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Early Childhood Education Cost and Financing Study Consultancy

Apply now Job no: 525639
Work type: Consultancy
Location: Pap. New Guinea
Categories: Early Childhood Development, Consultancy


The primary purpose of this consultancy is to provide technical support to the National Department of Education (NDoE) and the National Department for Community Development and Religion (DfCDR) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to obtain evidence-based information on the cost and financing of Early Childhood Education (ECE) for young children age three to five. This study will inform the Government of PNG with regards to policy development and financial planning for ECE facilities and services in PNG.



National Level Research with Field Visits to Madang and Western Highlands Provinces


3 months


1.1  Development Context

PNG achieved independence from Australia in 1975 and is home to 7,275,324 million people according to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census. This figure was a 40% increase from the population count captured in the 2000 Census. PNG has experienced strong GDP growth since 2010 however the 2014 National Human Development Report (NHDR) notes that ”there is a widespread perception within the country that the extractive-based form of development has not been inclusive or reached as many Papua New Guineans as it could and should have. In 2018 PNG was ranked 153th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index placing in the low human development category- this represents stagnant progress from the 153-ranking achieved in 2011.

The country faces a range of complex challenges including service delivery to a diverse, dispersed and mostly rural population spread over 600 islands, poor accessibility to parts of the country, high logistical costs and supply management difficulty. According to the World Bank in 2016 only 23 percent of the population had access to the electric grid and reticulated water, and two-fifths of health/sub-health centres and rural health posts had no electricity or essential medical equipment. Net enrollment in primary education was 73 per cent for girls and 78 per cent for boys while primary completion rate was 73 per cent for girls and 85 per cent for boys- net enrollment for secondary was 30 per cent for girls and 36 per cent for boys (UNESCO, 2016).

Another challenge faced by the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) and development partners is the relatively high level of crime and violence in PNG contributing to a high cost of security overheads. In addition to these costs the high rate of crime, including domestic violence, has a long-term social impact constraining mobility and negatively impacting development interventions. The country has also faced periods of political instability including the 2011-2012 constitutional crisis.

PNG has a high level of decentralisation with 22 provinces, 89 districts, 313 Local Level Governments (LLGs) and 6,131 Wards. In May 2012 two new provinces officially came into existence: Hela Province and Jiwaka Province, continuing the general trend in PNG towards increased financial devolution to provinces, districts and LLGs. Churches manage 40 to 60 percent of the service delivery in the sectors of education and health (WHO & NDOH, 2012). International development partners also provide technical expertise, policy advice, coordination, capacity development, supplies and funds to assist with design, and implementation of GoPNG policies and programmes.

1.2  Early Childhood Development in PNG

GoPNG commitment to realising the Convention on the Rights of the Child is reflected in the Vision 2050 goal for the country to become a smart, wise, fair, healthy and happy society by 2050. In line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, the PNG Education Act, the National Education Plan (2015-2019) and education policies aim to further strengthen access to quality education.

Early childhood development (ECD) is a comprehensive approach to policies and programmes for children from pre-conception to eight years of age to fully develop childrens cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential. The Lukaitum Pikinini Act (LPA) forms the basis for the youngest learners and the ECD policy (2007) is in need of revision to align to the LPA and embody a multi-sectoral approach to ensure children have the best start in life. Recently the NDoE has agreed to include early learning of children age 4 and 5 in the Education Act and their ECE policy which is currently drafted.

In line with SDG Target 4.2., which calls for all member countries to ensure that by 2030, all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education, GoPNG endorsed to the Pasifika Call to Action in 2017 making a firm commitment to ECD, which also includes ECE. To better understand the cost implications of different ECE modalities to cater for the youngest learners age 4 to 5 in PNG, the proposed study will explore various costing and financing scenarios. As such, the study will inform the Education Act and ECE policy to ensure they are based on solid evidence and the context of PNG.

Purpose, Objectives and Scope

GoPNG has demonstrated great commitment to its youngest citizens and would like to explore various costing and financing scenarios in order to be able to make ECE part and parcel of its national education system. To assist the NDoE and DfCDR in the national roll out of ECE, a consultant will provide technical support to the NDoE in conducting a study to obtain evidence-based information on the cost and financing of ECE for young children age three to five. This study will inform GoPNG with regards to policy development and the best scenario for the financial planning of ECE facilities and services in PNG.

