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Innocenti Research Report

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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports

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Life in Colours: Children’s and adolescents’ experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic
Life in Colours: Children’s and adolescents’ experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

This report recounts the journeys of a group of adolescents through the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, one of the first countries to be affected by the virus. It is the first product of an in-depth qualitative study that aims to understand the experiences of children and young people from their point of view and through their words.

The data for this project were collected online between February and June 2021 with 114 participants between the ages of 10 and 19, who attended lower and upper secondary schools in 16 regions of Italy, and included children and young people who identify as LGBTQI+, unaccompanied and separated children, and adolescents from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 

It’s Difficult to Grow Up in an Apocalypse: Children's and adolescents' experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada
It’s Difficult to Grow Up in an Apocalypse: Children's and adolescents' experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada

AUTHOR(S)
Heather L. Ramey; Heather L. Lawford; Yana Berardini; Sarah Caimano; Sarah Epp; Chantelle Edwards; Lisa Wolff

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

According to children and youth in Canada, what were the negative and positive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives? How did they experience changes in their relationships; daily schedule; time at home; use of technology; or feelings of anger, worry, loneliness or gratitude? How were these experienced by marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ and Indigenous children and youth?

To date, research on Canadian children’s and youth’s experiences during the pandemic has lacked a broad exploration of their own perspectives. This qualitative study, however, was informed by three child and youth advisory teams, with input from 10 focus groups; 23 semi-structured interviews and a total of 74 young people (10–19), from four provinces and one territory.

The report concludes with a set of 4 policy recommendations – by its participants – addressed to federal, provincial/territorial and local governments, as well as to school districts, and child and youth service sectors.

Drivers of Primary School Dropout in Mozambique: Longitudinal assessment of school dropout in 2019
Drivers of Primary School Dropout in Mozambique: Longitudinal assessment of school dropout in 2019
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

The Avaliação Longitudinal da Desistência Escolar (ALDE, Longitudinal Assessment of School Dropout) is the first nationally representative mixed-method longitudinal survey in Mozambique. Since 2018, the ALDE survey has annually collected longitudinal, nationally representative data from around 5,400 primary school students (from grades 1 to 7) in 60 schools across all eleven provinces in the country.

This report presents the results of the quantitative data collected in 2019 and focuses on the determinants of school dropouts in the country. When children leave school prematurely, not only is their learning interrupted, but the trajectories of their future opportunities and lives are forever altered. This report explores the multidimensional process of school dropouts, investigating how individual, household, community and school-level factors interact to lead children in Mozambique to dropout of education. Through this analysis, the report provides important and actionable recommendations to improve education policy in Mozambique towards its journey to achieve learning for every child.

Analyse méthodologique pour la recherche Data Must Speak: Enseignements tirés de l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en oeuvre et de la science de la mise à l’échelle
Analyse méthodologique pour la recherche Data Must Speak: Enseignements tirés de l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en oeuvre et de la science de la mise à l’échelle

AUTHOR(S)
Lorena Levano Gavidia; Cirenia Chavez; Alvaro Fortin; Luca Maria Pesando; Renaud Comba

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

La pandémie a aggravé une crise de l'apprentissage et mis en péril les objectifs mondiaux. Et pourtant, même dans les contextes éducatifs les plus difficiles, certaines écoles obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que d'autres, situées dans des contextes similaires et avec un niveau de ressources équivalent. Pourquoi ces écoles exceptionnelles, connues sous le nom d'écoles "modèles positives", obtiennent-elles de meilleurs résultats en matière d'apprentissage, de rétention, d'équité et d'égalité des sexes ?

Data Must Speak (DMS) - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves tangibles pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. Le volet recherche de DMS est cocréé avec les ministères de l'éducation. Il s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes pour générer des connaissances, parallèlement à des enseignements pratiques sur ce qui fonctionne, pourquoi et comment mettre à l'échelle des solutions de terrain pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale dans le domaine de l'éducation.

La recherche utilise des approches innovantes et complémentaires telles que l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et de la science de la mise à l'échelle pour identifier et mettre à l'échelle les comportements et les pratiques des écoles "modèles positives". Cette revue méthodologique présente les définitions, concepts et méthodologies clés de ces approches afin de guider et d'informer le développement et la mise en œuvre de la recherche DMS au niveau national. En s'appuyant sur des exemples existants tirés de la recherche sur l'éducation et d'autres domaines, cet revue propose également les meilleures pratiques et les leçons tirées de ces approches qui peuvent être utilisées comme référence commune et langage standard pour leurs applications futures.

Promoting Gender-Transformative Change through Social Protection: An analytical approach
Promoting Gender-Transformative Change through Social Protection: An analytical approach
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Social protection can reduce income poverty and food and economic insecurity, address financial barriers to accessing social services, and promote positive development outcomes throughout the life course – particularly for women and girls. But can it address preexisting gender inequalities through the design, implementation and financing of its programmes?

