapid decrease in early childhood mortality.
Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system
Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Kools; Virginia E. Vitiello

Published: 2010 Innocenti Discussion Papers
There is need for a holistic, comprehensive ECD monitoring system that covers the multiple facets (i.e. education, health, social protection and the social and economical context in which the child is born) of public and private ECD interventions in a country. Such a system is essential for ensuring that all children can reap the benefits of ECD. It serves as a means of support and oversight for monitoring the performance and planning of ECD policies and programmes in developing countries. The paper highlights the importance of comprehensive ECD monitoring for making evidence-based decisions, and discusses practical issues to take into consideration when developing such a system. One of the first steps is deciding what to monitor through the selection of a limited number of valid and measurable indicators that are aligned to policy and programme goals. In this respect the capacity of the government system should be thoroughly assessed, including 1) the identification and evaluation of existing administrative and other data sources; 2) a training needs analysis of the administrators who will operate the monitoring system to allow for strengthening their skills and prepare them for their future duties; and 3) consideration of the long-term costs of operating a monitoring system in relation to the (projected) available funds, in order to ensure the sustainability of the system.
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Routine Data Collection and Monitoring of Health Services Relating to Early Childhood Development: A two-nation review study
Published: 2009 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Monitoring of health services can serve two major functions: providing information for performance management as well as for evidence-based policy-making. The means by which monitoring is carried out and the balance that is struck between these functions vary according to the situation of different countries. This paper reviews monitoring processes and the availability of data relating to early childhood development in the cases of Germany and the United Kingdom. The discussion centres on pre-requisites for successful routine data collection: a national framework, a national database and making data available publicly.
La educación durante la primera infancia en México: expansión, mejora de la calidad, y reforma curricular
La educación durante la primera infancia en México: expansión, mejora de la calidad, y reforma curricular

AUTHOR(S)
Hirokazu Yoshikawa; Robert G. Myers; Kathleen McCartney; Kristen L. Bub; Julieta Lugo-Gil; Maria A. Ramos; Felicia Knaul

Published: 2008 Innocenti Working Papers
Las investigaciones recogidas en cientos de estudios demuestran los beneficios que proporcionan la educación y los cuidados de calidad durante la primera infancia para el aprendizaje posterior del niño, su éxito escolar y su desarrollo social. Habiendo reconocido el valor de ofrecer oportunidades educativas al niño desde los primeros momentos de su vida, muchos países han extendido la educación y los cuidados a la primera infancia durante los últimos años. México consituye un caso interesante, en el que durante los últimos cinco años se han extendido la educación y los cuidados a la primera infancia, así como las iniciativas encaminadas a mejorar la calidad y a reformar el currículo nacional de los preescolares. Este documento examina tres iniciativas de política educativa que se llevaron a cabo en México entre 2000 y 2006: la expansión de la educación preescolar, la mejora de la calidad y la reforma curricular.
Early Childhood Services in the OECD Countries: Review of the literature and current policy in the early childhood field
Early Childhood Services in the OECD Countries: Review of the literature and current policy in the early childhood field

AUTHOR(S)
John Bennett

Published: 2008 Innocenti Working Papers
The aim of this publication is to provide a review of the literature and current policies of early childhood education and care in the economically most advanced countries of the world. The introductory chapter provides some basic definitions: what is meant by 'early childhood services' both in the narrow sense of care and education services for young children (family day care, childcare centres, pre-primary educational services, integrated services, etc.) and in the wider sense of services supporting the holistic development of young children. Subsequent chapters address: the rights and well-being of young children; the economic and social context of children's services; state investment in early childhood services. Chapter 2 addresses the question of the rights and well-being of young children. Chapter 3 explores the economic and social context of children's services, and seek to explain the contemporary focus on the upbringing and education of young children. Chapter 4 provides a rationale for substantial state investment in early childhood services. Chapter 5 recalls briefly the promise that participation in high-quality early childhood services holds for the individual child and at a wider level, for society as a whole. A short conclusion proposes a dynamic social market model that brings together the dynamism and choice that market approaches can present with the strong investment, effective control and equity in access that public systems have traditionally offered in several countries.
The Child Care Transition: A league table of early childhood education and care in economically advanced countries
The Child Care Transition: A league table of early childhood education and care in economically advanced countries

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2008 Innocenti Report Card
A great change is coming over childhood in the world's richest countries. Today's rising generation is the first in which a majority are spending a large part of early childhood in some form of out-of-home child care. At the same time, neuroscientific research is demonstrating that loving, stable, secure, and stimulating relationships with caregivers in the earliest months and years of life are critical for every aspect of a child’s development. Taken together, these two developments confront public and policymakers in OECD countries with urgent questions. Whether the child care transition will represent an advance or a setback for today's children and tomorrow's world will depend on the response.
La transition en cours dans la garde et l’éducation de l’enfant. Tableau de classement des services de garde et d’éducation des jeunes enfants dans les pays économiquement avancés
La transition en cours dans la garde et l’éducation de l’enfant. Tableau de classement des services de garde et d’éducation des jeunes enfants dans les pays économiquement avancés

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2008 Innocenti Report Card
La génération montante d’aujourd’hui est la première dont la majorité passe une grande partie de la petite enfance dans un type de structure de garde extérieure au foyer. Parallèlement, la recherche neuroscientifique démontre l’importance capitale, pour tous les aspects du développement de l’enfant, de l’établissement de rapports aimants, stables, sécurisants et stimulants avec les personnes qui s’occupent d’enfants au cours des premiers mois et années. Considérés ensemble, ces deux éléments obligent l’opinion publique et les décideurs politiques de l’OCDE à faire face à des questions pressantes. C’est en fonction de leurs réponses que la transition en cours dans la garde et l’éducation de l’enfant se traduira, pour les enfants d’aujourd’hui et ceux de demain, par une avancée ou un revers.
Come cambia la cura dell’infanzia. Un quadro comparativo dei servizi educativi e della cura per la prima infanzia nei paesi economicamente avanzati
Come cambia la cura dell’infanzia. Un quadro comparativo dei servizi educativi e della cura per la prima infanzia nei paesi economicamente avanzati

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2008 Innocenti Report Card
Un grande cambiamento è in corso per l’infanzia nei paesi più ricchi del mondo. La maggioranza della generazione adesso in fase di crescita è la prima a trascorrere gran parte della prima infanzia in strutture che se ne prendono cura fuori della propria casa. Allo stesso tempo, la ricerca sulle neuroscienze dimostra che un rapporto amorevole, stabile, sicuro e stimolante con le persone che si prendono cura del bambino nei primi mesi e anni di vita è fondamentale per ogni aspetto del suo sviluppo. Questi due fattori pongono domande urgenti alla opinione pubblica e ai responsabili delle politiche dei paesi OCSE. Se il cambiamento nella cura dei bambini rappresenterà un progresso o un’involuzione per i bambini di oggi e il mondo di domani dipenderà dalla risposta a tali domande.
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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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