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Education

Research on Education and Development
Education

A global learning crisis is undermining children’s education and their futures. Pre-COVID, more than half of children in low- and middle-income countries could not read and understand a simple text by age 10. In poor countries, this “learning poverty” rate was as high as 80 percent. Due to COVID-19, an additional 10 percent of children globally will fall into learning poverty.

UNICEF Innocenti’s education research looks to address the learning crisis to ensure that every child learns. By co-creating the research with Governments, implementing partners, and communities, evidence is embedded within programmes for maximizing its use. Innocenti’s education research focuses on three areas: i) what works at school level (service delivery); ii) what works at policy level (system strengthening); and iii) how to scale up what works and address the “know-do” gaps between policies and their implementation (scaling and implementation science).

COVID-19 and Education 

COVID-19 school closures have laid bare how unprepared education systems are to deal with crises and has uncovered the uneven distribution of the technology needed for remote learning. We are investigating impacts of school closures on children and how to design and deliver effective remote learning for more resilient education systems. To deliver high quality rapid and useful research on COVID-19 and education, this research agenda is done close collaboration with the education section and Data and Analytics team in UNICEF, regional offices, and partners such as the World Bank, UNESCO and WFP. 

Data Must Speak

Despite the global learning crisis, even in the most difficult contexts, there are some  “positive deviant” schools that outperform others in terms of learning, gender equality, and retention. Since 2019, in line with UNICEF's Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Programme, Data Must Speak (DMS) identifies these positive deviant schools, explores which practices make them outperform others, and investigates how these could be implemented in lower performing schools in similar contexts. DMS uses a participatory, mixed-methods approach to improve uptake, replicability, and sustainability. The research is being undertaken in ten countries across two continents.

Digital Learning

UNICEF Innocenti’s digital learning research investigates the development, implementation, and effectiveness of digital learning across various connectivity settings (no/low/high), types of learning (blended/remote), populations, and education goals. Monitoring and implementation research is built into large scale digital learning programmes, such as Learning Passport and the UNICEF-Akelius Foundation partnership. Research is currently being carried out in: Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Lebanon, Mauritania, Serbia, Timor Leste. By embedding rapid mixed methods research into these programmes, this research provides timely evidence to improve digital learning solutions for all children. We not only examine what works, but also how it works in order to develop the key steps to achieve effective and inclusive digital learning.  

Let Us Learn

Let Us Learn (LUL) uses innovation in education delivery to improve learning for vulnerable children in five countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal. LUL programmes support children across the education lifecycle: from early childhood education; to primary and secondary school, and finally through to vocational training. Programmes are targeted to the most marginalized, such as children who are out of school or at high risk of dropping out. Mixed methods research builds evidence on how these programmes work and are effective in improving the outcomes of vulnerable children.

Sport for Development

Sport for Development (S4D) uses sports to achieve crucial outcomes for children and youth, such as learning, health, empowerment and protection. Collaborating with partners, including the Barça Foundation, this research aims to expand the evidence base on S4D. Building on the findings of the Getting into the Game report, the second phase of this mixed-methods study includes in-depth, exploratory case studies of S4D organizations and programmes  across the globe. By harnessing the experiences of stakeholders from different countries, it identifies best practices and aims to develop a clear set of guidelines on designing, implementing, and ensuring the sustainability and scale-up of effective S4D programmes for children and youth. 

Time to Teach

Teachers attending lessons and spending sufficient time on task is a critical prerequisite for learning in school. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism is as high as 45 per cent. Time to Teach identifies factors affecting teacher attendance and uses this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies in twenty African countries. Drawing from both quantitative and qualitative data on a range of topics—from motivation to retention—this research aims to identify solutions for sustainable change. 

Teachers for All

African countries are facing the world’s worst teacher shortage. To shore up the deficit and achieve universal primary education by 2030, 6.1 million primary school teachers need to be hired in Africa alone. As COVID-19 exacerbates pressures placed on education budgets, it is crucial that the allocation of quality teachers in Africa is driven by a quest for equity, effectiveness, and efficiency, since no child should be deprived of learning opportunities because of the school they attend or their area of residence. UNICEF Innocenti is seeking to expand the evidence base on teacher allocation in Africa in order to identify how the allocation of qualified teachers can be optimized to improve equity in learning outcomes. While the equity of primary school teacher allocation is the intended focus of this research, pre-primary teacher allocation will also be analyzed. 

Women in Learning Leadership

School leaders play a critical role in creating high-quality teaching and learning environments within their schools that can contribute to improving student learning outcomes. Early analysis from UNICEF Innocenti and other organizations shows that women-led schools may perform better than schools led by men. Yet, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership roles. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as few as 1 in 10 primary school leaders is a woman. The Women in Learning Leadership (WiLL) research aims to expand the evidence base on gender and school leadership and identify concrete policy and programmatic measures for increasing women’s representation. Using mixed-methods research, the project will examine the various contextual, cultural, societal, and structural barriers preventing women from advancing into school leadership roles.  

Publications

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa
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Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa

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

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.
Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis
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Are Children Really Learning? Exploring foundational skills in the midst of a learning crisis

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

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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Ghana

Education has been a priority for Ghana since its independence, with current expenditures representing double the average for Africa and other developing nations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government aimed to enhance the quality of education and teacher attendance, including improving school infrastructure and providing textbooks and incentive packages to attract more teachers to rural and remote areas. However, the disruption of the pandemic forced school closures and economic consequences, threatening to push millions of vulnerable children out of the education system, widen inequalities and impede progress on the country’s development goals. The Ghana Time to Teach research project set out to capture teachers’ voices and provide a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in pre-tertiary schools in the country. Although data collection for this study was completed before the onset of COVID-19, it provides valuable insights into how the national education system can be strengthened to improve teacher motivation, attendance, and time on task. Detailed findings, analysis and policy implications can be found in the report.
Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire
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Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire

Si la Côte d’Ivoire a accompli de grands progrès pour faciliter l’accès à son système éducatif et en améliorer la qualité, d’importantes lacunes subsistent en matière d’apprentissage et de réussite des élèves. On estime que huit enfants sur dix en Côte d’Ivoire ne maîtrisent pas la lecture à l’âge de 10 ans et disposent de compétences insuffisantes en mathématiques à la sortie du primaire. Les données probantes existantes suggèrent que l'absentéisme des enseignants serait responsable de la perte d'environ 25 pour cent du temps d'enseignement dans les écoles primaires du pays. Si l’on tient compte de l’absentéisme des élèves et des retards dans le calendrier scolaire, la perte moyenne s’élève à deux mois par année scolaire. La présente étude « Time to Teach » vise à contribuer à une meilleure compréhension de l’assiduité des enseignants dans les écoles primaires en Côte d’Ivoire. Pour ce faire, l’étude adopte un concept large de l’absentéisme des enseignants, qui comprend : l’absence de l’école, le manque de ponctualité, l’absence de la salle de classe et la réduction du temps d’enseignement.
 What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic
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What's next? Lessons on education recovery: Findings from a survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have collaborated in the third round of the Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures, administered by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and OECD to Ministry of Education officials. The questions covered four levels of education: preprimary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary. While the first two rounds of the survey were implemented during the periods May–June and July–October 2020, respectively, the third round was implemented during the period February–June 2021. In total, 143 countries responded to the questionnaire. Thirty-one countries submitted responses to the OECD (“OECD survey”) and 112 countries responded to the UIS (“UIS survey”). Seven countries responded to both surveys. In these instances, the more complete set responses were used in analysis.
Digital Learning for Every Child: Closing the Gaps for an Inclusive and Prosperous Future
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Digital Learning for Every Child: Closing the Gaps for an Inclusive and Prosperous Future

