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.
The prevalence of school-related violence and, in particular, bullying is not a new or isolated phenomenon, nor is it limited to certain schools or countries. Abundant evidence indicates that bullying is widespread and has a negative impact on educational outcomes. Children who are victims of bullying can also be affected emotionally and physically in both the short and long terms. Evidence from low- and middle-income countries on bullying is less extensive when compared to the evidence available on predictors and effects of bullying from high-income countries. However, some findings for the Latin American and Caribbean region seem to suggest a similar picture, with a high prevalence of bullying victimization and association to lower reading scores in different subjects tested.
This working paper first uses data from UNESCO’s Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study for nationally representative samples of sixth grade students to determine the prevalence of bullying and its association to learning outcomes in 15 countries of the LAC region. It then looks at interventions in countries of the region to mitigate the impacts of violence.
Cirenia Chávez; Victor Cebotari; Maria José Benítez; Dominic Richardson; Chii Fen Hiu; Juliana Zapata
Emerging evidence suggests that social protection programmes can have a positive role in delaying marriage for girls. But the pathways and design features by which programmes may influence child marriage outcomes remain unknown. This mixed-methods study explores whether and how the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) in Ethiopia, given its national reach and potential to address poverty, can also affect child marriage practice. It draws on descriptive quantitative and qualitative data from an ongoing impact evaluation of the Integrated Safety Net Program (ISNP) pilot in the Amhara region.
It finds that PSNP, through an economic channel, is effective in reducing financial pressures on families to marry off girls and in improving girls’ education opportunities. Income-strengthening measures must, however, be accompanied by complementary efforts – including girls’ empowerment, awareness-raising and legal measures – to transform deep-rooted social and gender norms and attitudes that perpetuate the harmful practice of child marriage.
COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have
had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.
High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having
to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income
countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline.
This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children.
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.
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.
Analyser la situation des enfants dans les pays les plus riches du monde sous un nouvel angle offre une image mitigée de leur santé, de leurs compétences et de leur bonheur. Pour beaucoup trop d’entre eux, des problèmes tels que la pauvreté, l’exclusion et la pollution font peser une menace sur leur bien-être mental, leur santé physique et leurs chances d’acquérir des compétences. Même des pays qui offrent de bonnes conditions sociales, économiques et environnementales sont loin d’atteindre les objectifs fixés par le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Pour réaliser ces objectifs, des mesures ciblées et accélérées sont nécessaires.
Les données de 41 pays de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) et de l’Union européenne (UE) parlent d’elles-mêmes, qu’il s’agisse des chances de survie, de croissance et de protection des enfants, de la question de savoir s’ils apprennent et se sentent écoutés, ou de celle de savoir si leurs parents disposent du soutien et des moyens nécessaires pour donner à leurs enfants toutes les chances de mener une enfance équilibrée et heureuse. Ce rapport révèle l’expérience des enfants face aux politiques publiques et à la conjoncture sociale, éducative, économique et environnementale de leurs pays respectifs.
Un nuovo sguardo alla situazione dei bambini nei paesi più ricchi del mondo rivela uno scenario misto in termini di salute, competenze e felicità. Troppi problemi, come la povertà, l'esclusione e l'inquinamento, minacciano il loro benessere psicofisico e la possibilità di sviluppare le proprie abilità. Anche i paesi con condizioni sociali, economiche e ambientali favorevoli sono ben lontani dal raggiungere gli obiettivi stabiliti nell'Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile. Per realizzare tali obiettivi, è necessaria un'azione rapida e mirata.
I dati relativi a 41 Paesi dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e l'Unione europea tracciano un quadro chiaro della probabilità di bambini e adolescenti di sopravvivere e crescere, di ricevere tutela, istruzione e ascolto, e della misura in cui i genitori sono in grado di fornire sostegno e risorse per garantire loro le migliori possibilità di vivere un'infanzia sana e felice. Questo studio rivela le esperienze dei bambini alla luce delle politiche e del contesto sociale, educativo, economico e ambientale dei rispettivi paesi.
A new look at children from the world’s richest countries offers a mixed picture of their health, skills and happiness. For far too many, issues such as poverty, exclusion and pollution threaten their mental well-being, physical health and opportunities to develop skills. Even countries with good social, economic and environmental conditions are a long way from meeting the targets set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Focused and accelerated action is needed if these goals are to be met.
The evidence from 41 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) countries tells its own story: from children’s chances of survival, growth and protection, to whether they are learning and feel listened to, to whether their parents have the support and resources to give their children the best chance for a healthy, happy childhood. This report reveals children’s experiences against the backdrop of their country’s policies and social, educational, economic and environmental contexts.