Education Consultant: 21st Century Core Competency Framework Implementation, Pretoria, South Africa, 9 months (remote)

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UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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ZA Home-based; Pretoria (South Africa)

Application deadline 17 days ago: Tuesday 2 Apr 2024 at 21:55 UTC

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Contract

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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.

UNICEF South Africa, there for every child. We believe that ensuring a child is happy and healthy begins before birth: from ensuring their mother has access to good health care to reaching adulthood as a healthy, empowered and informed young person of the next generation. This journey relies on every child having access to quality health care, good nutrition, education, and growing up in a safe environment free from violence.

Education | UNICEF South Africa

From birth to the final year of high school, children born into poverty face a range of obstacles that their wealthy peers do not. Since 1994, South Africa has made great strides in realising the right to education, rapidly building an efficient, accessible and quality education system for children and adolescents. This notable progress has been recorded across the three components of basic education in early childhood development, primary and secondary education:

  • The number of children under five attending an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre or pre-school has increased to one in three from one in ten since 2002.
  • Primary school attendance is at 99 per cent – up some 3 per cent since 2002.
  • Secondary school attendance has increased to 90 per cent from 88 per cent in 2002, with notable gender parity.
  • Children with disabilities continue to be better included within the schooling system, now representing 5 per cent of the total population of children attending school.

Yet, despite these achievements, the prospects and opportunities afforded to children in South Africa are still largely contingent on which side of the inequality divide they are born. Poverty and inequality remain harsh determinants, preventing so many children from accessing the quality basic education that they need.

About this consultancy

The South African education sector is not adequately equipping students with cognitive, social, and emotional competencies to meet the demands of our fast-changing world (NEDLAC, 2019; DHET, 2022). Too many learners, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, cannot read for meaning by the age of 10 (PIRLS, 2016; 2023). They are struggling to successfully complete secondary and tertiary education and leaving school ill-prepared to find or create employment. Whilst many complex social and economic reasons contribute to this failure to prepare learners for success during and after school, there is increasing acknowledgment that there is a need to better equip learners with the competencies they need to find or create work and thrive in the 21st Century and beyond (DBE Lekgotla, 2018 and 2022).

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a trimming of the South African ‘Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement’ (CAPS) curriculum, thereby opening the opportunity to rethink and rebuild the curriculum in the aftermath of the pandemic in a way that improves educational relevance.

To respond to the key challenge addressed above, the Department of Education (DBE) has developed the South African National 21st Century Core Competency Skills Framework in 2024 – a framework to be used from early childhood throughout all levels of education. The Framework is encouraged to be used by any formal, informal, and non-formal skills development interventions, including those initiated by other departments and the private sector.

At the national Basic Education Lekgotla in January 2022, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) agreed on a multi-pronged approach to address this complex set of issues. This approach includes:

  1. A short-term learning recovery plan in response to Covid-19, to address learning loss (2021 to 2024).
  2. A medium to long-term curriculum strengthening plan (2025 onward), aimed at addressing the issue of curriculum relevance and preparing learners for the fast-changing world.

The work outlined in this document will focus exclusively on the Curriculum Strengthening Initiative.

For the purposes of clarity – Whilst globally the term ‘21st Century Skills and/or Social Emotional Learning is commonly used in this space, South Africa has taken to referring to ‘skills and competencies for a changing world’. Acknowledging the cruciality of DBE’s efforts, UNICEF has confirmed its technical and financial support to DBE in the implementation of such a framework. On top, assist in developing/piloting the skills measurement tool, leveraging UNICEF’s Life Skills & Citizenship Education (LSCE) Framework and the Global Skills Framework. UNICEF SA is now seeking to find the needed strategic planning assistance from a highly experienced professional to provide quality support to the DBE.

How can you make a difference?

As the national curriculum strengthening process unfolds, there is a need for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to engage a broad range of researchers, academics, practitioners, and experts, locally and abroad, to support the design and implementation of the project.

Under the overall responsibility of the UNICEF Representative, the consultant, a technical expert, will directly report to Chief Education at UNICEF South Africa. The purpose of this assignment is to assist the DBE:

  • To develop a Curriculum Strengthening Implementation Strategy/Plan process; and
  • To provide technical inputs to the Curriculum Review Policy in the basic education system.

The work targets across the basic education system – including the Three Stream Model (TSM), in line with the overall strategic imperatives of Curriculum Strengthening.

