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International Consultant for providing technical support to the Ministry of Education, Science, and Innovation, to create a framework for developing a new, comprehensive Education Reform Strategy for the period 2025 – 2035

Apply now Job no: 569464
Contract type: Consultant
Duty Station: Podgorica
Level: Consultancy
Location: Montenegro
Categories: Adolescent Development, Education, Knowledge Management

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. 

For every child, quality education.

The comprehensive Education Sector Analysis[1] (ESA), which was finalized and published in November 2022 as a joint initiative of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, provided an in-depth “sector diagnostic” from the aspects of access, quality, equity, governance, infrastructure, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, governance, and financing. The Education Sector Analysis, as well as the most recent data and studies show the following key issues:

  • Preschool education attendance: 53% for the general population, 16% of Roma children. (MICS 2018)[1]
  • Primary[2] education (primary & lower secondary) attendance rate: 96% for general population, 77% for Roma children. (MICS 2018)
  • Out-of-school children in primary school: 2.5%, 22.1% for Roma children. (MICS 2018)
  • Upper secondary education attendance: 88% for the general population, 7% for the Roma. (MICS 2018)
  • In 2019/20, 771 children with disabilities with referrals from local commissions attended compulsory education
  • According to PISA 2018 [3], the number of students not achieving basic literacy level in reading, mathematics, and sciences stand at 44.4%, 46%, and 48.2%, respectively
  • The rates of youth unemployment and NEET stand at 37% and 27%, respectively (World Bank/MOR, 2022, and EC, 2002) [4]
  • 13% of primary schools enroll almost 70% of all primary school students in Montenegro
  • 33 % of secondary schools operate above the norm, enrolling over half of all secondary school students in Montenegro.[5]
  • The education budget has been on constant increase since 2015, the relative importance of education, measured as a share of GDP, decreased during the period 2015 – 2019.
  • Expenditure for education in 2021 made 8.9% of the public budget, which falls short in comparison to the international recommendation of 10-15%.

The urgent need for developing a comprehensive costed Education Reform Strategy and a budgeted Action Plan is highlighted in the latest  EC Montenegro Report 2022 Report for Montenegro.

In line with the above mentioned priorities, UNICEF Montenegro is seeking the services of an international consultant to provide technical support and guidance to the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation (MoESI) in setting up a framework for developing a new, comprehensive Education Reform Strategy.

This activity is part of the Quality Education for All Children Project, conducted in partnership with the European Delegation to Montenegro and the MoESI.  

How can you make a difference? 

The objective of this consultancy is to assist the MoESI to create a clear and solid framework for developing a new, comprehensive Education Reform Strategy for a period from 2025 – 2035. The framework is to provide a vision of the education system, key goals related to access, quality, equity, governance, infrastructure, teacher management, and financing. The framework is also to include cross-cutting topics, such as climate change, social cohesion, peer violence, gender equality, digitalization, career orientation, etc. The framework will provide a basis for the MoESI Working Group to develop a coherent set of relevant, feasible, and costed actions towards achievement of the set goals, to be further elaborated through a process of broad consultations with all key actors and stakeholders.  

The scope of work envisages three phases, which are described below. 

Under the supervision of Education Officer UNICEF Montenegro (NoB), the international consultant will be required to perform the following tasks: 

  1. Prepare a short summary of key international and EU policies/recommendations/targets, as well as of evidence and recommendations from major scientific studies and research related to quality, equity, access, governance, infrastructure, and financing of education, for the purpose of informing the new Education Reform Strategy. 
  1. Develop a methodology for support to the MoESI Working Group, including clear objectives and timeline of activities. 
  1. Provide guidance and facilitate the work of the MoESI Working Group towards setting up of the framework for developing of a comprehensive Education Reform Strategy (2025 – 2035). 
  1. Prepare a short final report, presenting a framework for Education Reform Strategy, including a vision of education, key goals within the selected thematic areas (access, quality, equity/inclusion, improved governance within education sector institutions and with other relevant sectors, teacher management, infrastructure, financing), and cross-cutting topics (climate change, resilience and disaster risk reduction, social cohesion, peer violence, gender equality, digitalization).  

Deliverables 

Under direct supervision of Education Officer and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Innovation, the consultant will be responsible for below listed tasks:  

  1. A summary of key international/EU policies and targets, as well as relevant studies and research findings and recommendations prepared Methodology for technical support to the MoESI Working Group prepared. 
  1. Guidance provided to the MoESI Working Group to set up a framework for a comprehensive and costed Education Reform Strategy (2025 – 2035). 
  1. A final report prepared, outlining the agreed framework for Education Reform Strategy, including a vision of education, key goals, thematic areas, and cross-cutting topics. 

Under the section “Work Assignment Overview” there is an indicative schedule spelling out the main tasks, deliverables and timelines for the assignment, which will be adjusted jointly with UNICEF. 

Methodology 

The assignment will involve the following three stages: 1) development of a summary of key international documents and scientific research and studies relevant to the assignment, 2) technical support to the MoESI Working Group to set up the framework for a new Education Reform Strategy (2025 – 2035), and 3) submission of a final report, outlining the agreed framework, including a clear vision of education, key goals, thematic areas and cross-cutting topics.   

