UNICEF Pacific Consultancy: Evaluation of Primary Preparation Year Programme in Solomon Islands
Job no: 547683
Contract type: Consultancy
Location: Fiji/Pacific Island Countries
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, an opportunity
Solomon Islands is an island group comprising of 997 islands and atolls located in the Melanesian region of the Pacific. Solomon Islands has a population of 650,000 and is one of the Pacific region’s fastest growing nations. Children and youth aged 0-18 make up 50 per cent of the total population. The majority of Solomon Islanders (80.2 per cent) live in rural areas. Solomon Islands is highly prone to disaster and climate risks, including (but not limited to) tropical cyclones, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, and droughts. In Solomon Islands, the early learning system covers education of young children from 3 to 5 year olds. The educational services for 3 and 4 year old children is called Early Childhood Education (ECE) and for 5 year olds it is called Primary Preparation Year (PPY) programme. Currently ECE is provided through informal mechanisms involving community based approached and PPY has been integrated within the basic education sub-sector of education sector.
NER for five-year olds attending PPY in 2019 was 32.3% (32.7F, 31.9M), an increase of more than 10 percentage points from 20165 Planning for the introduction of PPY began in 2017, with 677 schools offering PPY as of 2019. This leaves only 7 per cent of schools yet to offer PPY, although enrolment of 5-year olds remains low compared to most countries in the region with evidence of widespread overage enrolment in PPY classrooms.7 The reason for 32.3% NER for PPY in 2019 as stated above can be attributed to the issue of overage enrolment at PPY level. The junior secondary NER only stands at 42 per cent, suggesting that less than half of children aged 13-15 are enrolled in school. The high birth rate in Solomon Islands places continuous strain on the education system, a bottleneck which is exacerbated by late enrolments. The lack of schools, particularly secondary schools, and varying standards of school infrastructure has meant that children have had to travel long distances to the nearest functioning school, which discourages enrolment and drives school push-outs.
The government has decided to focus on rolling out a one-year PPY programme for all children aged 5. The PPY curriculum was developed in 2018 and nationwide training of teachers was initiated in the 2019 school year. Alongside the training, teachers implemented the PPY curriculum in their respective provinces through their schools. Production of training materials and teacher guides has been completed and national roll-out of the PPY programme is currently underway. Following this there are plans to expand the scope of the programme to include 3 to 4-year-old children.
The PPY curriculum was carefully crafted to prepare children aged 5 years for Primary School ensuring a high level of foundation skills for entry to primary education. The PPY introduced new interactive Learning and Teaching Approaches using an outcomes-based curriculum model with a learner centred approach which includes embedded values and a focus on play and discovery. The shift was away from passive learning styles and into play-based, investigative learning with an outcome focus, and teachers implementing it readily noticed how much more the children enjoyed the new classes.
As a result, The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) defined a plan to train teachers on the new curriculum and trial in 2018 and roll out PPY nationwide in 2019. The PPY curriculum was developed by MEHRD, with support from UNICEF , and was piloted with 476 trained teachers in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces and Honiara city in 2018. Over 1000 teachers nationwide were trained in 2019 to prepare for nationwide launch and roll-out of PPY.
Pre-Primary Education is now an essential component of basic education (PPY – Year 9) in the country, as the government committed to support the significant cost for its 1-year program with annual grant. MERHD has been working with multiple internal/external partners to develop and facilitate PPY. Internally, under the office of Division of Schools, Curriculum Development Unit took a lead for the entire design and implementation of PPY. Together with the Teachers Training Professional Development Unit and Solomon Islands National University (SINU), the Curriculum Development Division supported the roll-out of nationwide trainings of ECE teachers in the new PPY curriculum. Provincial ECE Coordinators and Education Authorities supported PPY teachers’ trainings as well as facilitation in 9 provinces. PPY technical working group members composed of ECE Professionals from selected schools in Honiara and SINU for PPY Quality Assurance.
However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has had considerable impact on the education sector and broader programming environment in the country, including temporary school closures although Solomon Islands have no community transmitted COVID cases reported to date. Work within the country is largely being carried out, but the awareness of the education system vulnerability to such pandemics has led to a shifting of priorities to include COVID19 preparedness and response, alongside existing education programmes. Tropical cyclone Harold also caused damage to homes, schools and gardens across 4 provinces, which have further added to the complexity.
