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For every child, an advocate
As the Covid-19 pandemic becomes a protracted crisis in South Asia with successive waves threatening further school shutdowns and learning recovery is a pressing priority in the sector, there is a growing need to provide technical assistance to governments to prioritize and implement their education recovery plans.
Due to Covid-19, schools were shut down in South Asian countries for up to 2 full academic years, learning loss is significant, and evidence suggests it is also highly unequal. As a result of prolonged school closure, inefficient distance learning and rising poverty levels, it is expected that many children and adolescents might have dropped-out, and out-of-school-children numbers might have increased in South Asia. In most countries, a new baseline is needed.
In addition to the above, countries are recommended to follow the “RAPID” framework of action for Learning Recovery (UNESCO, UNICEF, and World Bank 2022), for which technical support is also required at Country Office level:
- Reaching every child and retaining them in school
- Assessing current learning levels
- Prioritizing fundamentals
- Increasing catch-up learning
- Developing psychosocial health and well-being
For both of those broad technical areas, data and evidence is key, and most countries in South Asia are therefore also going through various levels of monitoring reforms: from real-time monitoring solutions, to Early Warning Systems for drop-outs, or working towards an integrated Education Management Information System (EMIS). Governments and UNICEF Country Offices will also need technical guidance to support the planning and implementation of monitoring reforms.
Finally, as economic and debt crises are threatening levels of domestic investments in Education, economic studies, investment cases, and simulation of financing needs are being undertaken by UNICEF and partners, to support Governments with budget planning and prioritization. UNICEF ROSA is engaged with UNICEF HQ and UNICEF EAPRO in several costing and financing studies which analyze the sector’s needs in several different sub-sectors: learning recovery needs, digital transformation, expanding ECE/ECD provision, financing disability inclusive education and addressing exclusion, etc. UNICEF ROSA Regional Advisor for Education will require technical support to coordinate, oversee and steer this costing work. A costing expert is hired separately to design and build costing models and develop case studies: close cooperation is therefore expected with the costing expert.
How can you make a difference?
- Technical assistance for out-of-school studies and data: this key area of technical assistance will be focused on support to country offices to establish new baselines for OOSC numbers and ratios post Covid-19 pandemic, by education level and disaggregated by gender, geographic location and whatever other disaggregation is possible given data availability. The support will be on an ad hoc basis and upon Country Office request. This will include (but will not be limited to) supporting the design of OOSC studies (national level, provincial level, or sample-based) and analysis of trends and geographic/ethnic/social disparities, potentially triangulating data sources (from EMIS and Household Surveys such as MICS) and linking with UNICEF HQ and other partners to follow the newly established methodology. The support will also involve working with locally contracted firms or consultants, international partners such as UNESCO, or reporting on the latest evidence and data at regional level and providing the Regional Education Advisor and ROSA Education Team with the latest findings for reporting or presentation purposes.
- Technical assistance for education monitoring reforms in the region: this area of support requires knowledge of monitoring system transformation in the context of education recovery needs post-Covid-19 pandemic. This might include, but not be limited to, providing direct technical guidance to country offices in supporting their Governments with prioritized planning or roadmaps for monitoring. This might include specific reforms related to real-time monitoring, developing Early Warning Systems for drop-outs, or more long-term data systems building, such as developing integrated education management information systems. This component of support will be linked to the first one on OOSC, as one of the priorities of education monitoring is to be able to generate reliable data on access and attendance, especially in the present context of returning back to school after 2 profoundly disrupted academic years due to the pandemic.
- Technical assistance for learning recovery: most countries in the region have developed a learning recovery plan, or have adjusted existing sector plans to reflect the new priorities related to learning recovery. Recommended actions are covered within the RAPID framework for education recovery and involve:
- Reaching every child and retaining them in school: making sure to identify those not in school, understand the barriers they face, and address those to ensure all children access education.
- Assessing current learning levels: measuring the true learning level of each and every child as they return to school is crucial to determine an adapted remedial teaching strategy and in order to meet the children where they are in their learning journey.