 

Work Assignment Overview 

Deliverables

Timeline

  • A summary of key international/EU policies, as well as relevant studies and research findings and recommendations prepared 

 By March 25, 10 days

  • Methodology for technical support to the MoESI Working Group prepared

 By March 10, 2 days

  •  Guidance provided to the MoESI Working Group to set up a framework for a         comprehensive Education Reform Strategy (2025 – 2035) through in hybrid format. 

 By April 20, 5 days 

  • A report prepared, containing the agreed framework for Education Reform Strategy, including a vision of education, key goals, thematic areas and cross-cutting topics (The final report is considered once it's reviewed by the Ministry of Education and approved and accepted by UNICEF).

 By May 15, 3 days 

All deliverables should be produced in local language and final product in both local and English language. 

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have… 

Knowledge/Expertise/Skills required:

  • An advanced degree in Education, Psychology, Social Science, or another relevant field.  
  • In-depth knowledge of the Montenegrin education system, particularly in the areas of quality, equity, and financing  
  • Minimum 20 years of professional experience in education, particularly in relation to policy development, research, and analysis. 
  • Minimum 10 years of experience in engagements as international expert in education reforms, related to quality and equity, in particular. 
  • Extensive experience in presentation of education reform policies and methodologies, as well as presentation of relevant data, findings, and recommendations.  
  • Proven excellent organizational, facilitation, and co-ordination skills. 
  • Excellent interpersonal/communication skills and demonstrated ability to work in teams and with groups composed of individuals of different cultural, professional, and political backgrounds, while maintaining impartiality and objectivity. 
  • Professional level of English as well as local language, both oral and written.  
  • Proven experience in working with national and international organizations in areas relevant to this assignment.  
  • Experience in working in Montenegro in relevant areas. 
  • Knowledge of Montenegrin is a request. 

For every Child, you demonstrate… 

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS). 

To view our competency framework, please visit  here

Payments:

The payments will be made upon successful completion of the deliverables and submission of invoices in two instalments as per below schedule:  

  • 1st payment: 60% of lump sum honorarium including travel costs upon delivering of the first 2 deliverables.  
  • 2nd payment: 40% of lump sum honorarium upon delivering of the remain 2 deliverables.   

UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines.

Upon conducting the recruitment process and prior to the signing of the contract, the consultant will be required to complete the following online courses. All certificates should be presented as part of the contract.  

  • Ethics and Integrity at UNICEF,
  • Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Authority (PSEAA),
  • Sexual Exploitation Abuse (PSEA)  

Consultants and Individual Contractors must complete the following course before commencement of any travel on behalf of UNICEF.  

  • BSAFE security training  

Any consultant or individual contractor who is issued a UNICEF email address must complete the following courses no later than 30 days after signature of contract:  

  • Fraud Awareness  
  • Information Awareness Security Course (only for consultants/individual contractors with a UNICEF email address)  

The above courses can be found on Agora through the following link: AGORA (unicef.org)

Course completion certificates should be shared and retained with the human resources unit of the hiring office.  

All applicants will be screened against qualifications and requirements set above. Candidates fully meeting all the requirements will be further evaluated based on the criteria below. 

The proposal will be evaluated against the following criteria: 

A) Technical criteria – Technical evaluation process -  Maximum points: 70 

1.   Technical Criteria – 70 % of total evaluation 

  • Education: 20 points  
  • Previous experience: 25 points 
  • Proposed methodology: 15 points
  • Other: 10 points  

Only candidates who obtained at least 70% of points from the technical part (who will score at least 49 points) will be qualified for considering for financial proposal evaluation 

B) Financial criteria – evaluation of financial proposal - Maximum points: 30 

The applicants are requested to submit their financial proposal consisting of a professional fee only for the services to be provided.  

•    Financial scores will be calculated using the formula [lowest offer / financial offer of the candidate x 30]. 

Costs indicated are estimated. Final rate shall follow the “best value for money” principle, i.e., achieving the desired outcome at the lowest possible fee. Consultants will be asked to stipulate all-inclusive fees, including lump sum travel and subsistence costs, as applicable. 

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

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. 

Remarks:  

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. 

[1] Education Sector Analysis (ESA) is a joint effort of the Ministry of Education, and UNICEF. The methodology is based on the World Bank/UNESCO/UNICEF Guidelines for ESA and is conducted to provide an in-depth insight into the education system (up to tertiary level) from the aspects of quality, equity, governance, costing and financing. The purpose is to provide solid evidence for developing a comprehensive, multi-year sector plan and help ensure sustained and coordinated implementation of quality and inclusive reforms in education. ESA is available for download from: https://www.unicef.org/montenegro/en/reports/education-sector-analysis-2015-2020

[1] Full report available from: https://www.unicef.org/montenegro/en/reports/multiple-indicator-cluster-survey-2018 and statistical snapshots from: https://www.unicef.org/montenegro/en/statistical-snapshot-mics-2018

[2] Primary education lasts 9 years and is compulsory for all children (aged 6 – 15 years)

[3] Available from: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA2018_CN_MNE.pdf

[4] Available from: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.NEET.ZS?locations=ME

[5] Calculation is based on the sample which includes 88% of secondary schools in Montenegro with data available data, and the number of secondary school students in 2021.

[6] Latest available data.

 

Advertised: Central European Standard Time
Deadline: Central European Standard Time

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