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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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A League Table of Educational Disadvantage in Rich Nations
A League Table of Educational Disadvantage in Rich Nations
Published: 2002 Innocenti Report Card
This new report from the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre considers the effectiveness of public education systems across the rich nations of the industrialised world. The Report Card takes an overview of several well-respected cross-national surveys into educational performance in an effort to present a “big picture” of the extent of educational disadvantage in OECD member countries. Although enrolment rates in lower secondary schooling throughout the OECD are almost 100 per cent, children in their early teens nevertheless differ greatly in what they successfully manage to learn while at school. With the importance of knowledge and of “human capital” in the global economy, the differences between high and low achievers become ever more critical if a part of each generation is not to be excluded from the benefits of economic progress.
Una classifica comparata dello svantaggio educativo nei paesi industrializzati
Una classifica comparata dello svantaggio educativo nei paesi industrializzati
Published: 2002 Innocenti Report Card
Questo nuovo rapporto del Centro di Ricerca Innocenti dell'UNICEF riguarda l'efficenza del sistema di istruzione pubblica nei paesi economicamente avanzati. Il rapporto utilizza dati tratti da indagini sul rendimento scolastico degli studenti nel tentativo di elaborare un quadro generale sullo svantaggio educativo nei paesi dell'OCSE. Sebbene il tasso di iscrizione alla istruzione secondaria inferiore nell'OCSE sia del 100 percento, i giovani nei primi anni dellla loro adolescenza differiscono notevolmente in termini di apprendimento scolastico. Data l'importanza della conoscenza e del capitale umano in un'economia globalizzata, le disuguaglianze nell'apprendimento scolastico diventano decisive se non si vuole correre il rischio che una parte della popolazione venga esclusa dai benefici del progresso economico.
A League Table of Child Deaths by Injury in Rich Nations
A League Table of Child Deaths by Injury in Rich Nations
Published: 2001 Innocenti Report Card
In every single industrialized country, injury has now become the leading killer of children between the ages of 1 and 14. Taken together, traffic accidents, intentional injuries, drownings, falls, fires, poisonings and other accidents kill more than 20,000 children every year throughout the OECD. Despite these statistics, and the rising worries of parents everywhere, the likelihood of a child dying from intentional or unintentional injury is small and becoming smaller. For a child born into the developed world today, the chances of death by injury before the age of 15 are approximately 1 in 750 - less than half the level of 30 years ago. The likelihood of death from abuse or intentional harm is smaller still - less than 1 in 5,000. On the roads of the industrialized world, child deaths have been declining steadily for more than two decades.
A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations
A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations
Published: 2001 Innocenti Report Card
The third Innocenti Report Card presents the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey so far of teenage birth rates in the industrialized world. And it attempts at least a partial analysis of why some countries have teenage birth rates that are ten or even fifteen times higher than others. Approximately 1.25 million teenagers become pregnant each year in the 28 OECD nations under review. Of those, approximately half a million will seek an abortion and approximately three quarters of a million will become teenage mothers. The five countries with the lowest teenage birth rates are Korea, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden - all with teen birth rates of fewer than 10 per 1,000. The United States teenage birth rate of 52.1 is the highest in the developed world – and more than twice the European average. The United Kingdom has the highest teenage birth rate in Europe.
Tabla clasificatoria de la situación de los niños pobres en las naciones ricas
Tabla clasificatoria de la situación de los niños pobres en las naciones ricas
Published: 2000 Innocenti Report Card
Las tablas clasificatorias de la pobreza infantil presentadas en este primer número de las Innocenti Report Cards (Boletines de Clasificaciones Innocenti) constituyen la evaluación más exhaustiva que se haya realizado hasta ahora de la pobreza infantil en todo el mundo industrializado. Las estadísticas contenidas en estas páginas ponen al descubierto una amenaza real para todos los ciudadanos de las naciones que tienen una tasa elevada de pobreza infantil. Porque si bien es cierto que muchas familias pobres se sacrifican para ayudar a sus hijos a comenzar la vida del mejor modo posible, la visión de conjunto del problema revela que para las personas que crecen en la indigencia son mayores las probabilidades de tener dificultades de aprendizaje, de abandonar los estudios, de refugiarse en el abuso de drogas, de cometer delitos, de encontrarse sin empleo, de quedar embarazadas en edad excesivamente precoz y de llevar adelante una vida que no hace más que perpetuar la pobreza y la marginación en las generaciones por venir.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, children's rights violation, comparative analysis, industrialized countries | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
A League Table of Child Poverty in Rich Nations
A League Table of Child Poverty in Rich Nations
Published: 2000 Innocenti Report Card
This new report on child poverty in the world’s wealthiest nations concludes that one in six of the rich world’s children is poor - a total of 47 million. The new research, published in the first UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, provides the most comprehensive estimates so far of child poverty across the member countries of the OECD. Despite a doubling and redoubling of national incomes in most OECD nations since 1950, a significant percentage of their children are still living in families so materially poor that normal health and growth are at risk. A far larger proportion remain in relative poverty. Their physical needs may be catered for, but they are painfully excluded from the activities and advantages that are considered normal by their peers. The report reveals a wide range of child poverty rates in countries at broadly similar levels of economic development – from under 3 per cent in Sweden to a high of over 22 per cent in the USA. By comparing data from different countries, the new research asks what can be learned about the causes of child poverty and examines the policies that have contributed to the success of lower rates in some countries. In particular, it seeks to explain the situation by exploring the impact on poverty rates of lone parenthood, unemployment, low wages and levels of social expenditures. The Report Card calls for a new commitment to ending child poverty in the world’s richest nations.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, children's rights violation, comparative analysis, industrialized countries | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Child Poverty Dynamics in Seven Nations
Child Poverty Dynamics in Seven Nations
Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper compares child poverty dynamics cross-nationally using panel data from seven nations: the USA, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, and Russia. As well as using standard relative poverty definitions the paper examines flows into and out of the poorest fifth of the children's income distribution. Significant (but not total) uniformity in patterns of income mobility and poverty dynamics across the seven countries is found. The key exception is Russia, where the economic transition has led to a much higher degree of mobility. Interestingly, the USA which has the highest level of relative poverty among the rich nations, has a mobility rate which, if anything, is less than that of the other nations.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, comparative analysis, income distribution, industrialized countries | Publisher: UNICEF IRC
Child Well-Being in the EU and Enlargement to the East
Child Well-Being in the EU and Enlargement to the East
Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
The accession of up to 13 new members in the next decade is the most important development now facing the European Union. This paper analyses measurable differences in the well-being of children between current club members, the EU Member States, and the 10 Central and Eastern European applicants seeking admission. Two themes are used as a framework for the paper. First, the importance of economic, social and cultural rights in the human rights dimension of the 'Copenhagen criteria' laid down for EU accession. Second, the need for a wider approach to measuring differences in living standards and 'economic and social cohesion' within the Union than that currently taken by the European Commission. In both cases the necessity for considering the position of children is emphasised. The empirical sections of the paper then consider in turn three dimensions of well-being of European children in Member States and the applicant countries: their economic welfare, their health, and their education.
Integrating Economic and Social Policy: Good practices from high achieving countries
Integrating Economic and Social Policy: Good practices from high achieving countries

AUTHOR(S)
Santosh Mehrotra

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines the successes of ten 'high-achievers' - countries with social indicators far higher than might be expected given their national wealth. Their progress in such fields as education and health offers lessons for social policy elsewhere in the developing world. Based on UNICEF-supported studies in each country, the paper shows how, in the space of fifty years, these high-achievers have made advances in health and education that took nearly 200 years in the industrialized world. It pinpoints the policies that have contributed to this success - policies that could be replicated elsewhere.
Tableau de classement de la pauvreté des enfants parmi les nations riches
Tableau de classement de la pauvreté des enfants parmi les nations riches
Published: 2000 Innocenti Report Card
Les classements des résultats sur la pauvreté des enfants que contient ce premier Bilan Innocenti constituent les estimations les plus détaillées à ce jour sur ce sujet à travers le monde industrialisé. Les statistiques présentées dans ce document trahissent la menace qui pèse sur la qualité de vie de tout citoyen des pays don’t les taux de pauvreté des enfants sont élevés. S’il est vrai que de nombreuses familles pauvres n’hésitent pas à faire des sacrifices afin d’offrir à leurs enfants le meilleur départ possible dans la vie, l’image d’ensemble révèle cependant que les individus qui grandissent dans la pauvreté sont plus susceptibles de rencontrer des difficultés scolaires, d’abandonner l’école, de recourir aux drogues, de commettre des crimes, de ne pas trouver de travail, d’avoir trop jeune un enfant et de mener une vie perpétuant sur de nombreuses générations la pauvreté et autres conditions désavantageuses.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, children's rights violation, comparative analysis, industrialized countries | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Child Poverty across Industrialized Nations
While child poverty is everywhere seen as an important social problem, there is considerable variation in both anti-poverty policies and poverty outcomes across the industrialized nations. In this paper we present new estimates of patterns of child income poverty in 25 nations using data from the Luxembourg Income Study. These estimates are presented using a range of alternative income poverty definitions and describe the correlations of outcomes with different demographic patterns and labour market and social transfer incomes. Evidence on cross-national patterns of non-cash income receipt suggests that more comprehensive measures, which include non-cash benefits, would be unlikely to change the overall pattern of poverty. We then examine the impact of household savings patterns (particularly via house purchase) on child consumption and conclude that this also does not change the picture provided by income measures alone. The paper concludes with an analysis of the sources of the variation in child poverty across nations.
Income Distribution, Economic Systems and Transition
Income Distribution, Economic Systems and Transition
The differences in income distribution between market and planned economies are considered in two ways. First, using benchmarks from the OECD area, evidence from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the socialist period is reviewed. Second, the authors consider the transitions currently being made by the latter countries. Three factors are then considered: (i) the distribution of earnings of full-time employees, (ii) the distribution of individuals’ per capita household incomes, and (iii) the ways in which non-wage benefits from work, price subsidies and social incomes in kind change the picture. For the socialist period long series of data, often covering several decades, are available and thus changes in distribution under the socialist system can be tracked and diversity between the countries shown. For the period of transition, the series of data are inevitably shorter, however, it is possible to avoid basing conclusions on evidence drawn from single years. During transition, as under socialism, the picture is varied. Russia has experienced very sharp increases in measured inequality to well above the top of the OECD range. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have seen more modest rises. However, a satisfactory analytic framework encompassing enough features of the transition to help interpretation of the data is lacking.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 100 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: comparative analysis, economic transition, income distribution | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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