Pre-Covid-19, half of the world’s children were already unable to read a simple text by the age of 10. School closures have deepened pre-existing learning disparities, within and among countries, due to inequities in access to technology. This brief summarises research findings and provides actionable recommendations for how to equitably scale up digital learning and provide children and young people with the skills to improve their prospects and safeguard their well-being. It pinpoints solutions for education systems’ use of digital and blended learning anchored in a sound pedagogical approach and urges the G20 and other countries to overcome the barriers that limit the potential benefits of digital learning.
Education sector analysis methodological guidelines Volume 3
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Education sector analysis methodological guidelines Volume 3

This present volume is the third in a series of education sector analysis (ESA) guidelines following two volumes published in 2014. The series provides methodologies and applied examples for diagnosing education systems and informing national education policies and plans. This volume proposes guidelines to strengthen national capacities in analyzing education systems in four areas: inclusive education system for children with disabilities, risk analysis for resilient education systems, functioning and effectiveness of the educational administration, and stakeholder mapping and problem-driven analysis (governance and political economy). The present volume was prepared by experts from various backgrounds (including education, economics, sociology, political science and other social sciences) from UNESCO‘s International Institute for Educational Planning, UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Global Partnership for Education.
The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery
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The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery

The global disruption to education caused by the COVD-19 pandemic is without parallel and the effects on learning are severe. The crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt, with school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion learners. While nearly every country in the world offered remote learning opportunities for students, the quality and reach of such initiatives varied greatly and were at best partial substitutes for in-person learning. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children and youth, and millions more are at risk of never returning to education. Evidence of the detrimental impacts of school closures on children’s learning offer a harrowing reality: learning losses are substantial, with the most marginalized children and youth often disproportionately affected.
Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres
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Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

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.
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires et secondaires collégiales au Maroc
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Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires et secondaires collégiales au Maroc

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.
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Gabon
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Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Gabon

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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda

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.
Unlocking Learning: The implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
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Unlocking Learning: The implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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.
Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – East Asia and the Pacific
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Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning During COVID-19 – East Asia and the Pacific

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

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

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.  
Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery
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Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery

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.
How Much Does Universal Digital Learning Cost?
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How Much Does Universal Digital Learning Cost?

COVID-19 school closures initially revealed more than 75% of children lacked access to critical digital learning opportunities. Three out of four were living in the poorest 40% of households. Digital learning is impossible without connectivity and electricity. However, in places like Chad, Malawi and Niger, the proportion of people with access to electricity is below 1 in 5. What efforts will ensure these children are not further left behind in future crises if schools are again closed? How much will universal access to digital learning cost? The answer is US$1.4 trillion. This paper estimates the cost of universalizing digital learning by 2030, in alignment with the conceptual framework of the Reimagine Education initiative. It provides a rationale for cost assumptions; classifies costs into enabling digital learning and delivering digital learning; and, finally, discusses financing achievability by comparing the estimated costs with current spending in education and other sectors. How much it will cost in your country? For a localized costing, download the National Guide Price Generator from the dropdown menu.
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Guinée
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Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Guinée

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.
Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia
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Time to Teach: Understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia

In Liberia, recurring school absenteeism and post abandonment are considered critical obstacles to quality education. Although national political actors recognize absenteeism as a major impediment to quality education, studies on the factors influencing teacher attendance in the country, including national policies and practices at the community and school levels, remain scarce. Also, there is a lack of knowledge on the direct and indirect ways the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it impact primary school teachers. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The report provides valuable insights into how the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate existing education system challenges that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also collects and strengthens the evidence base on the factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.
Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa
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Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 in West and Central Africa

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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria

Prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had taken measures to improve the quality of education and of teachers’ working conditions such as by improving school infrastructure and accelerating teacher training programs, and providing incentive schemes for teachers. While education is free and compulsory, Nigeria reports the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of school closures, and the shift towards remote learning are anticipated to pose further constraints and push even more vulnerable children out of the education system. Teacher absenteeism and the poor use of instructional time are also significant problems for the Nigerian education system, negatively affect students’ academic performance and learning. This Time to Teach study seeks to support both federal and state governments by providing a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in the country’s primary schools. It also aims to provide insights into how attendance challenges may be similar or different across the types of schools (public/Quranic/private) and settings (urban/rural) and more importantly, how these can inform teacher policy design and implementation. Though data were collected prior to COVID-19 school closures, this study also aims to provide insights on how the pandemic may further exacerbate existing challenges.
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Togo
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Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires au Togo

L'absentéisme des enseignants est un défi particulier affectant la qualité de l'éducation au Togo. Des études précédentes suggèrent qu'une fois dans la salle de classe, les enseignants n'enseignaient que 79 pour cent du temps, ce qui signifie que près d'un cinquième du temps était consacré à d'autres activités. Cette réduction du temps d'enseignement était exacerbée par l'absentéisme des enseignants. 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 et enseignantes au Togo restent rares. La pandémie de COVID-19 ne fera qu’aggraver les défis existants au sein du système éducatif togolais. L’étude Time to Teach (TTT) vise à combler ce manque de connaissances et à renforcer la base de données factuelles sur les différents types d’assiduité des enseignants du primaire, et les facteurs qui y contribuent.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire has made great strides in improving access and quality in its education system, but significant gaps in student learning and achievement remain. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 Ivorian children are not proficient in reading by the age of 10, and do not have enough math skills at the end of primary school. In Côte d’Ivoire, teacher absenteeism is estimated to responsible for the loss of approximately 25 per cent of teaching time. In the specific case of primary education, it is estimated that teacher absenteeism and other calendar delays are responsible for the loss of two months of courses per year on average. This Time to Teach study seeks to contribute to a better understanding of teacher attendance in Côte d’Ivoire’s primary schools. The study adapts a broad concept of teacher absenteeism which includes: absence from school, lack of teacher punctuality, absence from the classroom and reduction in the time dedicated to teaching.
Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Mauritanie
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Time to Teach: La fréquentation des enseignants et le temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Mauritanie

L'absentéisme des enseignants et le non-respect du temps scolaire constituent un obstacle persistant à l'apprentissage universel de qualité en République Islamique de Mauritanie. Cependant, les données vérifiées sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques relatives à l'assiduité des enseignants en Mauritanie restent rares. Dans l'environnement post-COVID-19, il y a raison de s'inquiéter du fait que l'ampleur des répercussions sociales et économiques de la pandémie aggrave davantage les défis existants au sein du système éducatif mauritanien. L'étude Time to Teach cherche à combler ce manque de connaissances.
Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Niger
Publication

Time to Teach: L’assiduité des enseignants et le temps consacré à l’enseignement dans les écoles primaires en Niger

L’absentéisme des enseignants représente l’un des principaux défis pour parvenir à l’apprentissage universel dans de nombreux pays en développement, où les taux d’absence des enseignants varient de 3% à 27%. Une fois dans la salle de classe, les enseignants ne consacrent que 77% de leur temps prévu aux tâches d’enseignement. Dans l’environnement post COVID-19, il y a inquiétude que l’ampleur des répercussions sociales et économiques de la pandémie n’aggrave encore ces chiffres. Bien que le défi de l’absentéisme soit reconnu par les acteurs locaux de l’éducation, les études sur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui influencent l’assiduité des enseignants au Niger restent rares. L’étude Time to Teach (TTT) cherche à combler ce manque de connaissances.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Guinea-Bissau
Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Guinea-Bissau

Teacher absenteeism is one of the most troubling obstacles on the path toward universal access to learning opportunities at school. Over the past decades, studies have found that teacher absenteeism is particularly prevalent in certain parts of Africa. While Guinea-Bissau has not administered or taken part in regional or international efforts to systematically monitor and assess the rates of teacher absenteeism, the issue is noted in the 2017–2025 Education Sector Plan, which includes an aim to strengthen controls on teacher absenteeism. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill this important knowledge gap and support the Ministry of National Education and Higher Education in its efforts to strengthen the teachers’ role in school to increase their time on task. This study outlines the various forms of primary school teacher absenteeism (e.g., absence from school, classroom, teaching, etc.), explores teacher absenteeism from a systemic perspective and identifies factors at different levels of the education system that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also identifies gaps in teacher policy and policy implementation linked to identified determinants of absenteeism and barriers to higher teacher attendance rates, and identifies promising practices and actionable policy recommendations on increasing teachers’ time on task.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in The Gambia
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in The Gambia

