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Financing quality social services will require increased public investment and greater mobilization of both domestic and international resources in the post-COVID era. Currently, low- and middle-income countries invest, on average, just one third of their total government expenditure in social spending on education, health and social protection. However, the fiscal space to enhance social spending remains constrained in many parts of the world. Given the scale of the challenge facing many countries, a renewed focus on financing social spending is needed to address widening inequalities.
This policy brief is the second in a series that assesses key issues affecting social spending as part of UNICEF’s work on Public Finance for Children. The brief examines how recent trends are impacting on the financing available for, and directed to, social spending in low- and middle-income countries in different regions, using secondary analysis of public expenditure data collected by international organizations. It calculates median spending figures by region and income group, using World Bank regional aggregates for domestic spending.
Maria Carolina Alban Conto
L'absentéisme des enseignants a été identifié comme l’un des principaux obstacles au progrès éducatif et à l’apprentissage des enfants au Maroc. Des études antérieures suggèrent que le taux d’absentéisme scolaire est de 4,4 pour cent et que le taux d’absentéisme en classe est de 5,5 pour cent, avec des chiffres plus élevés dans les écoles publiques et rurales. Bien qu’il existe peu d’analyses empiriques sur l’incidence de l’absentéisme des enseignants dans les écoles primaires et secondaires du pays, certaines études récentes montrent qu’il contribue à l’inefficacité des dépenses d’éducation. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu'exacerber les défis existants. L’étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler le manque de connaissances relatives aux motivations et aux facteurs associés à l’absentéisme des enseignants du primaire et du secondaire collégial au Maroc.
L'absentéisme des enseignants est un défi particulier affectant la qualité de l'éducation au Gabon. Des études antérieures suggèrent que les enseignants du primaire sont absents en moyenne 2 jours par mois, ce qui affecte directement les progrès éducatifs et l'apprentissage des enfants. Bien que le défi de l'absentéisme soit reconnu par les acteurs politiques nationaux comme l’un des problèmes les plus répandus dans le système éducatif du pays, les études sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui influencent l’assiduité des enseignants au Gabon restent rares. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu'exacerber les défis existants. L'étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler ce manque de connaissances et à renforcer la base de preuves sur les différents types d'assiduité des enseignants du primaire et les facteurs qui y contribuent.
Youngkwang Jeon; Akihiro Fushimi; Dominic Koeppl; Thomas Dreesen
COVID-19 school closures in East Asia and the Pacific threaten to widen existing learning inequities and increase the number of children out of school. During the pandemic, governments rapidly deployed remote learning strategies, ranging from paper-based take-home materials to digital platforms. However, lack of electricity – critical to connectivity – remains a key obstacle for the region, particularly in rural areas. Therefore, while digital learning platforms were offered by most Southeast Asian countries, take-up was low.
A combination of modalities – including mobile phone-based learning strategies – and collaboration with a range of non-governmental education stakeholders have the potential to enhance the reach of remote learning and to make it more engaging for students. Lessons from the regional implementation of these strategies emphasize the importance of research to understand the needs of students, educators and parents and the impact of remote learning, especially in low-resource contexts.
Radhika Nagesh; Frank van Cappelle; Vidur Chopra; Thomas Dreesen
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.
Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa; Marco Valenza; Vincenzo Placco; Thomas Dreesen
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.
Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa
In Rwanda, over 3.5 million children were estimated to be out of school in 2020 when the country closed all schools as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. The government quickly developed a national response plan and started the process of hiring teachers, constructing classrooms and training in-service teachers in remote-learning pedagogies. Prior to the lockdown, schools were already experiencing challenges, including low attendance rates. In the post-COVID-19 environment, learning losses are expected to be significant, especially on the acquisition of foundational skills, and will hinder the ministry's efforts to achieve the learning outcomes of its new competence-based curriculum.
A Time to Teach study in 2020 in Rwanda found that low teacher attendance was a common problem in primary schools. This study seeks to support the Ministry of Education by providing a comprehensive understanding of secondary school teacher attendance in the country. It builds on findings from the primary schools' study, to understand how attendance challenges may be similar or different across education levels, and more importantly, how these can help inform teacher policy design and implementation.
Thomas Dreesen; Akito Kamei; Despina Karamperidou; Sara Abou Fakher; Lama Marji; Javier Santiago Ortiz Correa
Digital learning has the potential to offer interactive and personalized learning for children, in and out of school, including the most marginalized. However, depending on programme design, delivery, and use, digital learning can also exacerbate learning inequalities. This report presents tangible findings on the implementation and use of digital learning to improve outcomes for marginalized children in Lebanon. This report focuses on the UNICEF-Akelius Foundation Partnership and its implementation of a digital course used on tablets and mobile phones for language learning of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The report provides findings across three areas: First, the report investigates the digital course’s use in a blended learning environment where it was used on tablets by students as part of traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with teachers. Second, the analysis examines the transition to remote learning where the course was used on devices owned by the household, supported by teachers remotely. Third, the report estimates the effectiveness of the use of the digital course during this period of remote learning from August–November 2020 showing positive results for language and art competencies.
Dominic Richardson; Marloes Vrolijk; Sabbiana Cunsolo; Victor Cebotari
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
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.
Mathieu Brossard; Jessica Bergmann
Artur Borkowski; Bindu Sunny; Juliana Zapata
Education systems in South Asia are complex and fragmented. Despite high engagement and involvement of Non-State Actors (NSA) in education, there is a lack of comprehensive policy to govern them. Achieving better learning outcomes for children in South Asia requires understanding the wide variety of NSA providers and unpacking how these different actors engage with and influence education provision. Through a meta-analysis of existing evidence, this report presents findings on learning outcomes in public and non-state schools and the implications on quality, equity and safety of education delivery in the region. It also uncovers critical gaps in evidence that need to be addressed to show what is really working, for whom, where and at what cost.
L'absentéisme des enseignants est un défi particulier qui affecte les progrès éducatifs et l'apprentissage des enfants en Guinée. Des études antérieures suggèrent que 15 pour cent des élèves considèrent l'absentéisme des enseignants comme l'une des principales raisons de leur insatisfaction à l'égard de l'école. Bien que le défi de l'absentéisme soit reconnu par les acteurs politiques nationaux, les études sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui influencent l’assiduité des enseignants en Guinée restent rares. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu'exacerber les défis existants. L'étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler ce manque de connaissances et à renforcer la base de preuves sur les différents types d'assiduité des enseignants du primaire et les facteurs qui y contribuent.
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