The consultant will engage with the DBE’s Curriculum Strengthening team, and other relevant stakeholders, to develop an Implementation Plan Strategy Process that will provide a strategic overview of the workstreams, milestones, and resources required to implement the Curriculum Strengthening project. This will guide the work of the project team as it develops and manages rollout plans for each workstream. While the framework implementation and adoption process requires attention toward various aspects, including change management, strategic communication, linkages to curriculum and assessment strengthening projects, the consultant is expected to reflect adequate approaches, steps, and progress against each aspect with a common implementation roadmap among all key stakeholders.

The Implementation Strategy will feed into the Curriculum Review Policy, to be drafted by the DBE. The support is expected to reflect the existing political relationships among the key stakeholders. Further, the consultant is expected to showcase adaptability to the changing environment, adjust, and update work when required.

Outputs/Deliverables: On developing a national curriculum strengthening implementation strategy process, two deliverables are envisaged:

  • Deliverable 1 Develop an overall high-level process/roadmap on the curriculum reform process and associated principles. OUTPUT: Curriculum Reform Process/Principle Guide (by 30 April)
  • Deliverable 2 A brief narrative on lessons from past curriculum reform processes and principles that can guide the current curriculum strengthening process: I) An analysis of the five possible pathways towards implementing the curriculum strengthening framework, including their implications for each of the five levers (Curriculum, Learning & Teaching Support Materials (LTSM), Teacher Professional Development (TPD), Assessment, and Schooling Environment) and recommendation for a preferred pathway. OUTPUT: Curriculum Strengthening Pathway and Recommendation Report (by 31 May 2024)
  • Deliverable 3 I) A brief narrative that clarifies curriculum strengthening implementation theory of change and strategy process. II) The narrative will also include a recommended implementation plan to establish operational workstreams. OUTPUT: TOC of Curriculum Strengthening Implementation (including operational workstreams, curriculum review policy process, and digital framework technical inputs) (by 30 September 2024)
  • Deliverable 4 I. Technical input to the digital framework of the curriculum OUTPUT: A technical note on the specific inputs to the digital framework, including information on contributions to strategic discussions, presentations, meetings, inputs to documents, etc. (by 30 September 2024)
  • Deliverable 5 II. Technical input on a curriculum review policy process OUTPUT: A short technical memo (1 pager) submitted at regular intervals that outlines the overall processes monitored with progress update. (by 31 December 2024)

Tasks

Deliverable

Timeline

Develop an overall high-level process/roadmap on the curriculum reform process and associated principles.

Curriculum Reform Process/Principle Guide

30 April 2024

An analysis of the five possible pathways towards implementing the curriculum strengthening framework, including their implications for each of the five levers (Curriculum, Learning & Teaching Support Materials (LTSM), Teacher Professional Development (TPD), Assessment, and Schooling Environment) and recommendation for a preferred pathway.

Curriculum Strengthening Pathway and Recommendation Report

31 May 2024

A brief narrative that clarifies curriculum strengthening implementation theory of change and strategy process. The narrative will also include a recommended implementation plan to establish operational workstreams.

TOC of Curriculum Strengthening Implementation (including operational workstreams, curriculum review policy process, and digital framework technical inputs)

30 September 2024

Technical input to the digital framework of the curriculum.

A technical note on the specific inputs to the digital framework, including information on contributions to strategic discussions, presentations, meetings, inputs to documents, etc.

30 September 2024

Technical input on a curriculum review policy process

A short technical memo (1 pager) submitted at regular intervals that outlines the overall processes monitored with progress update.

1 June 2024

1 August 2024

1 October 2024

31 December 2024

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

  • An advanced university degree (Masters or higher) in Education, Public Policy
  • Minimum of 10 years professional experience in education
  • Experience in education reform planning & management
  • Experience in managing large-scale education sector programmes/projects
  • Experience in institutional and organisational capacity development
  • Experience in working with governments
  • Previous experience leading a similar education reform process in the Africa/Latin America region is an asset
  • Previous experience working with the UNICEF/UN is an asset

Majority of the consultancy will be conducted from home, however, upon request from the DBE, there may be a time when the consultant is asked to sit within the DBE for a short period of time. The DBE team will offer space for such circumstances.

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.

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.

Added 23 days ago - Updated 17 days ago - Source: unicef.org

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