The international standards for teaching time in a year are 880 hours. In The Gambia, dedicated teaching time in a year is 734 hours. This reduced time is exacerbated by teacher absenteeism that varies across the different regions in the country from 12 to 30%, and is a barrier to achieving the required learning outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding an already compromised learning and teaching environment in The Gambia. This Time to Teach study looks at four dimensions of teacher attendance: being in school; being punctual (i.e., not arriving late/leaving early); being in the classroom (while in school); and spending sufficient time on task (while in the classroom). It also identifies factors associated with teacher absenteeism at five different levels of the education system: national, subnational, community, school, and teacher. This report provides recommendations that may help strengthen the ministry’s efforts to improve teachers’ time on task in The Gambia. .
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and Time on Task in West and Central Africa – Summary
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and Time on Task in West and Central Africa – Summary

In sub-Saharan Africa, the loss of teaching hours due to teacher absenteeism corresponds to a waste of approximately 46 cents for every US dollar invested in education, an annual wastage of 1–3% of GDP. This brief summarizes the results of research in 11 countries in West and Central Africa under the Time to Teach study, a project in UNICEF that aims to provide critical insights into the factors that underpin different forms of primary school teacher absenteeism. It explains the frequency of teacher absenteeism in four forms—absence from school, lateness or early departure, absence from the classroom, and reduced time on task – and the reasons teachers give for their absence. But teachers are also motivated by factors such as training, availability of teaching and learning resources, and other non-system factors. More details are available in the country reports.
ບົົດຄັັດຫຍໍ້ດ້້ າ້ ນນະໂຍບາຍ 2 ຜູ້ອໍາານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ ມີີ ປະສິິດທິິພາບສູູງ: ພວກເຂົາົ ມີີຄຸ ນຸ ລັກັ ສະນະ ແລະ ປະສົົບການ ທີ່່ດີີຄືື ແນວໃດ?
Publication

ບົົດຄັັດຫຍໍ້ດ້້ າ້ ນນະໂຍບາຍ 2 ຜູ້ອໍາານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ ມີີ ປະສິິດທິິພາບສູູງ: ພວກເຂົາົ ມີີຄຸ ນຸ ລັກັ ສະນະ ແລະ ປະສົົບການ ທີ່່ດີີຄືື ແນວໃດ?

ໃນຂະນະທີ່ລັດຖະບານແຫ່ງ ສປປ ລາວ, ໂດຍຜ່ານກະຊວງສຶກສາທິການ ແລະ ກິລາ ແລະ ຄູ່ຮ່ວມພັດທະນາໄດ້ມີຄວາມຄືບໜ້າຢ່າງບໍ່ຢຸດຢັ້ງໃນການຂະຫຍາຍການເຂົ້າເຖິງການສຶກສາທີ່ມີຄຸນນະພາບ, ແຕ່ກໍ່ຍັງມີເດັກນ້ອຍຈຳນວນຫຼາຍທີ່ຍັງອອກໂຮງຮຽນຊັ້ນປະຖົມສຶກສາ ໂດຍທີ່ຍັງບໍ່ສາມາດ ອ່ານ ແລະ ຂຽນໄດ້ ຕາມເກນອາຍຸຂອງເຂົາເຈົ້າ. ແຕ່ໃນສະພາບວິກິດທາງດ້ານການຮຽນແບບນີ້, ກໍຍັງມີໂຮງຮຽນຈຳນວນໜຶ່ງທີ່ປະຕິບັດໄດ້ດີ ແລະ ຜົນເດັນຫຼາຍກວ່າໂຮງຮຽນອື່ນທີ່ມີທີ່ຕັ້ງ ແລະ ສະພາບທີ່ຄ້າຍຄືກັນ ແລະ ມີຊັບພະຍາກອນເທົ່າໆກັນ. ຂໍ້ມູນທີ່ໄດ້ຕ້ອງບອກເຖິງຄວາມຈິງ (DMS) ການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາກ່ຽວກັບໂຮງຮຽນພັດທະນາ ເປັນວິທີການແບບປະສົມປະສານ ແລະ ມີຫຼາຍຂັ້ນຕອນຢ່າງລະອຽດ, ທີ່ໄດ້ມີການຮ່ວມມືກັນ ໃນການພັດທະນາ ແລະ ຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດ ຮ່ວມກັບ ກະຊວງສຶກສາທິການ ແລະ ກິລາ ແຫ່ງ ສປປ ລາວ. ຈຸດປະສົງແມ່ນເພື່ອສ້າງເປັນຄວາມຮູ້ກ່ຽວກັບລັກສະນະສະເພາະຂອງ ໂຮງຮຽນພັດທະນາ ຫຼື ໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ມີປະສິດທິພາບສູງ ໃນການປະຕິບັດຕົວຈິງທີ່ດີ ແລະ ມີຜົນສຳເລັດ. ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາຍັງເປັນການຊີ້ໃຫ້ເຫັນ ແລະ ເພື່ອຜັນຂະຫຍາຍ ບົດຮຽນໃນພາກປະຕິບັດຕົວຈິງກ່ຽວກັບ 'ສິ່ງທີ່ສາມາດເຮັດໄດ້' ແລະ ວິທີການແກ້ໄຂຂັ້ນຮາກຖານ ສຳລັບຂະແໜງການສຶກສາ ທີ່ເປັນບ່ອນອີງໃຫ້ແກ່ຂັ້ນເທີງ ເພື່ອກຳນົດນະໂຍບາຍ ແລະ ການສະໜັບສະໜູນຈາກອົງການຈັດຕັ້ງສາກົນ ຢ່າງກວ້າງຂວາງ. ບົດຄັດຫຍໍ້ດ້ານນະໂຍບາຍສະບັບນີ້ - ໄດ້ເນັ້ນໃສ່ຜູ້ອໍານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ມີປະສິດທິພາບສູງ - ເປັນສ່ວນໜຶ່ງໃນຂະບວນການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາດ້ານປະລິມານພາຍໃຕ້ຂອບຂອງໂຄງການກ່ຽວກັບຂໍ້ມູນທີ່ໄດ້ຕ້ອງບອກເຖິງຄວາມຈິງ (DMS) ທີ່ໄດ້ນໍາສະເໜີ ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄວ້ານີ້ ໃນ ສປປ ລາວ. ສຳຄັນໄປກວ່ານັ້ນ, ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄວ້າ ຍັງເປັນຂໍ້ມູນໃຫ້ແກ່ການສົນທະນາດ້ານນະໂຍບາຍ ແລະ ການຕັດສິນໃຈ ຂອງ ສປປ ລາວ ແລະ ບັນດາປະເທດອື່ນໆທີ່ມີຄວາມສົນໃຈ.
Playing the Game: A framework and toolkit for successful child focused sport for development programmes
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Playing the Game: A framework and toolkit for successful child focused sport for development programmes

To identify best practices in S4D programming and achieve a stronger evidence base on how S4D interventions can work effectively, the Playing the Game report and Toolkit draw on ten qualitative in-depth case studies undertaken with S4D organizations operating in different world regions and across various contexts, programme goals and issue areas. Findings from these ten case studies and the existing literature are brought together to develop an evidence-based guiding framework and Toolkit for S4D programming targeting children and youth.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19
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Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures around the world, affecting almost 1.6 billion students. The effects of even short disruptions in a child’s schooling on their learning and well-being have been shown to be acute and long lasting. The capacities of education systems to respond to the crisis by delivering remote learning and support to children and families have been diverse yet uneven. This report reviews the emerging evidence on remote learning throughout the global school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable, and resilient education systems for current and future crises.
Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning
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Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning

While the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Education and Sports and its development partners, has made steady progress in expanding access to quality education, many children still leave primary school with difficulties in reading and writing for their age. Despite this, there are ‘positive deviant’ schools that outperform other schools located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research is a multi-staged mixed-method approach, co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of high performing schools. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. This policy brief – focused on teachers’ capacity – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the DMS research quantitative stage in Lao PDR. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Lao PDR and other interested countries.
School Principals in Highly Effective Schools – Who are they and which good practices do they adopt?
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School Principals in Highly Effective Schools – Who are they and which good practices do they adopt?

