How can you make a difference?
The Education Section, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office is seeking an individual consultant to provide technical support and oversight of programmatic activities to ensure quality, timeliness, and efficiency of all products and activities generated under the regional multi-country learning assessment programme: The South East Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM).
Southeast Asia has significantly expanded schooling opportunities over the past decades but schooling does not equate learning and even after several years in school, millions of students lack basic foundational skills. Indeed, getting children into the classroom is only half the battle. 1 in 3 children in Eastern and Southeast Asia and 1 in 5 children in the Pacific countries that are enrolled in school, i.e. over 70 million children, do not achieve the minimum proficiency levels in reading and math and thus not acquiring the foundational skills.
To tackle the crisis, it is necessary to have a better and more consistent picture of the quality of learning. This requires well-designed student assessments that can ensure the quality of the education system. Such assessment must facilitate action, be adapted to country needs, apply quality measures that capture students level of understanding across multiple domains, and consist of a range of tools to understand the needs of the system, including at the classroom level.
Since 2014, UNICEF and the Southeast Asia Ministries of Education Organization (SEAMEO), started the development of the first regional large scale learning assessment tool based on the regions learning vision and priorities. The SEA-PLM is developed to move away from an assessment and examination system focused on the accurate repetition of acquired content knowledge, emphasizing an understanding of learning, which involves acquiring and applying skills, knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts.
With the SEA-PLM field trials recently completed and a solid buy-in and commitment from the countries of the region, the first main survey of the SEA-PLM has been initiated, scheduled for roll-out over the period of 2018-2020. The consultant will ensure the overall coordination and collaboration between all entities of the SEA-PLM and deliver technical expertise and programmatic and strategic guidance in close partnership with the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation Secretariat (SEAMES), to ensure a successful roll-out of the main survey and regional adaptation of the SEA-PLM.
The Consultant will oversee and provide technical support to the implementation of program activities under the SEA-PLM. S/he will work with the programme team, constituting of staff from partner organisations, to develop/refine the design of the SEA-PLM programme while ensuring annual implementation plans, management and resource plans on all components related to the SEA-PLM programme are on track. S/he will work in close partnership with the SEAMES and insert itself as a core contributor to the tasks under the SEA-PLM Secretariat, managed by the SEAMES. S/he will ensure program interventions builds on existing evidence and lessons learned and are integrated with the relevant regional institutions agendas, national MOE education sector plans and other donor activities. S/he will monitor the quality of program implementation and work with the project management team to make any necessary adaptations based on learning and best practices. In close consultation with the SEAMES, s/he will develop and oversee the fulfilment of the revised governance structure and advocacy approach of the project and engage in relevant regional and global networks to ensure exposure and recognition of the contributions under the SEA-PLM programme to the national, regional and global learning agenda.
- Regional Learning Assessment Programming and Strategy
- Regularly review, refine, and ensure adherence to the SEA-PLM long-term programme strategy and vision/mission and its ongoing integration under regional institutions and education strategies and (work) plans.
- Lead the development and implementation of the SEA-PLM revised regional governance structure, ensuring it is reflective of the needs and developments within the countries and the region as a whole;
- Work closely with the SEAMES as the core partner of the SEA-PLM programme and ensure timely alignment with regional events and high-level meetings to solicit ongoing regional commitment to the SEA-PLM programme.
- Work closely with UNICEF Country Offices focal points to advise on strategic direction of integrating the SEA-PLM at national level under existing education sector plans and country programmes.
- Regularly report to key partners and stakeholders on the progress of the strategy to better inform program design and strategic direction as well as identify risks and gaps.
- Assess needs and identify problems/gaps and propose/prioritize timely practical actions to respond to issues arising as part of the ongoing implementation of the SEA-PLM main survey 2018-2020.
- Communication, Collaboration, Networking and Partnerships
- Develop and implement, in close collaboration with the designated technical institution of support, a comprehensive communication plan for the dissemination of the results of the SEA-PLM in conjunction with the SEA-PLM Secretariat.
- Conduct research and produces policy briefs relevant to guide increased integration of the SEA-PLM under national and regional education strategies and plans.
- Compose articles on key components and achievements under the SEA-PLM main survey programme and ensure dissemination among key stakeholders.
- Provide guidance and technical support for the development of policy framework, toolsets, guiding documents on assessment and utilization of learning outcomes at national, regional and global level.
- Collaborate with the global network the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), initiatives under the Education Comparative & International Education Society (CIES), Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and other global initiatives to support and improve assessment of learning outcomes and utilisation of findings.
- Connect and collaborate to share knowledge and identify best practices across regional learning assessment programmes (PILNA, LLERCE, etc.) to improve and inform the SEA-PLM programme design.
- Collaborate with UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) to ensure the SEA-PLM aligns with internationally-comparable indicators and methodological tools to measure progress towards SDG target 4.1.1.
- Technical support and capacity building to national counterparts
- Promote increased awareness of the importance of quality learning indicators and harmonized data on learning outcomes and its contribution to national programming and achievements of education sector plans and reporting against SDG 4.1.
- Provide technical support to MOE staff and UNICEF staff for strategic planning, development and implementation of assessment polices, frameworks and tools, reflective of the contribution and readily available tools and protocols under the SEA-PLM.
- Support further integration and utilization of the SEA-PLM in order to inform strategies to build/improve such systems within Education Sector Plans (ESPs).
