Consultancy - Education Database Management Specialist – Data Must Speak (DMS) Research - Office of Research Innocenti - Florence Italy

UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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Application deadline in 4 days: Wednesday 27 Jan 2021


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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, Education

How can you make a difference?


The UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti (UNICEF-Innocenti) is the dedicated research office of UNICEF. It undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children in order to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners. UNICEF-Innocenti explores emerging issues, identifies research gaps, brings together existing research, and supports or undertakes new research and data collection to address critical questions and to inform global debates.

Data Must Speak (DMS), a programme led by UNICEF headquarters and implemented with Governments, UNICEF Regional Offices, and Country Offices since 2014, provides country-specific technical support and capacity strengthening to Ministries of Education and school communities for more effective and transparent data use at school and system levels. DMS also includes a research component whose new phase - led by UNICEF-Innocenti - has been approved for co-funding, for the next three years, as part of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)/International Development Research Centre (IDRC) global programme for Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX).

Despite the learning crisis, even in the most difficult contexts, there are some diamonds, the “positive deviant” schools: those that are outperforming (in terms of learning, gender, and equity) other schools in the same context and with the same resources. Unfortunately, most of the time, the “positive deviant” schools are not identified and very little is known about the “positive deviant” practices and behaviours being implemented in those schools (or around) that make them perform better than the others. And even less is known about the “implementation gap” in service delivery: how to incentivize and scale up these “positive deviant” practices and behaviours in the less performing schools.

The DMS research component has been designed to address these gaps in evidence generation and use at country level for policy and implementation changes, using mixed methods including quantitative research, social science, behavioural insights approaches, scaling science, and implementation research. The research project is currently taking place in eight countries: Nepal, Lao PDR, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Zambia, Togo, Niger, and Madagascar. In 2021, it is expected that the research project will expand in both scope and depth.

Objective(s): The consultant will support the DMS research team to implement mixed-methods research that aims at supporting education system to identify positive deviant school-level practices/behaviours, finding how to optimally scale them to low-performing schools, and more generally, strengthening data use within Ministries of Education.

The consultant will support the smooth implementation of the UNICEF Innocenti DMS research by supporting Ministries of Education i) accessing, cleaning, and linking administrative education datasets, ii) supporting the quantitative data analysis to identify positive deviant schools in each given context; iii) contributing to country, regional, and global synthesis reports. Those tasks will be done hand-in-hand with Ministries of Education, UNICEF country offices, regional offices and headquarters and development partners at country level and will put emphasis on ‘learning-by-doing’ capacity strengthening activities.

Scope of Work: To achieve the objectives above, the consultant will perform the following activities:

• Review and map existing education-related administrative datasets such as EMIS, learning assessments (e.g. depending on context: EGRA/EGMA; PASEC; SACMEQ; SEA-PLM; PISA; and others), and household surveys (e.g. MICS; DHS…) in new participating countries; • Clean, link and integrate education data systems to improve their relevance and reliability. This activity will be done hand-in-hand with Ministries of Education, and other relevant stakeholders– ensuring capacity-building in the process; • In close collaboration with the DMS quantitative researchers, perform data analysis on the resources and contextual factors that are associated with school performance (in terms of learning outcomes, gender & equity, and retention) from the previously merged datasets and other school indices created in countries that have received previous DMS technical support; • Strengthen the capacity of Ministries of Education and UNICEF field offices and through trainings and ‘learning-by-doing’ activities in the areas of database management and data analysis; • Provide guidance and quality assurance on education database management to Ministries of Education and UNICEF field offices; • Support the DMS research team in writing country, regional, and global level reports and other dissemination outputs (blog posts, PowerPoint presentations…); • Contribute to the development of new DMS-related education research proposals; • Support, when necessary, the overall READ agenda contributing to its annual workplan; • Act as a UNICEF resource person in relevant conferences, workshops and meetings, including for dissemination of key research outcomes for effective use at country level.

Duration: 20 days per month over the course of 11.5 months

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

Minimum qualification:

  • Masters Degree in Database management, economics, statistics, education or related social sciences.


A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at national or international levels in the area of database management and education research, with developing country level experience essential; • Strong database management, quantitative research and data analysis skills as well as demonstrated experience in database management methods, and analysis; • Extensive knowledge of database management software packages (e.g. SQL, Access…); • Good knowledge of statistical analysis software packages (e.g.. Stata, SPSS, R…); • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including for fundraising purposes; • Demonstrated ability to work well as part of a team and to forge and manage partnerships with internal and external stakeholders; • Commitment to UNICEF’s core values of care, respect, integrity, transparency, and accountability; • Ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment. Experience working in the UN or other international development organizations is an asset; • Fluency in English and French required; Fluency in another UN language is an asset.

  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework at

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 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. See General Terms & Conditions General Terms & Conditions for Consultants and Individual Contractors.docx 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.

Depending on the type and length of contract, consultants may be eligible to receive Paid Time Off (PTO) credit at the rate of one- and one-half days (1.5 days) for each full month of service, to be credited on the last calendar day of the month, and up to 17 days for a maximum of 11.5 months contract.

Payment of professional fees 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.

Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant

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