While the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Education and Sports and its development partners, has made steady progress in expanding access to quality education, many children still leave primary school with difficulties in reading and writing for their age. Despite this, there are ‘positive deviant’ schools that outperform other schools located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research is a multi-staged mixed-method approach, co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of high performing schools. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. This policy brief – focused on school principals in highly effective schools – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the DMS research quantitative stage in Lao PDR. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Lao PDR and other interested countries.
Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school
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Let Us Continue Learning: Lessons from Madagascar for improving access and retention of vulnerable children in secondary school

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.
It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19
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It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning: Understanding and recovering from the impact of pre-primary education closures during COVID-19

This paper presents a new estimate that pre-primary school closures in 2020 may cost today’s young children US$1.6 trillion in lost earnings over their lifetimes. Children in middle-income countries will be most greatly affected. However, most low- and middle- income countries are leaving pre-primary education out of their responses to COVID-19. This paper also draws lessons from evaluations of accelerated, bridging and remedial programmes on how introducing or expanding these transition programmes in the early years can mitigate the long-term impact on learning from pre-primary school closures.
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal
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Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19: Lessons from Let Us Learn in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of society. In mid-April 2020, 192 countries had closed their schools, putting 9 out of 10 enrolled children out of school. These closures disproportionately affected marginalized children, worsening existing inequities across education systems worldwide.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Mozambique
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Mozambique

This Time to Teach study collates and strengthens the evidence base on primary school teacher absenteeism in Mozambique.
Ready to Start School, Learn and Work: Evidence from three education programmes for out-of-school children and adolescents in Bangladesh
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Ready to Start School, Learn and Work: Evidence from three education programmes for out-of-school children and adolescents in Bangladesh

Children in the Sylhet division, in the Northeast of Bangladesh, face complex challenges in accessing quality education, at all school levels. The region ranks among the poorest performers in learning attainment across education levels. UNICEF Bangladesh and its partners have leveraged resources from the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative to deliver three alternative learning pathways for out-of-school children and adolescents in remote areas of Sylhet. The three pathways cover key transition points in a child’s education: Getting ready to start school (Pre-Primary Education programme), learning foundational skills (A​bility-B​ased Accelerated Learning programme) and entering the job market (Alternative Learning Pathway programme). This report presents evidence on the achievements of the three programmes, highlighting key policy recommendations. The findings draw on analysis of programme monitoring data, qualitative case studies, focus group discussions and interviews. This paper is one of a series of research reports presenting emerging evidence on programmes supported by the LUL initiative, which aims to expand quality learning opportunities for disadvantaged children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal.
Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused Sport for Development
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Getting into the Game: Understanding the evidence for child-focused Sport for Development

Sport is a powerful means by which to engage all children in activities for personal and social development and to help them achieve their full potential. From an early age, sport provides children – including the most marginalized – with the opportunity to develop their physical abilities and health, to socialize, to build leadership skills, to foster lifelong learning and to learn as well as to have fun. Furthermore, to engage in play and recreational activities is a child’s right: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 31.1) clearly establishes “the right of the child to … leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child…”. As first of its kind global study, this report aims to address the dearth of evidence on the implementation and impact of S4D policy and programming for children. To do this, the report assesses, systematizes and maps existing evidence on S4D policies and programmes through desk-based research. Quality counts, so each chapter first assesses the evidence for its conceptual coherence, methodological and analytical strength, relevance/generalizability to the S4D field at large, and ethical considerations, before discussing the main messages and recommendations to come out of the evidence. The key messages and main conclusions have also been developed by seeking programming information from S4D programming both within UNICEF, the Barça Foundation and around the world.
Time to Teach: Assiduité des enseignants et temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires aux Comores
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Time to Teach: Assiduité des enseignants et temps d’enseignement dans les écoles primaires aux Comores

L’absentéisme des enseignants constitue un obstacle important à la réalisation d’une éducation universelle de qualité. Il est de plus en plus évident que l’absentéisme des enseignants constitue un problème particulier dans les pays à faible et moyen revenu du monde entier, les taux d’absentéisme scolaire des enseignants variant entre 15 et 45 % en Afrique subsaharienne. Aux Comores, les études existantes suggèrent que l’absentéisme des enseignants est une préoccupation latente depuis des années. Cependant, la recherchesur les facteurs, les politiques et les pratiques qui affectent la présence des enseignants restent rares. L’étude « Time to Teach » (TTT) vise à combler ce fossé de connaissance.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools South Sudan
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools South Sudan

The Government of South Sudan, through the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and its development partners, has made efforts over the past decade to rebuild South Sudan’s primary education system. Challenges to the delivery of education have persisted, both within the education system and external to it.
Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean
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Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19: Improving education outcomes for migrant and refugee children in Latin America and the Caribbean

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.
The Impact of Community Violence on Educational Outcomes: A review of the literature
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The Impact of Community Violence on Educational Outcomes: A review of the literature

In recent decades, violence in and around schools has become a serious concern in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is not a new or isolated phenomenon, nor is it limited to certain schools or countries. While much of the literature connecting violence and schools has focused on bullying, it has overlooked how violence in other environments, in families and in communities, affects children’s education and their learning outcomes. Latin America and the Caribbean is home to 9 out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of violence in the world. Yet, the prevalence of bullying in schools is one of the lowest in comparison to other regions, suggesting that this is not the most concerning form of violence impacting children’s educational experiences. This literature review summarizes existing evidence on the impacts of community violence on academic achievement as well as on other educational outcomes – including dropping out, absenteeism, truancy, enrolment and attendance – and highlights policy and research implications.
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

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. *** 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.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools Tanzania
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools Tanzania

Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving quality education in many low- and middle-income countries globally, where teachers’ school absence rates range from 3 per cent to 27 per cent. Tanzania Mainland has made significant progress in achieving universal primary education and improving the quality of education. Since 2002, access to primary education has expanded exponentially. Yet, quality of learning outcomes remains a challenge. One of the key factors for the provision of quality education is teacher attendance. While many reasons for teachers’ absenteeism appear to be valid, such as lack of reliable transport and bad climate conditions, other causes are hard to justify, such as when teachers fail to prepare for lessons. Time to Teach (TTT) targets this knowledge gap. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of primary school teacher attendance and to use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher-related policies. Specifically, the study looks at four distinct forms of teacher attendance: being in school; being punctual; being in the classroom; and spending sufficient time on task while in the classroom.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools Zanzibar
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Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools Zanzibar

Teacher absenteeism constitutes a significant barrier to achieving quality education in many low- and middle-income countries globally, where teachers’ school absence rates range from 3 per cent to 27 per cent. Over the past few decades, Zanzibar has implemented a number of policy reforms and made tremendous progress in expanding access to primary education. Yet, the quality of learning outcomes remains weak. One of the major factors hindering the provision of quality education is teacher absenteeism, which is a prevalent phenomenon across primary schools. Time to Teach (TTT) targets this knowledge gap. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of primary school teacher attendance and to use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher-related policies. Specifically, the study looks at four distinct forms of teacher attendance: being in school; being punctual; being in the classroom; and spending sufficient time on task while in the classroom.
COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

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.
School-Related Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Building an evidence base for stronger schools
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School-Related Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Building an evidence base for stronger schools

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.
Unlocking Learning: The co-creation and effectiveness of a digital language learning course for refugees and migrants in Greece
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Unlocking Learning: The co-creation and effectiveness of a digital language learning course for refugees and migrants in Greece

COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education
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COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

This paper examines the remote learning options that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights trends, gaps and emerging good practices that are supported by existing evidence.
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
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COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education

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.
COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss
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COVID-19: Effects of school closures on foundational skills and promising practices for monitoring and mitigating learning loss

While remote learning measures are essential for mitigating the short-term and long-term consequences of COVID-19 school closures, little is known about their impact on and effectiveness for learning. This working paper contributes to filling this gap by: 1. exploring how disrupted schooling may affect foundational learning skills, using data from MICS6 (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys - round 6) in 2017–2019; 2. examining how countries are delivering and monitoring remote learning based on data from the UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank’s National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures survey; and 3. presenting promising key practices for the effective delivery and monitoring of remote learning.
COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?
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COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?