The PPY programme is being rolled out during a time of change to the education legislative framework with the Education Bill 2021 set down for enactment during the latter half of 2021. The Education Bill and associated Administrative Instructions devolve a range of powers and functions, currently held and undertaken by the Ministry, to Education Providers, school communities, schools and their leaders and teachers. Solomon Islands’ National Education Action Plan (NEAP) will be finalised and approved in July 2021.
As a significant new investment and commitment on the part of the Government of Solomon Islands, PPY needs to demonstrate achievements and results in its first year of implementation, even as it also needs to identify challenges and needed improvements and plans to strengthen the programme model and implementation at scale as part of the education system moving ahead. An already-defined critical improvement is the strengthening of monitoring systems for PPY, as part of standard monitoring framework for primary preparation and basic education, including necessary revisions to EMIS, quality assurance and other systems. In advance of planning for scale up, MEHRD will need a revised PPY model and plan, including a clear M&E plan. A formative evaluation of the PPY programme is therefore critical at this juncture. The findings of the evaluation will inform an analytical review of key achievements, good practices, gaps, and constraints that need to be addressed, towards the overall improvement of the PPY programme as Solomon Islands prepare for the scale up. A technical committee under MEHRD would be overseeing the evaluation in partnership with UNICEF.
How can you make a difference?
UNICEF Pacific Education Programme is seeking to hire an individual with a team or institution to evaluate the performance of the PPY model as regards to its effectiveness, relevance, efficiency, and sustainability with an aim to inform decision-making for future PPY programme and planning for effective implementation of the programme at scale in Solomon Islands. By providing sound and credible evidence on what works, what does not work, how and why, the formative evaluation serves a dual purpose of both enhancing accountability and informing decision-making processes, especially MEHRD’s and UNICEF’s future strategies and programme development in education.
The primary audience of the evaluation are key partners in MEHRD, the Education Section within UNICEF Pacific and UNICEF Solomon Islands Field Office. The secondary audience of the evaluation are Provincial Education Boards, future contracted suppliers of teacher professional development and curriculum development, school leaders, teachers, school boards, Provincial Education Authorities, donor partners, implementing partners, and current providers of pre- and in-service teacher professional development. The Solomon Islands stakeholders are particularly keen to identify and understand the conditions and components that are necessary for the programme to become established and to thrive. The completion of the evaluation will enable MEHRD to determine key milestones and performance indicators for the programme.
Please refer to the Detailed Terms of Reference for more information: TOR Evaluation of Primary Preparation Year Programme in Solomon Islands.pdf
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Education / Early Childhood Education / Economics / Social Sciences
- Proven experience (at least 15 years) and expertise in programme evaluation, formative evaluation, and scalability assessment, and costing, relevant to the education sector and specifically early childhood education.
- Experience with and knowledge of the education sector, including pre-primary, early primary, teacher training, learning assessment, community-based education, and other issues related to access and quality of early learning.
- Demonstrated experience in working in partnership with government, with demonstrated success in building capacity and ensuring ownership.
- An advanced university degree in social or physical sciences or similar qualification.
- An excellent understanding of evaluation principles and methodologies, including experience in applied qualitative and quantitative research techniques, tool development and adaptation with translation and experience in costing, an awareness of human rights (incl. child rights), gender equality and equity in evaluation and UNEG norms and standards.
- Experience of undertaking school-based data collections and associated practical ethical considerations.
- Previous work experience in the Pacific a considerable asset.
- Demonstrated experience in training and supervising enumerators in fieldwork, completion of fieldwork, designing data entry templates, and data analysis.
- Ability to mobilize required local expertise, including enumerators, translators, etc. as relevant.
- Capacity to complete the study on the timeline outlined, including ability to mobilize technical and field capacity in order to begin preparatory and field work shortly after the signing of the contract, including establishing any sub-contracts as needed, and managing concurrent data collection in the field.
- Demonstrated strong capacity and experience in planning and organizing data collection, quality control and analysis logistics, and proven record of delivering timely results.
- Proven history of high quality, professional, technically sound and user-friendly analytical documents, drawing upon an editor as needed for clarity and consistency.
- As far as possible, the team of experts should be gender balanced and with proven experience on equity issues. Applications by teams with multidisciplinary skills are encouraged.
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 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.
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.
Advertised: Fiji Standard Time
Deadline: Fiji Standard Time