To strengthen the evidence base ‘what works’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ for social protection to contribute to gender equality, this report proposes and presents an analytical approach to evidence generation on gender-responsive social protection for gender-transformative change. It builds on the Gender-Responsive Age-Sensitive Social Protection (GRASSP) conceptual framework, and on the theoretical, conceptual and empirical literature on gender and social protection. Structured as a socio-ecological framework, our approach presents three interconnected change pathways – at the individual, household and societal level – through which gender-responsive social protection can contribute to gender-transformative results, along with tailored design and implementation features, and underpinned by a set of change levers that existing evidence suggests can strengthen the gender-responsiveness of social protection systems.

A Methodological Review for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research: Insights from Positive Deviance, Behavioural Sciences, Implementation Research and Scaling Science
A Methodological Review for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research: Insights from Positive Deviance, Behavioural Sciences, Implementation Research and Scaling Science

AUTHOR(S)
Lorena Levano Gavidia; Cirenia Chavez; Alvaro Fortin; Luca Maria Pesando; Renaud Comba

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

The pandemic has aggravated a learning crisis and put global goals in jeopardy. And yet, even in the most challenging educational contexts, some schools outperform others located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Why do these exceptional schools, known as ‘positive deviant’ schools, achieve improved outcomes in learning, retention, equity and gender equality?

Data Must Speak (DMS) – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. DMS’s research component is co-created with ministries of education. It relies on mixed methods to generate knowledge, alongside practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how to’ scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.

The research utilizes innovative and complementary approaches of positive deviance, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science to identify and scale up behaviours and practices of ‘positive deviant’ schools. This methodological review presents key definitions, concepts and methodologies of those approaches to guide and inform the development and implementation of the DMS research at country level. By drawing on existing examples from research on education and other fields, this review also offers best practices and lessons learned from those approaches that can be used as a common reference and standard language for future application.

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 – Eastern and Southern Africa
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

The widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the learning crisis for children living in Eastern and Southern Africa. The crisis has also shown the great need to develop resilient education systems that can provide learning when schools are forced to close. Understanding how to provide remote learning equitably utilizing multiple modalities and emphasizing low-tech solutions in Eastern and Southern Africa is critical given the great challenges facing the region in terms of electricity and connectivity access. This report provides a summary of lessons learned in the East and Southern Africa region from remote learning during COVID-19 and provides concrete recommendations on how to increase the resilience of education systems.

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being.

Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society.

To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.

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.

Where are we on Education Recovery? Taking the Global Pulse of a RAPID Response
Where are we on Education Recovery? Taking the Global Pulse of a RAPID Response

AUTHOR(S)
Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi; Robert Jenkins; Pragya Dewan; Nicolas Reuge; Haogen Yao; Anna Alejo; Aisling Falconer; Borhene Chakroun; Gwang-Chol Chang; João Pedro Azevedo; Alonso Sánchez; Stefania Giannini; Mathieu Brossard; Thomas Dreesen; Jessica Bergmann

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report
Two years into the COVID-19 global pandemic, education has been seriously disrupted. In response to this crisis, the global priority remains to ensure every child is supported so they can return to school and catch up on lost learning.

Recognizing the need to accelerate education recovery with urgent, at-scale action, this joint report by UNICEF in partnership with UNESCO and the World Bank highlights staggering levels of learning loss globally and takes stock of the measures being taken by countries to mitigate learning losses as schools reopen. Based on a survey of 122 UNICEF country and fundraising offices administered in early March 2022, the report presents the importance of and progress made in five key actions for education recovery, the RAPID:

Reach every child and retain them in school;

Assess learning levels;

Prioritize teaching the fundamentals;

Increase catch-up learning and progress beyond what was lost; and

Develop psychosocial health and well-being so every child is ready to learn.
Cite this publication | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education
Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis
Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis

AUTHOR(S)
Vidhya Ganesh; Robert Jenkins; Mark Hereward; Yanhong Zhang; Suguru Mizunoya; Peggy Kelly; Diogo Amaro; Sakshi Mishra; Garen Avanesian; Yixin Wang; Michelle Kaffenberger; Jason Silberstein; Silvia Beatriz Montoya; Mathieu Brossard

Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were serious questions about whether children were actually learning. With widespread school closures and other disruptions to the education system brought about by the pandemic, the learning crisis has escalated to new heights. As the pandemic enters its third year, 23 countries – home to around 405 million schoolchildren – are yet to fully open schools, with many schoolchildren at risk of dropping out. Over the past two years nearly 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person schooling, amounting to 2 trillion hours of lost learning. Children have to get back to the classroom, but changes are needed to ensure that they really learn, starting with the foundational basics of reading and numeracy. 

This report offers unique insight into the extent of the learning crisis by providing an in-depth picture of which children are most at risk of not acquiring foundational learning skills. The analysis of 32 low- and middle-income countries and territories uses newly released data to examine the equity perspectives of the crisis, exploring learning outcomes among different subgroups of children, with a focus on the most vulnerable. 
Cite this publication | Thematic area: Education | Tags: education
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