This research brief is one of a series exploring the effects of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on how school closures affect children and the resiliency of education systems to respond to such disruptions and mitigate their effect.
Bringing Education to the Most Marginalized Girls in Nepal: Evidence from the Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) programme Let Us Learn: Nepal research brief
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Bringing Education to the Most Marginalized Girls in Nepal: Evidence from the Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) programme Let Us Learn: Nepal research brief

This research brief provides a snapshot of Girls’ Access To Education (GATE), a non-formal education programme that aims to bring the most marginalized adolescent girls in Nepal into school. The nine-month programme provides out-of-school girls with the basic literacy, numeracy and life skills they need to enter and learn in formal schooling. The analysis draws on GATE monitoring data for 2018/19, covering 7,394 GATE beneficiaries in five districts of Nepal, and is combined with qualitative evidence including case studies and focus group discussions with former GATE participants conducted in 2019. The mixed-methods analysis finds that the GATE programme has been highly effective, with 95% completion of the programme by enrolled girls and 89% of girls making the successful transition to formal school. Moreover, GATE graduates enrolled in Grades 3 to 5 in formal schools outperformed non-GATE girls enrolled in the same grades, even though GATE girls overwhelmingly had no prior formal school experience. Qualitative evidence reveals that poverty, caring responsibilities and parents’ traditional views may be important factors in explaining why GATE girls had never previously attended school. Despite this, GATE beneficiaries who were interviewed maintain a positive outlook on the future and have clear career goals. One of the recommendations stemming from this brief is to explore the feasibility of expanding GATE approaches to target out-of-school children in other contexts, as GATE has been a cost-effective solution in the context of Nepal.
COVID-19: How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate the Learning Loss as Schools Reopen? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children
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COVID-19: How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate the Learning Loss as Schools Reopen? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children

Some countries are starting to reopen schools as others develop plans to do so following widespread and extended closures due to COVID-19. Using data from two surveys and 164 countries, this research brief describes the educational strategies countries are putting into place, or plan to, in order to mitigate learning impacts of extended school closures, particularly for the most vulnerable children. In addition, it highlights emerging good practices.
Parental Engagement in Children’s Learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19
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Parental Engagement in Children’s Learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19

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.
Promising Practices for Equitable Remote Learning. Emerging lessons from COVID-19 education responses in 127 countries
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Promising Practices for Equitable Remote Learning. Emerging lessons from COVID-19 education responses in 127 countries

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.
2018 Results Report
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2018 Results Report

In 2018, significant gains were made in generating evidence to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged children, build organizational capacity to conduct and use quality, ethical research on children, and set a foundation as an important convening centre for expert consultation on next-generation ideas on children. 2018 marks the first year the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti is reporting on the progress of research under the new UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2021). This plan is the first to clearly delineate the role of research and evidence as one of the eight priority change strategies for children. This report therefore is an account of the first year of work to generate critical evidence to inform programmes, policies and advocacy for children and young people around the world
Getting into the Game Report Summary: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development
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Getting into the Game Report Summary: Understanding the evidence for child-focused sport for development

Sport is a powerful tool for involving all children – including the most marginalized and vulnerable – in group activities from an early age (UNHCR, 2013). For this reason, sport for development (S4D) organizations use sport as an inclusive means of helping children to improve their health; to develop their physical abilities; to develop their social, educational and leadership skills; and of course, to play and have fun. S4D initiatives come in various forms – from those that build personal and social programmes around sport, to those that include sport as one of many approaches to achieving social goals. This new UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti summary report analyses available evidence on S4D initiatives for children and youth. The findings cover how the key outcomes of education, social inclusion, protection and empowerment link to sport; what works in practice and how it works; the main challenges for implementation; and recommendations for better policy, practice and research.
An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries
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An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children's Education in Rich Countries

In the world’s richest countries, some children do worse at school than others because of circumstances beyond their control, such as where they were born, the language they speak or their parents’ occupations. These children enter the education system at a disadvantage and can drop further behind if educational policies and practices reinforce, rather than reduce, the gap between them and their peers. These types of inequality are unjust. Not all children have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, to pursue their interests and to develop their talents and skills. This has social and economic costs. This report focuses on educational inequalities in 41 of the world’s richest countries, all of which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and/or the European Union (EU). Using the most recent data available, it examines inequalities across childhood – from access to preschool to expectations of post-secondary education – and explores in depth the relationships between educational inequality and factors such as parents’ occupations, migration background, the child’s gender and school characteristics. The key feature of the report is the league table, which summarizes the extent of educational inequalities at preschool, primary school and secondary school levels. The indicator of inequality at the preschool level is the percentage of students enrolled in organized learning one year before the official age of primary school entry. The indicator for both primary school (Grade 4, around age 10) and secondary school (age 15) is the gap in reading scores between the lowest- and highest-performing students.
DEVELOPING A GLOBAL INDICATOR ON BULLYING OF SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN
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DEVELOPING A GLOBAL INDICATOR ON BULLYING OF SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

The rate of bullying among children is a key indicator of children’s well-being and an important marker for comparing global social development: both victims and perpetrators of bullying in childhood suffer across various dimensions, including personal social development, education, and health, with negative effects persisting into adulthood. For policymakers and professionals working with children, high rates of bullying amongst children should raise warning flags regarding child rights’ failings. Moreover, bullying amongst school-aged children highlights existing inefficiencies in the social system, and the potential for incurring future social costs in the communities and schools in which children live their lives. Inevitably, these concerns have contributed to bullying becoming a globally recognized challenge – every region in the world collects information on children’s experiences of bullying. Yet, despite the identification and monitoring of bullying having global appeal, so far, a validated global measure has not been produced. To fill this gap in knowledge, this paper develops a global indicator on bullying amongst children using existing school-based surveys from around the world. The findings of this paper show that bullying is a complex phenomenon that takes multiple forms, and is experienced to widely varying degrees across the world.
Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report
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Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report

This synthesis report, ‘Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Key Findings’ explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the SDG targets. Given the key role families and family policies play in determining social progress, and in view of the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of this publication is opportune. The report summarizes evidence across the six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence. It highlights important issues that policy makers may wish to consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. Given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, a key contribution of this work is to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other SDG goal areas.
Adolescents’ Mental Health: Out of the shadows. Evidence on psychological well-being of 11-15-year-olds from 31 industrialized countries
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Adolescents’ Mental Health: Out of the shadows. Evidence on psychological well-being of 11-15-year-olds from 31 industrialized countries

Mental health is increasingly gaining the spotlight in the media and public discourse of industrialized countries. The problem is not new, but thanks to more open discussions and fading stigma, it is emerging as one of the most critical concerns of public health today. Psychological problems among children and adolescents can be wide-ranging and may include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disruptive conduct, anxiety, eating and mood disorders and other mental illnesses. Consistent evidence shows the links between adolescents’ mental health and the experience of bullying. Collecting internationally comparable data to measure mental health problems among children and adolescents will provide important evidence and stimulate governments to improve psychological support and services to vulnerable children.
Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being
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Children’s Involvement in Housework: Is there a case of gender stereotyping? Evidence from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being