The objective of the ECE consultancy is to develop at least four costing and financing scenarios for GoPNG to achieve universal ECE for the three, four and five-year-old children in PNG. Specifically, the study will have to determine: 

  1. How ECE services can be expanded to include all children especially the vulnerable and disadvantaged children?
  2. How much will the total ECE service package cost in PNG detailing the cost breakdown per centre and individual student?
  3. How could the ECE service package be financed?

The study will generate a set of clear, forward-looking and actionable scenarios logically linked to the findings and conclusions.

Given the context described above, the scope includes:

  1. Drafting an inception report outlining the study design, including a design matrix, data collection and analysis methods and potential sites for field visits.
  2. Mapping of the existing provision and coverage of ECE services in PNG and current cost of ECE community-based and private sector programme services. Prepare an analysis of findings and report the average cost per child and per centre.
  3. Develop a draft of at least four ECE costing and financing scenarios in close consultation with GoPNG and UNICEF. The following scenarios may be considered:

Scenario 1

Increase number of ECE centres for 4 and 5-year-old children to cover all children in this age bracket, fully funded by the government including infrastructure costs, materials and salaries of teachers.

Scenario 2

Increase number of ECE centres for 4 and 5-year-old children to cover all children in this age bracket, calculating cost sharing with church agencies, communities and/or other public/private organisations: 50% covered by the government and 50% by church agencies, communities and/or other public/private organisations. This should include contribution from Local Level Governments (LLGs) and how through their budgetary provision they can support ECE centres. E.g. Government to cover the salaries of teachers and community to cover the resources for the ECE centre.

Scenario 3

Provision of grants to ECE centres serving 4 and 5-year-old children to reduce cost burden on families. What percentage of the NDoE budget can go in funding this option? What percentage of provincial or LLG budget can go in funding this?

Scenario 4

Provision of a universal 1-year pre-primary education for all 5-year-old children in PNG using existing ECE centres, but also factor in construction of one classroom for average 30 five-year olds per classroom. Costing should be based on full coverage of costs including teachers salaries and also option of partial cost sharing with the parents and communities.

Each scenario must be costed with financing options explored. Financing should be realistic with all options explored such as the private sector for financing.

  1. Preparing a draft power point presentation and organizing of a workshop with key stakeholders to validate and disseminate the study results, including GoPNG officers and implementing partners to present the findings.
  2. Submitting the final report, presentation and a 2-page overview summarising the findings.


Proposed Methodology

The consultant is expected to present a detailed inception report outlining the study design, including a design matrix, data collection and analysis methods and potential sites for field visits to achieve the expected outputs. The following research activities must be included:

  1. Consultation with NDoE, DfCDR, and the Departments of Treasury and Finance
  2. Desk review
  3. Mapping of existing services
  4. Determine the running cost of existing ECE services by visiting a sample of inclusive early childhood development centres in Madang and Western Highlands Provinces


Expected Background and Experience


  • Advanced university degree in Economics/ Public Financing systems

Experience and Skills

  • Extensive expertise in carrying out financial feasibility studies especially in the field of education/early childhood education;
  • Proven experience in costing exercises
  • Minimum of six years experience in a relevant field
  • Strong report writing and analytical skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships, both within and outside the work place;
  • Previous working experience with UNICEF education programmes will be an asset.
  • Languages: Fluency in written and spoken English required, familiarity with local language (Pidgin) an asset
  • Computer literacy in Word, Excel and Power Point.


  • Good analytical, negotiating, and advocacy skills;
  • Active listening and good time management skills;

Expression of Interest

Interested consultants, who meet the qualifications and experience requirements should apply online including the following:

  • A cover letter outlining your expression of interest and suitability for selection;
  • A quotation for completion of work (consultancy fee, international airfare/travel, daily subsistence allowance/per diem, any associated in-country costs) without a detailed cost breakdown. Please note this is a competitive tender process and the overall budget submitted for the consultancy will be used as part of the selection process;
  • Updated CV/Resume, and/or completed UN Personal History Profile (P11)
  • A relevant sample report, with a clear indication of the applicants contribution to the report.



Advertised: West Pacific Standard Time
Applications close: West Pacific Standard Time

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