- Prioritizing fundamentals: for each year and each subject, managing to catch-up on lost learning AND cover the full existing curriculum for each grade, is simply impossible. Therefore, for each grade and subject, prioritizing the core competences and acquiring the foundational learning objectives is also crucial to a successful and manageable recovery.
- Increasing catch-up learning: adapting the academic calendar, finding locally appropriate solutions to maximize contact time between learners and teachers, is also a key aspect to catch-up on lost learning.
- Developing psychosocial health and well-being: addressing the mental health issues of students and teachers is an essential component of a holistic education recovery which aims at addressing health and well-being barriers.
Within this component of technical assistance, it is expected that some country offices will need support for one or more of those aspects of learning recovery. It is expected that the consultant would need to participate in multiple calls, including with UNICEF HQ experts, Global Technical Task teams and dedicated units such as the “Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Academy” to link country offices with global support, partnerships, subject expertise and information exchange.
- Technical assistance with economic studies: the main task will be to support the Regional Education Advisor in overseeing and steering the area of work on costing and financing of education, in the context of Covid-19 recovery and current economic crisis. UNICEF ROSA is engaged in technical work related to: costing simulations of education finance needs for recovery or for digital transformation, costing work related to sub-sectors such as ECE/ECD or disability inclusive education, or direct investment cases which are more country specific, such as the cost of inaction for OOSC for example. A costing model expert has been hired to develop costing models and run simulations, working in close collaboration with UNICEF HQ Economists, especially through the Global Technical Task team on Education Finance. Close collaboration and coordination with this expert, participation in technical calls etc with partners and global experts as well as with country office specialists for case studies and investment cases, is expected. The consultant is further expected to be able to collaborate closely with the costing model expert and HQ specialists to report back to the Regional Advisor for Education and plan/prioritize UNICEF advocacy and guidance to Governments on education finance in general, or financial engagements in specific sub-sectors or emerging areas of work, such as digital transformation in education.
- Support the evidence and data function in the ROSA Education Team: this last task is to be expected throughout the contract and will involve leveraging the data and evidence produced (on OOSC, Monitoring, Learning Recovery or Economic Studies, or any other fields as requested) to support the Regional Education Advisor and the Education Team as and when needed. This could include providing data for presentations, funding proposals, internal updates at regional or global levels, updates to partners, etc.
Required Qualification & Experience
- An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Statistics, Economics, or Social Science field. Additional qualifications related to economics and public finance are an advantage, PhD preferred.
*A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
- A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience in international development projects, especially related to education data, OOSC, EMIS monitoring systems, learning recovery and assessments, costing, education finance, and budgets
- Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergencies is considered an asset.
- Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.
- Experience with the Out-of-school children initiative (UNESCO-UNICEF), including conducting or overseeing out-of-school children studies for Governments or specialized agencies.
- Experience with education monitoring systems (EMIS) and integrated systems.
- Experience with Learning Recovery, and in particular assessments, remediation, curriculum prioritization, foundational literacy and numeracy, accelerated learning models and other typical components of the mitigation of learning loss in the context of recovery after long school closures.
- Experience of public finance and budgets in Education for developing countries.
- Expertise and experience in applying both quantitative and qualitative methods and able to effectively communicate data and analysis.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Excellent analytical, facilitation, and presentation skills, proven by participation in international conferences, symposiums, and seminars.
- Strong interpersonal communication skills and ability to work effectively and coordinate among different focal points.
- Experience with the ethics of evidence generation; familiarity with ethical safeguards;
- Flexible and able to work independently and start in October 2022.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).
To view our competency framework, please visit here.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
How to Apply
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.
The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.
Consultants and Individual contractors are responsible for paying any taxes derived from the earnings received from UNICEF.
Application to include an all-inclusive financial proposal that will detail daily/monthly rate (in USD) to undertake the terms of reference.
Payment of professional fees will be based on the submission of agreed satisfactory deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant.