On Call: Using Mobile Phones to Provide Learning in Emergencies

On Call: Using Mobile Phones to Provide Learning in Emergencies

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

In 2021, an estimated 37 million children were forcibly displaced across the globe. Ensuring these children continue their education in times of crisis is a significant challenge. One tool that can help children stay in education is basic mobile phones. Basic mobile phones can provide learning through multiple channels, such as text messages, voice calls, nudges and lessons through radio broadcasts. This report outlines, in detail, how mobile phones can be applied as a learning tool in emergency settings. It also provides practical case studies and references for how mobile phones have been used to teach students, support parents and train teachers.

This report is also part of the On Call two-part series on the uses of mobile technologies for education in emergency settings, with the second report focusing on mobile technologies for learning assessments.

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.

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

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.

Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

AUTHOR(S)
Sophia Kan; Mirwais Fahez; Marco Valenza

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

In Afghanistan, 93% of children cannot read a simple text by the age of 10. Education is not available to everyone, especially for girls and children in remote areas. A form of community-based education, called Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs), can help close the distance barrier and meet the needs of out-of-school children and girls. In May 2021, an assessment of foundational literacy and numeracy skills of ALC students and nearby government school students was conducted. Results show that children at ALCs are learning at similar levels or better compared with children who attend government schools. This report provides insight into practices to improve education in rural areas in Afghanistan. 

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – South Asia

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – South Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Radhika Nagesh; Frank van Cappelle; Vidur Chopra; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

COVID-19 school closures in South Asia lasted longer than in any other region. To mitigate subsequent effects, governments and education actors in South Asia provided a range of remote learning modalities.  

This report presents evidence on the reach and effectiveness of these remote learning strategies through a meta-analysis of studies from the region. Large differences in students’ access to connectivity and devices show that high-tech remote learning modalities did not reach all students. Lessons learned indicate that the effectiveness of one-way or low-tech modalities can be enhanced through increased engagement and support from educators. Teachers, parents and caregivers must be supported to help children learn remotely, especially in cases where they must rely on these low-tech remote learning modalities. Formative assessments are needed to understand the scale of lost learning and target responses to remediate this learning loss when schools reopen.   

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – Latin America and the Caribbean

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – Latin America and the Caribbean

AUTHOR(S)
Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa; Marco Valenza; Vincenzo Placco; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

The implementation of remote learning in Latin America and the Caribbean during the COVID-19 school closures confirmed that the divide in access to electricity and technology remained a major hurdle for governments across the region to serve all children. School closures risk widening existing learning gaps as private schools were more prepared to use technology for remote learning and children from wealthier households received more support at home while schools were closed. As countries in the region reopen their schools, it is vital that governments incorporate key lessons learned to improve the resilience and equity of the education systems.

This report presents evidence on remote learning during the COVID-19 school closures in Latin America and the Caribbean to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable and resilient education systems for current and future crises.

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa

Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Valenza; Yacouba Dijbo Abdou; Thomas Dreesen

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Countries in West and Central Africa strived to implement national responses to continue learning activities during school closures. These responses relied on a mix of channels, including online platforms, broadcast media, mobile phones and printed learning packs. Several barriers, however, still prevented many children and adolescents in the region from taking advantage of these opportunities, resulting in learning loss in a region where almost 50 per cent of children do not achieve minimum reading skills at the end of the primary cycle. This report builds on existing evidence to highlight key lessons learned in continuing education for all at times of mass school closures and provides actionable recommendations to build resilience into national education systems in view of potential future crises. 

Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school

Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Valenza; Cirenia Chávez; Annika Rigole; Andrea Clemons; Alvaro Fortin; Erica Mattellone

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Briefs

Malagasy adolescents face severe challenges in accessing and completing basic education. Among those students who complete the primary cycle, one in four does not transition into lower secondary school. Economic constraints among vulnerable households coupled with low-quality education result in widespread dropout and poor learning outcomes.

Acknowledging these multidimensional barriers, UNICEF Madagascar leveraged funds from the Let us Learn (LUL) programme to implement a two-pronged strategy to support Malagasy children in accessing and continuing lower secondary school. The Catch-up Classes provide out-of-school adolescents with a learning pathway to build the foundational literacy and numeracy skills they need to resume studying in formal school. Conditional cash transfers target families with children who are at risk of abandoning school after completing the primary cycle.

This brief builds on programme monitoring data, impact evaluations and qualitative insights from the field to highlight lessons learnt and actionable recommendations for accessing and continuing vulnerable children’s secondary education.

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanna Mascheroni; Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Marium Saeed; Lorenzo Giuseppe Zaffaroni; Davide Cino; Thomas Dreesen; Marco Valenza

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

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.

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean

AUTHOR(S)
Kim Caarls; Victor Cebotari; Despina Karamperidou; Maria Carolina Alban Conto; Juliana Zapata; Rachel Yang Zhou

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

By the end of 2019, 4.8 million refugees and migrants had left Venezuela – making it the largest external displacement crisis in the region’s recent history. Of these, 1 in 4 was a child.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean, since November 2020, 137 million girls and boys are missing out on their education due to the prolonged closure of schools during COVID-19. The implications are troubling, especially for migrant and refugee children, for whom access to inclusive and equitable education remains a major challenge.

This study collates evidence from Latin America, the Caribbean and across the world to gain a better understanding of the multifaceted linkages between education and migration. It estimates gaps in educational outcomes; identifies structural barriers to education; and highlights promising practices to inform policy.

Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes

Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone; Rana Khazbak

Published: 2021 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Children’s lives are increasingly mediated by digital technologies. Yet, when it comes to understanding the long-term effects of internet use and online experiences on their well-being, mental health or resilience, the best we can do is make an educated guess. Our need for this knowledge has become even more acute as internet use rises during COVID-19.

This report explores what has been learned from the latest research about children’s experiences and outcomes relating to the internet and digital technologies. It aims to inform policy-makers, educators, child-protection specialists, industry and parents on the best evidence, and it proposes a future research agenda.

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanna Mascheroni; Marium Saeed; Marco Valenza; Davide Cino; Thomas Dreesen; Lorenzo Giuseppe Zaffaroni; Daniel Kardefelt Winther

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

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.

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La didattica a distanza durante l’emergenza COVID-19: l’esperienza italiana

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.

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