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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries
SPOTLIGHT

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children. This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19.
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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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Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries Pillar 4: Parent, child and caregiver support
Interventions to Reduce Violence against Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries Pillar 4: Parent, child and caregiver support
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs
The production of evidence on interventions for reducing violence against children (VAC) has steadily increased over the years. Yet, gaps exist that need to be addressed when it comes to research investment priorities and future studies. An Evidence Gap Map provides an overview of available evidence on the topic and eight briefs summarize the findings. This brief focuses on ‘Parent, child and caregiver support’ interventions to reduce violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. All technical details can be reviewed in the main report.
I paesi più ricchi del mondo sostengono le famiglie? Politiche dell’OCSE e dell’UE
I paesi più ricchi del mondo sostengono le famiglie? Politiche dell’OCSE e dell’UE
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Report
I bambini hanno migliori prospettive di vita e i genitori sono in grado di bilanciare meglio il lavoro e gli altri impegni in paesi che hanno delle politiche a sostegno delle famiglie. Queste includono il congedo parentale retribuito, il sostegno per l’allattamento al seno, l’assistenza all’infanzia e l’educazione prescolare a prezzi accessibili e di alta qualità. Il presente rapporto esamina le politiche favorevoli alla famiglia di 41 paesi ad alto e medio reddito attraverso quattro indicatori a livello nazionale: la durata delle ferie retribuite a disposizione delle madri, la durata delle ferie retribuite riservata specificamente ai padri, la quota di bambini sotto i tre anni nei nidi e centri per l’infanzia e la quota di bambini tra i tre anni e l’età dell’obbligo scolastico nei centri e scuole per l’infanzia. Svezia, Norvegia e Islanda sono i tre paesi che più sostengono le famiglie per i quali disponiamo di dati completi. Cipro, Grecia e Svizzera occupano gli ultimi tre posti. Dieci dei 41 paesi non dispongono di dati sufficienti sull’infanzia per essere inseriti nella nostra classifica. Non abbiamo a disposizione abbastanza informazioni aggiornate per mettere a confronto i diversi paesi sulla qualità dei centri per l’infanzia o sulle tariffe e le politiche per l’allattamento al seno. Per i paesi più ricchi esiste un margine per migliorare le loro politiche familiari e per raccogliere dati più accurati.
Are the world’s richest countries family friendly? Policy in the OECD and EU
Are the world’s richest countries family friendly? Policy in the OECD and EU
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Report
Children get a better start in life and parents are better able to balance work and home commitments in countries that have family-friendly policies. These include paid parental leave, support for breastfeeding and affordable, high-quality childcare and preschool education. This report looks at family-friendly policies in 41 high- and middle-income countries using four country-level indicators: the duration of paid leave available to mothers; the duration of paid leave reserved specifically for fathers; the share of children below the age of three in childcare centres; and the share of children  between the age of three and compulsory school age in childcare or preschool centres. Sweden, Norway and Iceland are the three most family-friendly countries for which we have complete data. Cyprus, Greece and Switzerland occupy the bottom three places. Ten of the 41 countries do not have sufficient data on childcare enrolment to be ranked in our league table. There is not enough up-to-date information available for us to compare across countries the quality of childcare centres or breastfeeding rates and policies. There is scope for the world’s richest countries to improve their family policies and collect better data.
Delivering a Parenting Programme in Rural South Africa: The Local Child and Youth Care Worker Experience
Delivering a Parenting Programme in Rural South Africa: The Local Child and Youth Care Worker Experience
Published: 2018 Innocenti Working Papers

A pre-post study examining the effectiveness of a parenting support programme in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, showed reductions in child abuse, child delinquency, parent and child depression, parenting stress and substance use. It also showed improvements in parental supervision, positive parenting and social support. In addition to the pre-post study, a qualitative enquiry was conducted with the programme facilitators. This paper explores the experiences and perception of local child and youth care workers, who were trained to deliver the parenting programme in vulnerable, semi-rural communities. The purpose of this publication is to make recommendations on how to improve the programme for scale-up, in South Africa and beyond.

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

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.
A transição dos cuidados na primeira infância. Uma tabela classificativa dos serviços de educação e cuidados na primeira infância nos países economicamente desenvolvidos
A transição dos cuidados na primeira infância. Uma tabela classificativa dos serviços de educação e cuidados na primeira infância nos países economicamente desenvolvidos

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2008 Innocenti Report Card
A geração actualmente em formação é a primeira em que uma maioria passa grande parte da primeira infância em alguma estrutura de cuidados for a de casa. Ao mesmo tempo, as investigações da neurociência estão a demonstrar que as relações afectuosas, estáveis, seguras e estimulantes com as pessoas que cuidam da criança nos primeiros meses e anos de vida são cruciais para todos os aspectos do seu desenvolvimento. Considerados em conjunto, estes dois desenvolvimentos confrontam o público e os autores das políticas dos países da OCDE com questões urgentes. Saber se a transição para os cuidados for a de casa irá representar um avanço ou um recuo – para as crianças de hoje em dia e para o mundo de amanhã – dependerá das respostas a essas questões.
El cuidado infantil en los países industrializados: transición y cambio. Una tabla clasificatoria de la educación y los cuidados durante la primera infancia en los países económicamente avanzados
El cuidado infantil en los países industrializados: transición y cambio. Una tabla clasificatoria de la educación y los cuidados durante la primera infancia en los países económicamente avanzados

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2008 Innocenti Report Card
Se está gestando un gran cambio en la infancia en los países más ricos del mundo. La generación de hoy en día es la primera en la que la mayoría recibe durante gran parte de la primera infancia algún tipo de cuidado infantil fuera del hogar. Al mismo tiempo, las investigaciones neurocientíficas están demostrando que las relaciones afectuosas, estables, seguras y estimulantes con los cuidadores durante los primeros meses y años de vida son esenciales para todos los aspectos del desarrollo del niño. Conjuntamente, estos dos avances plantean cuestiones urgentes al público y a los políticos en los países de la OCDE. Dependiendo de la respuesta que se les dé, la transición en el cuidado infantil representará un avance o un revés para los niños de hoy en día y el mundo de mañana.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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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