UNICEF recruits 01 Consultancy

UNICEF recruits 01 Consultancy


Job Number: 520474 | Vacancy Link
Locations: Africa: Kenya
Work Type : Consultancy

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Purpose of Assignment Provide expert technical assistance to COs supporting government counterparts in setting standards or benchmarks as part of their national programmes.
Requesting Section ESARO Education.
Location of Assignment 65% of the consultancy will be developed remotely/home-based.

35% of the consultancy will require travel to ESAR countries (minimum of two and maximum of three; tentatively Tanzania, Eswatini, Mozambique).

Duration of contract 40 work-days distributed in a 6-month period (approximately 9 work-days on mission in targeted countries).


Start date From:    01/04/2019                         To:  30/09/2019    


 Background and Justification 

One of the efforts in the region, aligned to SDG indicator 4.1.1 and 4.1.2, is establishing more rigorous system to asses learning achievement. Indicator 4.1.1 of the SDGs states: “Proportion of children and young people (a) in Grade 2 or 3; (b) at the end of primary education; and (c) at the end of lower secondary education achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex”.  Assessment systems can administer tests with normative or a criterion-referenced approach. The former assesses a particular domain and places each pupil’s result in relation to the results obtained by other pupils who took the same test. This is useful to check for progress of pupils and to make comparisons between groups, but it does not lend itself to establish whether a minimum proficiency level has been achieved. The latter, criterion-referenced tests, places each pupil’s result in relation to a criterion, standard or benchmark. These criteria can be set to reflect under-performance, achievement of a minimum proficiency level and high proficiency level. Therefore, it is advisable for assessment systems in the region to develop criteria that clearly indicate and define what are the various levels of performance being assessed in their tests to report on the SDGs and in order that assessment can better inform curriculum development, policy reform and classroom work.

Although SDG goals set their indicator for assessments mid-way and at the end of primary education and at the end of lower secondary education, achievements at these levels are dependent on earlier learning. Since one of UNICEF’s priorities is the promotion of early learning, it might also be relevant to establish appropriate benchmarks for emergent literacy and early numeracy. Similarly, benchmarking levels above lower secondary would be useful to establish minimum achievement levels for young people who are striving to obtain basic skills and life competencies.

Several countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region are working to improve their assessment systems to obtain more accurate information that feeds into the education system. For example, Mozambique CO is assisting government counterparts in developing tests that can be compared across years relying on IRT and Rasch measures. Angola is initiating the development of their own assessment systems attempting to meet current theories of measurement and reporting. The United Republic of Tanzania has administered the tools from the initiative “Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes” and applied IRT principles in their analysis. Namibia is currently working in a reform of its assessment system that includes working with the Data Must Speak initiative to merge assessment and EMIS data to create associated factor relations and value-added estimations. Madagascar is establishing a new government unit that will be responsible for standardizes and non-standardized learning assessments. These and other countries in the region would benefit from greater knowledge on standard-setting, benchmarking and establishing criteria of performance when developing their tests and, once these have been administering, in establishing reporting criteria (e.g., not proficient, minimally proficient, proficient, highly proficient and the definitions of what pupils know and are able to do at each level). This requires technical knowledge on standard setting techniques, such as the Angoff method, the bookmark procedure, the analytical judgment method, integrated judgment methods, statistical procedures for standard setting (e.g., cluster analysis). COs would also be better prepared to assist government partners if they understand the possible implications of setting this standards in the socio-political environment in which the education systems operate.

To address these various needs, UNICEF ESARO wished to engage the services of a consultant with a high-level of expertise in standardized assessment and benchmarking procedures to support COs. The consultant will visit two to three COs (tentatively the United Republic of Tanzania and Mozambique) to work with the COs and their government counterparts. The consultant will investigate the country’s efforts for improvement of its assessments systems, help them prioritize the set of benchmark or standards that require development and provide training on that procedure. The experience gathered during these visits will provide the basic inputs to write a brief on standard-setting for the region, including comments on UIS’s anchoring mechanism. 

Scope of Work 

  1. Purpose of assignment: Conduct an analysis of the countries where assessment reform or introduction of new assessments would benefit from early implementation of standard-setting/benchmarking analysis/procedures. Based on this analysis, tailor and deliver a training for COs and government partners. Based on the overall experience and analysis, prepare an informative brief on standard-setting in the region. 
  2. TA details/reference to AWP areas covered: This consultancy will be funded by grant SC189904 under Output 2 of the Education Section’s 2019 Rolling Work Plan (Outcome 2: Enhanced capacity of COs to design, implement, monitor and evaluate risk informed education program that ensure that girls and boys, including those with disabilities, complete early learning, primary and secondary education with grade level learning outcomes; WBS: 240R/A0/10/801/006/007). This task is aligned to Activity 8: Strengthen technical capacity of standard setting bodies, including inspectorates, governance goodies and quality assurance organs using frameworks of accreditation and certification.
  3. Major assignments/Responsibilities:The consultant will:
    1. Conduct a thorough review of standardized assessment in the region, including a review of their procedures to establish performance levels (where information is available). This should include a review of documents (including grey literature), information available on the web and regional report (e.g., SACMEQ and PASEC country and regional reports).
    2. Identify potential countries for the training and in-depth review and provide a recommendation to establish with UNICEF ESARO the countries that will be targeted for training.
    3. Visit the selected countries, train personnel from UNICEF CO and government partners and prepare a report of the training, including recommendations for further developments.
    4. Based on the review (item no. 1) and the reports from the training workshops (item no. 3), the consultant will write a regional brief providing background information and recommendations for the Regional Office to move forward on the support to the improvement of assessment in the region.
    1. Work relationships/Reporting to:The consultant will work under the supervision of ESARO Education Specialist for Results Based Management and under the overall general guidelines provided the Regional Education Advisor.
    2. Activities:The consultant is expected to conduct the following activities:
  4. Prepare, in consultation with ESARO Education, a workplan. This workplan should contain major milestones, proposed dates and work methodology.
  5. Prepare a report containing the review of assessment in the region. The report should identify that would benefit from a training workshop and deep-dive into standard-setting.
  6. Conduct the workshop in at least two countries (tentatively the United Republic of Tanzania, Eswatini and Mozambique) and prepare a report on the workshop with all materials used in the workshops presented as annexes to the report.
  7. Prepare a brief on assessment, including recommendations on standard-setting contextualized to the ESA region.