Evidence from national studies in developed and developing countries suggests that girls spend more time on housework. The most common explanation relates to behaviour modelling as a mechanism of gender role reproduction: children form habits based on parental models. This brief shows that participation in household chores is an essential part of children’s lives. There is a common pattern of a gender gap between boys’ and girls’ daily participation in housework across a diverse range of socio-economic and cultural contexts in 12 high-income countries. The persistence of this gap points to gender stereotyping – a form of gender role reproduction within a family that potentially can reinforce inequalities over the life-course.
Is University Education More Important for a Boy than for a Girl? Social approval of unequal educational opportunity across 21 countries
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Is University Education More Important for a Boy than for a Girl? Social approval of unequal educational opportunity across 21 countries

The attitudes that we hold are shaped and nurtured by society, institutions, religion and family; they involve feelings, beliefs and behaviours and represent a form of judgement. These attitudes and values define the power relations, dynamics, opportunities and choices between men and women, boys and girls. Societies vary significantly in the scale of egalitarian attitudes and beliefs related to gender roles and opportunities in education, politics, the family, and the workforce. Progress towards more egalitarian gender values is crucial for achieving gender equality among children and young people, which in turn is a pre-condition for sustainable development.
Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?
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Quality of Childcare and Pre-Primary Education: How do we measure it?

Early childhood development is a driving force for sustainable development due to its multiplier effects not only on children but also on the community and society at large. Access to ECEC alone is insufficient for achieving positive child outcomes – it must also be of high quality. This Brief aims to summarize the key points of ongoing debate on this issue, and outline some of the challenges faced by high-income countries. A step towards a more holistic monitoring of ECEC would be to develop a coherent national strategy that recognizes diversity while addressing disparities; to respond to the needs of both child and family through strong partnerships with parents and ECE practitioners; and to apply measurement tools that capture a child’s engagement rather than test readiness.
Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental Evidence from East and Southern Africa
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Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental Evidence from East and Southern Africa

Sexual violence against women and girls is widespread globally. In their lifetime, one in three women will experience intimate partner physical or sexual violence and 7 per cent will experience forced sex by someone other than an intimate partner.
Global Kids Online, Research Synthesis 2015–2016: Summary
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Global Kids Online, Research Synthesis 2015–2016: Summary

Research is invaluable for contextualising online experiences in relation to children’s and families’ lives and the wider cultural or national circumstances. The Global Kids Online project aims to connect evidence with the ongoing international dialogue regarding policy and practical solutions for children’s well-being and rights in the digital age, especially in countries where the internet is only recently reaching the mass market.
Measuring Adolescent Well-being: National Adolescent Assessment Cards (NAACs)
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Measuring Adolescent Well-being: National Adolescent Assessment Cards (NAACs)

Advocacy and action for adolescents have been hampered by the lack of a concrete results framework that can be used to describe the state of the world’s adolescents and serve as a basis for goals and targets. In order to fill this gap, UNICEF, in collaboration with key partners, is facilitating the development of an outcome-based framework that incorporates the key dimensions of an adolescent’s life and a proposed set of globally comparable indicators that will provide a common platform to track the progress of adolescent development and well-being. The domains that have been selected for measurement are: health and well-being, education and learning, safety and protection, participation, transition to work.
Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries
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Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries

The paper aims to reduce the global knowledge gap pertaining to the impact of disability on school attendance, using cross-nationally comparable and nationally representative data from 18 surveys in 15 countries that are selected among 2,500 surveys and censuses. These selected surveys administered the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of disability-screening questions, covering five functional domains of seeing, hearing, mobility, self-care, and remembering, and collected information on educational status.
How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study
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How Inequalities Develop through Childhood: Life course evidence from the Young Lives cohort study

Tackling poverty and inequalities is now embedded within the mandates of governments and organizations worldwide. UNICEF has been a leader on this, and concern about inequalities has also been picked up in the debates surrounding post 2015 development goals.
Understanding Governance of Early Childhood Development and Education Systems and Services in Low-Income Countries
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Understanding Governance of Early Childhood Development and Education Systems and Services in Low-Income Countries

This initial exploratory study examines the governance and finance of Early Childhood Services (ECS) in three countries (Cambodia, Kenya and Lao People's Democratic Republic) using an in-depth qualitative approach. The methodologies and tools provide an innovative strategy built upon the literature of governance and finance to understand how to improve access, quality and equity of ECS.
Education, Urban Poverty and Migration: Evidence from Bangladesh and Vietnam
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Education, Urban Poverty and Migration: Evidence from Bangladesh and Vietnam

Despite the acknowledged importance and large scale of rural-urban migration in many developing countries, few studies have compared education outcomes of migrants to those for people born in the city. This paper uses recent data from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, to examine educational expenditure and children’s grade attainment, with a focus on poor households.
Childhood Poverty and Education in Bangladesh: Policy implications for disadvantaged children
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Childhood Poverty and Education in Bangladesh: Policy implications for disadvantaged children

This paper offers a theoretical understanding of childhood poverty and educational exclusion, building on the empirical findings of fieldwork carried out in Bangladesh to develop case studies addressing the questions, why do so many socio-economically disadvantaged children tend to drop out from formal secondary school, and why do some succeed?
Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system
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Good Governance of Early Childhood Development Programmes in Developing Countries: The need for a comprehensive monitoring system

There is need for a holistic, comprehensive ECD monitoring system that covers the multiple facets (i.e. education, health, social protection and the social and economical context in which the child is born) of public and private ECD interventions in a country. Such a system is essential for ensuring that all children can reap the benefits of ECD. It serves as a means of support and oversight for monitoring the performance and planning of ECD policies and programmes in developing countries. The paper highlights the importance of comprehensive ECD monitoring for making evidence-based decisions, and discusses practical issues to take into consideration when developing such a system.

Journal Articles

Teacher Training and Textbook Distribution Improve Early Grade Reading: Evidence from Papua and West Papua.
Journal Article

Teacher Training and Textbook Distribution Improve Early Grade Reading: Evidence from Papua and West Papua.

While numerous studies evaluate the effectiveness of teacher training and textbook distribution programs, few look at the effects of training programs on vulnerable students, those at the lower end of academic performance. Addressing this gap is important to improve the efficiency of student learning and address the equity gaps in early education. Our study makes this point with two models of a program that combines teacher training with textbook distribution in Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesia. Between two waves of data collection in 2015 and 2017, we find that participation in the program is significantly associated with improvements in early grade reading ability, observing increases in reading scores (with or without adjustment for time spent in the program). We also find a significant decline in zero-scorers, that is, students who cannot read a single word correctly; students in program schools (under both models) are at least 80 percent less likely to score zero than their peers in control schools by 2017. Our approach highlights the importance of incorporating the equity perspective in program evaluation through an explicit focus on vulnerable students.
Impacts of health-related school closures on child protection outcomes: A review of evidence from past pandemics and epidemics and lessons learned for COVID-19
Journal Article

Impacts of health-related school closures on child protection outcomes: A review of evidence from past pandemics and epidemics and lessons learned for COVID-19

Through a rapid review drawing on pandemics and epidemics with associated school closures, this article aims to understand first, the state of the evidence on impacts of school closures on select child protection outcomes and second, how governments have responded to school closures to protect the most vulnerable children. Only 21 studies out of 6433 reviewed met the inclusion criteria, with most studies exploring the effects of Ebola. While few studies were identified on harmful practices, a more robust evidence base was identified in regards to adolescent pregnancy, with studies pointing to its increase due to the epidemic or infection control measures, including school closures. The evidence base for studies exploring the impact on violence outcomes was limited, with sexual violence and exploitation located in a few studies on Ebola. Important lessons from this exercise can be applied to the COVID-19 response, particularly the inclusion of the most vulnerable children in programming, policy and further research.
Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and Country responses for mitigating learning loss
Journal Article

