Let Us Learn: Making education work for the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

Let Us Learn: Making education work for the most vulnerable in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Learning remains largely out of reach for many of the most vulnerable children around the world. In low- and middle-income countries, an estimated 56% of children cannot read a simple text by the age of 10. This share is projected to rise to 70% after the pandemic. The school closures imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with an enduring tendency in low-income countries to allocate a limited share of the national education budget to the most vulnerable, are further widening inequalities in the global learning crisis landscape.

The Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative implements innovative education programmes to improve learning for the most vulnerable children in five countries with high levels of out-of-school children: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal. This report documents the outcomes, lessons learned and recommendations based on the experience of the initiative across four types of learning programmes spanning the education lifecycle: (1) pre-primary education; (2) accelerated learning pathways; (3) programmes to reduce barriers to access and stay in formal school; and (4) vocational training.

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Education has been a priority for Ghana since its independence, with current expenditures representing double the average for Africa and other developing nations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government aimed to enhance the quality of education and teacher attendance, including improving school infrastructure and providing textbooks and incentive packages to attract more teachers to rural and remote areas. However, the disruption of the pandemic forced school closures and economic consequences, threatening to push millions of vulnerable children out of the education system, widen inequalities and impede progress on the country’s development goals. The Ghana Time to Teach research project set out to capture teachers’ voices and provide a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in pre-tertiary schools in the country. Although data collection for this study was completed before the onset of COVID-19, it provides valuable insights into how the national education system can be strengthened to improve teacher motivation, attendance, and time on task. Detailed findings, analysis and policy implications can be found in the report.

Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire

Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Si la Côte d’Ivoire a accompli de grands progrès pour faciliter l’accès à son système éducatif et en améliorer la qualité, d’importantes lacunes subsistent en matière d’apprentissage et de réussite des élèves. On estime que huit enfants sur dix en Côte d’Ivoire ne maîtrisent pas la lecture à l’âge de 10 ans et disposent de compétences insuffisantes en mathématiques à la sortie du primaire. Les données probantes existantes suggèrent que l'absentéisme des enseignants serait responsable de la perte d'environ 25 pour cent du temps d'enseignement dans les écoles primaires du pays. Si l’on tient compte de l’absentéisme des élèves et des retards dans le calendrier scolaire, la perte moyenne s’élève à deux mois par année scolaire. La présente étude « Time to Teach » vise à contribuer à une meilleure compréhension de l’assiduité des enseignants dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire. Pour ce faire, l’étude adopte un concept large de l’absentéisme des enseignants, qui comprend :  l’absence de l’école, le manque de ponctualité, l’absence de la salle de classe et la réduction du temps d’enseignement.

How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

How relaxing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Sabbiana Cunsolo; Victor Cebotari; Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

From a developmental perspective, skills or capacities, such as ‘relaxing’, are commonly considered necessary for children to achieve optimal development and reach their full
potential. From this perspective ‘relaxing’ can be considered a capacity that could help children to cope with emotional and behavioural problems and lower their levels of stress and anxiety.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to map the existing evidence of cultivating ‘relaxing’ as a key core capacity with an explicit focus on children, and understand age-related development, links to wellbeing and other core capacities, and the levels and application of ‘relaxing’ among significant adults in children’s lives. These contributions will help inform real, positive and efficient changes in general policies and practices for child development.

How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

How reflecting develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Marloes Vrolijk; Dominic Richardson; Sabbiana Cunsolo

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Reflecting, or thinking about one’s own thinking, is understood by the Learning for Well-Being Foundation as one of the possible core capacities which may influence well-being in children. This study explores the academic literature for theoretical and empirical evidence in support of this conceptualization.

Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s reflecting and how does it interact with overall well-being throughout childhood?

The objectives of the review are to map the evidence of the development of reflecting in children, describe possible gaps in the literature and search whether any studies explore reflecting as a core capacity, or study the relationship between reflecting and child well-being. In doing so this paper focuses on the possibly diverse development of the core capacity in children, on the capacity in parents, teachers and other caregivers and the role they play in the development of the core capacity, and on the evidence from the academic literature.