  1. Expected Deliverables and timeline, which will be linked to the payment schedule:  




Expected Delivery

Estimated Working Days

Expected Deliverable

Payment Schedule

1 Prepare, in consultation with ESARO Education, a work plan Workplan containing major milestones, proposed dates and work methodology. 5 8 April 2019. 25%
2 Review the assessment in the region and identification of countries for training workshop and deep-dive. Report on the review, including selection of candidate countries for training workshop and deep-dive. 16 8 May 2019. 25%
3 Conduct workshops. Report of workshops and annexes containing materials used in each. 9 on site


31 July 2019. 25%
4 Prepare regional brief on assessment and prepare recommendations. Regional brief. 10 30 September 2019. 25%

 Desired competencies, technical background and experience  

The individual assigned for this work must have:

  • Education:  Advanced degree in Social Sciences, Education, Development or related field (PhD preferred).
  • Proven experience in standard setting and standardized assessment.
  • At least 5 years of relevant professional work experience in research, surveying, evaluation or assessment of social constructs.
  • Competencies:  Excellent communication skills; excellent analysis skills; good team work; good drive for results.
  • Fluent written and spoken English required. French and/or Portuguese would be an asset. 

Administrative issues 

  • The consultant will provide his/her own computer and other specialized equipment necessary to satisfactorily conclude the consultancy.
  • Travel expenses from the home country of the consultant to the UNICEF office of each site (i.e., the city where the UNICEF office is in the country where the field work will be conducted) and travel within that city will be covered by the consultant. Tentatively, the countries to be included are Tanzania, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Mozambique. Therefore, travel to Dodoma, Mbabane and Maputo should be considered when budgeting travel.
  • Living expenses during the field visits will be covered completely by the consultant, for up to three countries. The consultant should estimate each visit to last 3 work-days (not inclusive of travel).
  • UNICEF will provide a locale, stationery and refreshments to conduct the workshops/training sessions.
  • UNICEF and the consultant will agree jointly on any additional materials or supplies necessary.
  • UNICEF ESA Regional Office will liaise with the Country Offices to make preparations for the mission visits.
  • The consultant is expected to be available for at least one remote conversations each week. These will be scheduled and agreed upon with UNICEF ESARO. 


  • The daily rate, the cost of international travel and any related living expenses when on mission to two-three sites within the ESA Region are included in the total cost of the consultancy.
  • The consultant is responsible for purchase of her/his own insurance.
  • Due to security issues, the consultant will be required to stay in housing that meets UN security standards. UNICEF (either RO or CO) can make recommendations on housing options.
  • The consultant will be responsible for his/her own computer and additional specialized equipment to conduct the assignment.
  • As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment is made against approved deliverables. No advance payment is allowed unless in exceptional circumstances against bank guarantee, subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the total contract value in cases where advance purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary.
  • No contract may commence unless the contract is signed by both UNICEF and the consultant or Contractor.
  • For international consultants outside the duty station, signed contracts must be sent by fax or email.  Signed contract copy or written agreement must be received by the office before Travel Authorization is issued.
  • The selected consultant will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s General Terms and Conditions for individual contracts.
  • UNICEF reserves all copyrights on material, including data analysis, documents, photographs and graphic designs. No data or findings can be published without the permission of UNICEF and any publications arising from the work will be co-authored with UNICEF staff. The use of UNICEF material for any purpose, including repackaging in hard copy or compilation for CD-ROM or any other electronic media, is prohibited unless prior written permission is obtained. The unauthorized use of the UNICEF name and logo is against international law and is expressly forbidden. 

How to Apply 

Candidates invited to send a proposal should provide:

  1. An expression interest where the candidate indicates:
    1. Interest and/or her/his description of suitability for the consultancy.
    2. Total cost estimated for the consultancy disaggregated into (a) total cost from individual fee; (b) total cost from overall travel expenses assuming visits lasting 3 work-days (non-inclusive of travel time) to Dodoma, Mbabane and Maputo, assuming departure from her/his home-country.
    3. Confirms availability to undertake the consultancy fully.
  2. An updated Personal History P11 Form (To obtain a copy of the form, copy and paste this link to your browser’s address bar
  3. An updated CV.
  4. One sample of work directly related to this consultancy (e.g., report on standard-setting or active participation in a standardized assessment exercise, sample of document of standards, journal article on assessment-related issues, etc.).

Opening Date Sun Mar 10 2019 06:00:00 GMT+0000 (heure moyenne de Greenwich) E. Africa Standard Time
Closing Date Sun Mar 24 2019 20:55:00 GMT+0000 (heure moyenne de Greenwich)


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