Potential effects of COVID-19 school closures on foundational skills and Country responses for mitigating learning loss

This article investigates to what extent disrupted schooling and dropout affects children’s acquisition of foundational skills prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using household survey data from thirteen low- and lower-middle-income countries, we find that missing or dropping out of school is associated with lower reading and numeracy outcomes. Drawing on global surveys conducted during the pandemic, we find that countries’ remote learning responses are often inadequate to keep all children learning, avoid dropout, and mitigate the learning losses our findings predict, particularly for marginalized children and those at the pre-primary level.
Education response to COVID 19 pandemic, a special issue proposed by UNICEF: Editorial review
Journal Article

Education response to COVID 19 pandemic, a special issue proposed by UNICEF: Editorial review

This editorial paper presents 11 papers related to the special issue proposed by UNICEF on the Education Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic provoked an education emergency of unprecedented scale. At its onset in February 2020, school closures were announced in the worst-hit countries. At the peak of the crisis, 90 per cent of learners worldwide had had their education disrupted. Some learners, especially those from the most marginalised population groups, were put at risk of permanent dropout, provoking long-term and significant negative effects on children’s life-long wellbeing and the socio-economic development of their communities and countries. This special issue, which received contributions from UNICEF staff and various researchers, focuses on the impact of school closures, the effectiveness of remote learning solutions, equity implications, the mitigation of learning loss and notions around re-opening better. Different research perspectives and evidence is gathered to help strengthen policy considerations and future planning. The conclusion emphasizes building on the innovative solutions generated by the response to the crisis to make education systems more resilient, whilst also reinforcing the focus on equity and inclusion so that pre-existing disparities are not exacerbated in the future.

News & Commentary

How do the world’s leading education experts recommend the education sector should respond to Covid-19?
Article

How do the world’s leading education experts recommend the education sector should respond to Covid-19?

The arrival and scale of the Covid-19 pandemic caught everyone off guard; the pandemic, and its reverberating impacts, are far from over. The pandemic has impacted every area of the lives of every person around the globe, and education has been hit by its worst crisis in a century. In some countries, policy makers have been doing their best to respond to an unprecedented and fast-moving situation; in others, they have yet to grasp the magnitude of this monumental shock. Evidence on the effectiveness and impact of various policy and programmatic responses has been in short supply, in part because few countries were prepared. But recovering learning is now a gigantic task in need of urgent action.
Learning Losses from COVID-19 Could Cost this Generation of Students Close to $17 Trillion in Lifetime Earnings
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Learning Losses from COVID-19 Could Cost this Generation of Students Close to $17 Trillion in Lifetime Earnings

World Bank-UNESCO-UNICEF report lays out the magnitude of the education crisisWASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 6, 2021—This generation of students now risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value, or about 14 percent of today’s global GDP, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures, according to a new report published today by the World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The new projection reveals that the impact is more severe than previously thought, and far exceeds the $10 trillion estimates released in 2020. In addition, The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery report shows that in low- and middle-income countries, the share of children living in Learning Poverty – already 53 percent before the pandemic – could potentially reach 70 percent given the long school closures and the ineffectiveness of remote learning to ensure full learning continuity during school closures.“The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt,” said Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education.“Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children, and others may never return to school. The loss of learning that many children are experiencing is morally unacceptable. And the potential increase of Learning Poverty might have a devastating impact on future productivity, earnings, and well-being for this generation of children and youth, their families, and the world’s economies.”Simulations estimating that school closures resulted in significant learning losses are now being corroborated by real data. For example, regional evidence from Brazil, Pakistan, rural India, South Africa, and Mexico, among others, show substantial losses in math and reading. Analysis shows that in some countries, on average, learning losses are roughly proportional to the length of the closures. However, there was great heterogeneity across countries and by subject, students’ socioeconomic status, gender, and grade level. For example, results from two states in Mexico show significant learning losses in reading and in math for students aged 10-15. The estimated learning losses were greater in math than reading, and affected younger learners, students from low-income backgrounds, as well as girls disproportionately.Barring a few exceptions, the general trends from emerging evidence around the world align with the findings from Mexico, suggesting that the crisis has exacerbated inequities in education:Children from low-income households, children with disabilities, and girls were less likely to access remote learning than their peers. This was often due to lack of accessible technologies and the availability of electricity, connectivity, and devices, as well as discrimination and gender norms.Younger students had less access to remote learning and were more affected by learning loss than older students, especially among pre-school age children in pivotal learning and development stages.The detrimental impact on learning has disproportionately affected the most marginalized or vulnerable. Learning losses were greater for students of lower socioeconomic status in countries like Ghana, Mexico, and Pakistan. Initial evidence points to larger losses among girls, as they are quickly losing the protection that schools and learning offers to their well-being and life chances.“The COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across the world, disrupting education for 1.6 billion students at its peak, and exacerbated the gender divide. In some countries, we’re seeing greater learning losses among girls and an increase in their risk of facing child labor, gender-based violence, early marriage, and pregnancy. To stem the scars on this generation, we must reopen schools and keep them open, target outreach to return learners to school, and accelerate learning recovery," said UNICEF Director of Education Robert Jenkins.The report highlights that, to date, less than 3 percent of governments’ stimulus packages have been allocated to education. Much more funding will be needed for immediate learning recovery. The report also notes that while nearly every country in the world offered remote learning opportunities for students, the quality and reach of such initiatives differed – in most cases, they offered, at best, a rather partial substitute for in-person instruction. More than 200 million learners live in low- and lower middle-income countries that are unprepared to deploy remote learning during emergency school closures.Reopening schools must remain a top and urgent priority globally to stem and reverse learning losses. Countries should put in place Learning Recovery Programs with the objective of assuring that students of this generation attain at least the same competencies of the previous generation. Programs must cover three key lines of action to recover learning: 1) consolidating the curriculum; 2) extending instructional time; and 3) improving the efficiency of learning.In terms of improving the efficiency of learning, techniques like targeted instruction can help learning recovery, which means that teachers align instruction to the learning level of students, rather than an assumed starting point or curricular expectation. Targeted instruction will require addressing the learning data crisis by assessing students’ learning levels. It also necessitates additional support to teachers so that they are well-equipped to teach to the level of where children are, which is crucial to prevent losses from accumulating once children are back in school.“We are committed to supporting governments more generally with their COVID response through the Mission Recovery plan launched earlier this year,” emphasized Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. “With government leadership and support from the international community, there is a great deal that can be done to make systems more equitable, efficient, and resilient, capitalizing on lessons learned throughout the pandemic and on increasing investments. But to do that, we must make children and youth a real priority amidst all the other demands of the pandemic response.  Their future – and our collective future – depends on it.”To build more resilient education systems for the long-term, countries should consider:Investing in the enabling environment to unlock the potential of digital learning opportunities for all students.Reinforcing the role of parents, families, and communities in children’s learning.Ensuring teachers have support and access to high-quality professional development opportunities.Increasing the share of education in the national budget allocation of stimulus packages.This report was produced as part of the Mission: Recovering Education 2021 by which the World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF are focused on three priorities: bringing all children back to schools, recovering learning losses, and preparing and supporting teachers.Download the report here. 
How EdTech plus teachers are breaking down language barriers for refugee and migrant children in Greece
Article

How EdTech plus teachers are breaking down language barriers for refugee and migrant children in Greece

