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Senior National Consultant (NOD) Alternative Learning Programme (ALP), Maiduguri

Apply now Job no: 511448
Work type: Consultancy
Location: Nigeria
Categories: Education

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Purpose of Assignment:

The purpose of this qualitative participatory research study is to identify the alternative learning needs of children in northeast Nigeria and recommend the best strategies for addressing those needs. The study outcomes will inform the education sector in general, and UNICEF in particular, on areas of future programming support. More specifically, the study will identify best practices in Nigeria and the region, and how they best fit the specific context and needs of children in the northeast of the country. The study will inform the sector on areas of future programming support.


Nigeria accounts for more than one in five out-of-school children globally and more than half of out of school primary-school-age children regionally.  In the country, 10.5 million children[1] aged 5-14 years are not in school, of whom 8.7 million (4.98 million girls) are primary school-age (6-11 years). Since 2011, the attacks on the education system by Boko Haram driven insurgency in northeast namely Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states further weakened an already weak education system. One million children have been displaced by the crisis.  This emergency further exacerbates the issue of out-of-school children. In Borno, 72.4% of children were out-of-school of which 93% were expected never to enter school before the current crisis. The crisis keeps pushing more children out-of-school resulting in children’s increased exposure to violence, psychosocial stress, economic exploitation, recruitment by armed groups and early marriage.

In addition to the ongoing crisis, the key drivers of the out-of-school children phenomenon in Nigeria are poverty, systemic barriers, socio-cultural norms that deny children, especially girls, the right to education and in northern Nigeria, the preference for Quranic education. These barriers have led to wide wealth, gender and geographic inequities in the education system.  Education indicators for northern Nigeria are worse than those of the rest of the country, partly driven by demographics and the number of children who should be in school, partly by social attitudes towards ‘western’ education, and partly by the difficulties experienced by government in ensuring educational provision in predominantly rural local government authorities (LGAs). Only 59 per cent of 6-12-year-old children regularly attend primary school (NDHS, 2013) but there are wide regional disparities. The primary net attendance rate is 44 per cent in the north east, compared to 81 per cent in the south east, with gross attendance rates of 67 and 118 per cent respectively (NDHS, 2013). Children who are from poorer households, rural areas and female children are more likely not to be in school.

According to the Nigeria Education Data Survey (NEDS, 2015), 24 per cent of the male and 25 per cent of the female children aged 5 -16 years have never attended any form of schools nationally. The same survey also shows that nationally 26 per cent of Muslim children who are attend religious schools only. Even though valued by parents, continued preference for Quranic schools poses a significant challenge to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal related to education (SDG 4)[2] in Nigeria. Goal 4.1 specifically focuses on ensuring all girls and boys complete free, equitable and 

quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. Thus, it is critical for children who are not accessing formal education or who have dropped out to have an alternative pathway to complete quality primary and secondary education as well as building foundation for lifelong learning as per SDG 4. Alternative learning options are needed for those who have never been to school or have dropped out because of the insurgency or other reasons. Many of them are too old to re-enter formal education.

To translate the SDG framework into action, the United Nations in Nigeria is entering into strategic partnership with the government under the structure called United Nations Sustainable Development Results Framework (UNSDRF) 2018-2022. The results 2 of this partnership framework focuses on education and is led by UNICEF. Therefore, the Education sector should have a clear understanding of the need for, and current options to provide, alternative learning. The planned research study seeks to address the increased need for evidence-based alternative learning and to inform educational planning and practice for programming.


  • Deliverable 1: Detailed desk review and study work plan based on the findings of the desk review
  • Deliverable 2: Draft report and presentation to UNICEF
    • The report should follow the below structure:
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Overview and Background
  3. Methodology
  4. Comparative Analysis of Findings in Three States
  5. Overall Conclusions with Strategic Recommendations
  6. State Specific Reports including: Overview and Background, Analysis and Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations for Each State (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa).
    • draft presentation highlighting key findings and recommendations for comments, discussions and inputs
  • Deliverable 3: Final report and presentation submitted electronically including all data files
  • Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required
  • Advanced university degree in Education, Economics, Social Sciences, or a field(s) relevant to international development assistance.
  • Eight years of professional experience in Education, Public Policy or Social/Sustainable Development. Experience working in the UN or other international development organization an asset.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess and analyse complex situations in order to succinctly and clearly distil critical issues and draw out forward looking conclusions.
  • Excellent conceptualization, analytical and English writing skills; experience in publication of technical reviews/reports in English.
  • Fluency in English language.
  • Proficiency in Hausa
  • Familiarity with the northeast context.

This consultancy is estimated to be completed in approximately 7 weeks including 3 weeks traveling to the three states for data collection. The final report will be due by the end of 7th week.

Travel to the focus states in North East Nigeria (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe).




UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.


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.

Advertised: W. Central Africa Standard Time
Applications close: W. Central Africa Standard Time

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