How subtle sensing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

How subtle sensing develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Adriano Linzarini; Sabbiana Cunsolo; Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

This study maps the empirical and theoretical evidence of children’s ability for ‘subtle sensing’ as a core capacity for life within the Learning for Well-Being Foundation’s theoretical framework and how it interacts with overall child development.

More specifically, this review aims to contribute to existing knowledge in three ways: (i) it adds to the evidence of ‘subtle sensing’ as a core capacity for children from a childhood development perspective, (ii) it assesses the interaction of ‘subtle sensing’ with other core capacities and with overall child wellbeing, and (iii) it looks at the development of ‘subtle sensing’ as a core capacity among significant adults in children’s lives (e.g., teachers, educators, parents).

While the available evidence is limited, the results show a possible role for intuition in science and science education, mathematics and morality.

How discerning patterns develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

How discerning patterns develops and affects well-being throughout childhood

AUTHOR(S)
Sabbiana Cunsolo; Marloes Vrolijk; Dominic Richardson

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Drawing from a multidisciplinary evidence base, what is the empirical and theoretical knowledge of children’s discerning patterns and how does it interact with overall child well-being throughout childhood?

This review is a first attempt to map the existing theoretical and empirical literature about a possible core capacity for well-being: discerning patterns. The review of the literature will contribute to the understanding of discerning patterns as a core capacity for well-being within the Learning for Well-Being framework.

What Makes Me? Core capacities for living and learning

What Makes Me? Core capacities for living and learning

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk; Sabbiana Cunsolo; Victor Cebotari

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

This report explores how ‘core capacities’ – or cornerstones of more familiar concepts, such as life skills and competences – develop over the early part of the life course, and how they contribute to children’s personal well-being and development.

The report synthesizes the work of the Measuring What Matters project, and nine detailed working papers – covering the core capacities of ‘Discerning patterns’, ‘Embodying’, ‘Empathizing’, ‘Inquiring’, ‘Listening’, ‘Observing’, ‘Reflecting’, ‘Relaxing’ and ‘Sensing’ – that individually review the empirical evidence on each core capacity in the academic literature. Each working paper assesses the contribution of the core capacities and the perspectives from which they are applied – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – to children’s well-being and development, and the practice and policies applied by adults working with children in relation to each core capacity.

The purpose of the work is to assess how core capacities can improve the lives of children, and to understand the ways in which education systems and broader social systems can protect and promote these capacities. This project builds on the existing evidence base to understand better how children’s personal attributes (age and gender), and the world around the child, can promote the use of core capacities for the benefit of child well-being and to improve policies and practices for child development.

The aim of this work is to use this learning to contribute practical steps to improve the living and learning conditions for children globally – not just in school, not just at home, but in their daily lives, and as they grow into adulthood.

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

AUTHOR(S)
Dita Nugroho; Hsiao-Chen Lin; Ivelina Borisova; Ana Nieto; Maniza Ntekim

Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Briefs

The first years of a child’s life are critical to building the foundations of learning that help them succeed in school and beyond. Investment in early childhood education results in positive returns, not only for individual children, but also for building more efficient and effective education systems. Recent analysis estimated that every US dollar spent on pre-primary education results in US$9 of benefits to society.

This brief summarizes the key findings and observations from a report on the remote learning options – be it online, television, radio, paper- or mobile-based – that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report was informed by the joint UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank survey of national education responses to COVID-19 and emerging good practices from 10 country case studies.

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

AUTHOR(S)
Dita Nugroho; Hsiao-Chen Lin; Ivelina Borisova; Ana Nieto; Maniza Ntekim

Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper examines the remote learning options that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights trends, gaps and emerging good practices that are supported by existing evidence.
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education

COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education

AUTHOR(S)
Atsuko Muroga; Htet Thiha Zaw; Suguru Mizunoya; Hsiao-Chen Lin; Mathieu Brossard; Nicolas Reuge

Published: 2020 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper summarizes the recent UNICEF analysis on investing in early childhood education in developing countries. It provides a benefit-cost analysis of investments in pre-primary education in 109 developing low- and middle-income countries and territories, using data from 2008 to 2019.
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.  
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