 (9 December 2020) Worldwide, an estimated 13 million children are refugees and 19 million children are displaced within their own countries. As of early 2020, around 42,500 refugee and migrant children resided in Greece alone. For many of these children, learning remains out of reach due, in large part, to a lack of knowledge of the host country’s language. As teachers navigate teaching children from various linguistic and academic backgrounds in the same classroom, education technology (EdTech) helps break down this barrier by personalizing learning so each child can learn at their own pace.The Greek Unlocking Learning Digital Language Learning Course is one such example. The course uses a ‘blended learning’ approach, where the digital element complements traditional face-to-face teaching. The course was co-created by the Akelius Foundation, UNICEF, their implementing partners, and Greek as a Second Language (GSL) teachers. While Unlocking Learning uses a blended learning approach, it can be adapted for remote learning, which has become a priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New research by UNICEF Innocenti, Unlocking Learning: The Co-creation and Effectiveness of a Digital Language Learning Course for Refugees and Migrants in Greece, investigates the development, implementation and effectiveness of the course.READ THE REPORT“This report illustrates what UNICEF is doing through Reimagine Education: using technology to tackle the learning crisis with the help of innovative private sector partnerships. And we are doing this in challenging settings, supporting girls, refugees, and migrants with no easy access to connectivity,” says Robert Jenkins, UNICEF’s Chief of Education. “This report’s findings and recommendations not only generate evidence on how the Unlocking Learning digital course improves learning outcomes, but it also provides key lessons on how to create and implement EdTech solutions that support teachers and work for vulnerable children. These lessons can be used by the education community to ensure the most in need are not left out as governments around the world invest in digital and blended learning approaches.”What impact does the Unlocking Learning digital language course have on learning?The digital course increases in students’ language skills, ranging from 8% and 9% in listening and reading, to 25% and 34% improvements in speaking and writing skills respectively. What’s more, use of the digital language course in classes increases students’ confidence, improves attendance, and decreases drop out. The interactive nature of the course with games and instant feedback increases engagement in the learning process and promotes mutual support amongst students. The personalized ‘blended learning’ approach benefits students, especially those at lower learning levels. By splitting the class into learning groups, teachers can provide tailored attention to certain students, while others work independently. Beyond Greece, the Unlocking Learning course is also implemented in Lebanon, Mauritania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Serbia with plans to expand to additional countries and languages.Lessons on implementing EdTechThink low connectivity first: When designing EdTech for the most marginalized, it must work effectively in low connectivity settings. In Greece, by making the course usable offline, it expanded rapidly to refugee camps and accommodations with poor connectivity. The right balance must be struck between high quality interactive content and optimizing applications for low connectivity.Teacher training is essential: While Unlocking Learning helped teachers structure their lessons, integrating it into their teaching was initially a challenge. Given the high teacher turnover, especially in humanitarian settings, an online training and a guidance manual on how to integrate the technology within lessons helps ensure EdTech is continuously used effectively.Continuously improve through in-built monitoring and research: With each new version of the digital course, teachers reported higher rates of satisfaction and increased use in their classes. Monitoring these changes is essential to understanding “what works” and the “how to”.More lessons to be learnt: Further research on Unlocking Learning is needed to continue informing its development, including: sustainability of effects of digital learning over time, different use cases for digital learning (e.g. remote learning during COVID-19), and how co-creation adapts as the course expands to new languages and contexts. Read the report Unlocking Learning: The Co-creation and Effectiveness of a Digital Language Learning Course for Refugees and Migrants in Greece. Discover all our research on Education.

Events

The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery
Event

The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery

The global disruption to education caused by the COVD-19 pandemic is without parallel and the effects on learning are severe. The crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt, with school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion learners. While nearly every country in the world offered remote learning opportunities for students, the quality and reach of such initiatives varied greatly and were at best partial substitutes for in-person learning. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children and youth, and millions more are at risk of never returning to education. Evidence of the detrimental impacts of school closures on children’s learning offer a harrowing reality: learning losses are substantial, with the most marginalized children and youth often disproportionately affected.This December 6th, building on the close collaboration of UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank under the Mission: Recovering Education, the three organizations will launch a joint report on the state of the crisis.The Report – titled “The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery” – charts a path out of the global education crisis and towards building more effective, equitable, and resilient education systems.Learning losses can be reversed if countries act now!The cost of keeping schools closed is steep and threatens to widen existing disparities for children and youth. Reopening schools and keeping them open should remain the highest priority for countries, as growing evidence indicates that with adequate measures, health risks to children and education staff can be minimized.The event will feature the participation of Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, Robert Jenkins, Global Director of Education, UNICEF, Jaime Saavedra, Global Director of Education, the World Bank, as well as a panel of government officials and international education stakeholders who will reflect on the evidence presented in the joint report and lessons from country experiences in support of learning recovery from around the world. The panel will be moderated by Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times.
Mediterranean Dialogues
Event

Mediterranean Dialogues

Mediterranean Dialogues is the annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) in Rome. On 2-4 December, more than 40 live session with 40+ ministers, over 100 business representatives, and members of the civil society from the MED region will share their views. 
Reopening the Future: Prioritizing Pre-primary Education
Event

Reopening the Future: Prioritizing Pre-primary Education

Join UNICEF, UNESCO and World Bank for a webinar event on prioritizing pre-primary education.

Project team

Mathieu Brossard

UNICEF Innocenti

Bella Baghdasaryan

UNICEF Innocenti

Amparo Barrera

UNICEF Innocenti

Jessica Bergmann

UNICEF Innocenti

Benjamin Blevins

UNICEF Innocenti

Marta Carnelli

UNICEF Innocenti

Kevin Clidoro

UNICEF Innocenti

Renaud Comba

UNICEF Innocenti

Thomas Dreesen

UNICEF Innocenti

Ghalia Ghawi

UNICEF Innocenti

Ximena Jativa

UNICEF Innocenti

Mabruk Kabir

UNICEF Innocenti

Arsène Kafando

UNICEF Innocenti

Sophia Kan

UNICEF Innocenti

Despina Karamperidou

UNICEF Innocenti

Alexis Le Nestour

UNICEF Innocenti

Andrea Lepine

UNICEF Innocenti

Sharon Loza

UNICEF Innocenti

Faith Martin

UNICEF Innocenti

Michelle Mills

UNICEF Innocenti

Ana Luiza Minardi

UNICEF Innocenti

Chiara Pasquini

UNICEF Innocenti

Luca Maria Pesando

UNICEF Innocenti

Svetlana Poleschuk

UNICEF Innocenti

Rafael Pontuschka

UNICEF Innocenti

Ieva Raudonytė

UNICEF Innocenti

Sonakshi Sharma

UNICEF Innocenti

Marco Valenza

UNICEF Innocenti

Stefania Vindrola

UNICEF Innocenti

Hanna Wedajo

UNICEF Innocenti

Partners

Videos

Topics

Education

Campaigns

Reopening With Resilience

Getting into the Game

Blogs

Can more women in school leadership improve learning outcomes?

Learning from highly effective schools in Lao PDR

Can we count on parents to help their children learn at home?

How prepared are global education systems for future crises?

How are sport for development organizations keeping children healthy during COVID-19?

How sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations

Safeguarding and sport for development during and after the pandemic

Bright Beginnings: Community-Based Early Childhood Education in Rural Bangladesh

Promising Futures: Vocational training programme in rural Bangladesh

Educating the hardest to reach: Lessons from non-formal education in Nepal

COVID-19 and education: The digital gender divide among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa

Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right 

How involved are parents in their children’s learning? MICS6 data reveal critical insights

Can broadcast media foster equitable learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Remote Learning Amid a Global Pandemic: Insights from MICS6

Getting the "development" right in Sport for Development

Improving education systems from beyond school walls

Podcasts

COVID-19 and Education for Children: Lessons Learned

A Conversation with our Education Team

Nobel laureate Prof. James Heckman talks about ECD

Journal articles

Comparing inequality in adolescents’ reading achievement across 37 countries and over time: outcomes versus opportunities

Early school failure predicts teenage pregnancy and marriage: A large population-based cohort study in northern Malawi

Failing to progress or progressing to fail? Age-for-grade heterogeneity and grade repetition in primary schools in Karonga district, northern Malawi

A Longitudinal Analysis of Well-Being of Ghanaian Children in Transnational Families

Transnational migration, gender and educational development of children in Tajikistan

Reports

What Have We Learnt? Findings from a survey of ministries of education on national responses to COVID-19