This research brief is one of a series that explores the impact of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on the potential parental role in learning and its association with foundational reading and numeracy skills. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In low-income countries, the learning crisis is even more acute, with the ‘learning poverty’ rate reaching 90 per cent. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 191 countries have implemented countrywide school closures, affecting 1.6 billion learners worldwide. In India alone, 320 million students from pre-primary to tertiary level are affected by school closures. In sub-Saharan Africa, 240 million are affected. With children currently not able to study in classrooms, the importance of learning at home is amplified and the task of supporting children’s learning has fallen on parents at a much larger rate. This is a significant burden, particularly for those who are also teleworking and those with limited schooling themselves.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on societies, globally. To help contain the spread of the disease, schools around the world have closed, affecting 1.6 billion learners – approximately 91 per cent of the world’s enrolled students. Governments and education stakeholders have responded swiftly to continue children’s learning, using various delivery channels including digital tools, TV/radio-based teaching and take-home packages for parent or carer-guided education.
However, the massive scale of school closures has laid bare the uneven distribution of the technology
needed to facilitate remote learning. It has also highlighted the lack of preparedness and low resilience of systems to support teachers, facilitators and parents/caregivers in the successful and safe use of
technology for learning.
Using data on access to technology from household surveys (MICS and DHS) and information on national education responses to school closures gathered from UNICEF education staff in over 120 countries, this brief explores potential promising practices for equitable remote learning.
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.
This paper examines a four-year evidence-based study on an adolescent parenting support pilot programme known as Sinovuyo1 Teen. The parenting support programme aims to reduce violence inside and outside the home in a poor rural community in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is one of the four working papers looking at data from a qualitative study that complemented a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT). Both the study and the trial were conducted during the last year of the parenting support programme. The research question was: What are the policy and service delivery requirements and implications for scaling up the Sinovuyo Teen Parenting programme in South Africa and beyond? The primary data for this paper were collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with key stakeholders, including programme implementers. Thematic analysis identified four themes, three of which are presented in this paper: programme model; programme fit in a service delivery system; and programme in local cultural and policy context. Although the findings show the Sinovuyo Teen Parenting programme was positively viewed, if it were to be scaled up and sustainable, the intervention would need to be grounded in established policies and systems.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of donor funds for development and emergency interventions. As such, its targeting of social protection has received substantial attention. In particular, concerns have been raised that political connections could play a role in determining the selection of beneficiaries. With the introduction in 2005 of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), Ethiopia implemented various policies aimed at increasing transparency in the targeting of social protection. This case study compares targeting before and during the implementation of PSNP, and shows improvements in targeting for both public works and emergency aid in relation to the dimensions of poverty, food security and political connections. Most notably, political connections are no longer found to determine the receipt of benefits during the implementation of PSNP.
This research, commissioned by the Nordic National Committees for UNICEF, examines to what extent the rights of asylum-seeking children are respected and protected in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The report reviews relevant national legislative and policy frameworks; examines how these are implemented; documents good practices; and highlights gaps in national standards and their compliance to international standards. It makes some broad recommendations on how to strengthen and extend legal, policy and practice frameworks to ensure the full realization and protection of child asylum seekers’ rights and entitlements in the Nordic region. It further provides country-specific detailed, practical recommendations on how to ensure protection and welfare for asylum-seeking children. It makes country-specific recommendations on how legal, policy and practice frameworks can be strengthened to ensure full protection of children’s rights and entitlements.
Target 2.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for an end to hunger, in all its forms, by 2030. Measuring food security among children under age 5, who represent a quarter of the world’s population, remains a challenge that is largely unfeasible for current global monitoring systems. The SDG framework has agreed to use the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) to measure moderate and severe food insecurity. The FIES is an experience-based metric that reports food-related behaviours on the inability to access food due to resource constraints. We present the first global estimates of the share and number of children below age 15, who live with a respondent who is food insecure.
UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti has worked on research related to support for families and parents since 2013. In particular, Innocenti supported research on the Sinovuyo Caring Families Programme for Parents and Teens, by partnering with Oxford University in doing qualitative research that examined service delivery mechanisms and implications for taking it to scale.
Based on an evidence-focused literature review, this paper examines existing knowledge on raising adolescents in east and southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Country selection was based on the availability of relevant literature and data. The vast majority of studies on parenting and adolescent development is based on research from the global north. This research sought to deepen understandings of family life, care practices and support networks in the east and southern African region so as to inform policy and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided. In addition, a framework for exploring contextually-relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.
Existing evidence is inconclusive on whether a socio-economic gradient in children’s cognitive ability widens, narrows or remains stable over time and there is little research on the extent of ‘cognitive mobility’ of children who had a poor start in life compared to their peers. Using data from five sweeps of the United Kingdom (UK) Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) at the ages of 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years and 11 years, this paper explores the cognitive ability trajectory of children in the bottom decile of the distribution at a given age.