- Work closely with key implementing the SEA-PLM partners to design and deliver capacity building responding to identified needs at country level and corresponding phases of the SEA-PLM main survey.
- Conceptualize, prepare, facilitate and conduct regional trainings, meetings and consultations to build capacities, increase momentum and consult with engaged countries and stakeholders for improved programme implementation – including workshops as identified under the main survey workplan 2018-2020.
- Work closely with colleges and key partners to identify linkages between different types of assessment (large-scale assessments, examinations, formative assessment) and the cohesion between these and other aspects of the system, such as curriculum, textbooks, teacher education/ training, classroom instruction and education management information systems (EMIS).
- Donor Relations and Fundraising
- Represent the SEA-PLM programme with implementing partners, government, and donor entities on learning assessment programming, contributing to the SEA-PLM fundraising strategy and help build strong relationships with donors to ensure predictable funding for the SEA-PLM programming.
- Monitor developments and determine strategic opportunities related to the SEA-PLM programme and learning assessment within the region.
- Ensure that high quality, integrated, and needs-based funding proposals and reports are developed and according to the SEA-PLM priorities as identified in its regional and country strategic planning.
- Administration: Finances, Agreements, Human Resources and Logistics
- Ensure high quality programme implementation in accordance with UNICEF and the SEAMES regulations, procedures and accountability framework, as well as in line with agreed indicators, budgets, service delivery and work plans.
- Ensure that allocated budget lines/activities and expenses are regularly monitored and, as needed, action plans with follow-up are developed to correct any over or underspending in a timely manner.
- Responsible for identifying the need for and contracting of external support in line with the requirements and needs under the SEA-PLM programme to ensure satisfactory completion of the SEA-PLM main survey 2018-2020.
- Monitoring of satisfactory completion of assignments, incl. Programme Corporation Agreement (PCA) with SEAMES and Long-Term Agreement (LTA) with designated technical institution.
- Supervise and review deliverables and budgets related to the LTA and PCA on a regular/ quarterly basis etc.
- Line manage staff (international and national) under the SEA-PLM programme, ensuring that there is adequate performance management against agreements and contractual arrangements.
- Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Reporting
- Work closely with the SEA PLM Regional Steering Committee, the SEAMES Secretariat and the designated data authority/technical arm, to ensure timely and comparable statistics from the SEA-PLM.
- Ensure that policies, guidelines, terms and conditions/protocol under the SEA-PLM are adhered to and upheld at national, regional and international levels.
- Develop and monitor release calendar for the SEA-PLM results at both national and regional levels, indicating the periodicity of results released and various formats.
- Ensure close cooperation and coordination between and among the SEA-PLM member countries and the designated data authority to produce comparable the SEA-PLM statistics.
- Ensure the designated data authority is equipped with proper mechanisms for data exchange between the SEA-PLM member countries to enable the satisfactory development, production, dissemination and communication of the SEA-PLM statistics.
- Ensure the SEA-PLM programme is well documented and that the institutional memory is preserved.
- Ensure that key activities under the SEA-PLM programme are monitored and supervise the implementation. Ensure key lessons learned are incorporated in new programme additions.
- Strengthen accountability activities for the SEA-PLM, ensuring that feedback from all relevant stakeholders is considered in the SEA-PLM programming design.
- Provide high quality and timely regional the SEA-PLM reports (internally and for external purposes).
Work Schedule and End Product:
The consultant will perform progressively to ensure fulfillment of the above assignments. To monitor satisfactory progress, a monthly report prepared by the consultant summarizing the activities performed and results achieved will be submitted.
Final report summarizing achievements, progress, challenges, lessons learned and next steps of the SEA-PLM programme.
Estimated Duration of Contract: 11.5 months over the period of October 2018 – September 2019.
To qualify as a/an [champion or advocate] for every child you will have…
- An advanced University Degree in Education, Human Development, Public Policy, Sociology or other social science field.
- A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible relevant work experience in programme planning, management and research in education at the international level, some of which preferably in a developing country context.
- Specialization or experience in areas such as basic education, learning and skills development.
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience in management and implementation of international large scale learning assessments/cross-national learning assessments.
- Proven analytical skills and ability to work with others to develop strategy into action and communicating and influencing this to a wider audience.
- A proven record of effective and complex management including managing budgets, staff and funding of the programme.
- Excellent organizational, problem-solving and negotiation skills. The ability to remain calm whilst deal with conflicting priorities/work under pressure is essential.
- High-level interpersonal and communications skills; with the ability to write clear, concise reports and to facilitate/lead a group of individuals and impart knowledge.
- Ability to influence and liaise effectively with key stakeholders with successful track record in initiating, cultivating, and securing support from donors and partners.
- Excellent English writing ability and verbal skills for project proposals, reports, and communications.
- Ability to plan and manage her/his own time effectively. The holder must exercise a strong work ethic and take responsibility for his/her own actions.
- Familiarity with UNICEF/UN operating procedures and structures.
- Experience of working in the East Asia Pacific region is highly desirable.
Interested candidates are requested to submit CV or P11, cover letter, full contact information of minimum 2 references, availability, relevant example of previous work, and monthly professional fee and all-inclusive travel costs to/from Bangkok and other incidentals in USD by 26 September 2018.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
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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.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.