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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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An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries
An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries
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.  
Partire svantaggiati: La disuguaglianza educativa tra i bambini dei paesi ricchi
Partire svantaggiati: La disuguaglianza educativa tra i bambini dei paesi ricchi
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 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
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.

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
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.
Better Schools, Less Child Work. Child Work and Education in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru
Better Schools, Less Child Work. Child Work and Education in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru
Published: 1996 Innocenti Essay
On the basis of detailed statistical surveys conducted in five Latin American countries, this essay demonstrates that actual practice in the region contrasts strongly with legal norms for the minimum age at which children can be employed and the age of completion of compulsory education. As well as increasing our understanding of the complex relationships between children, work and education, the original studies also drew up measures and definitions that have subsequently been widely adopted in the region. The essay provides a review of the main findings and proposes policy guidelines on child work.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 30 | Thematic area: Child Work and Labour, Rights of the Child | Tags: child workers, compulsory education, minimum age, right to education | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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