Home-based: Early Childhood Education Consultant for developing a Report on EU good practices on strengthening ECEC workforce conditions (40 working days) - ECARO

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UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

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CH Home-based; Geneva (Switzerland)

Application deadline 4 months ago: Thursday 29 Sep 2022 at 21:55 UTC

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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, an education

Background and Scope of Work

In Austria the provision and oversight of early childhood education and care (ECEC) is split according to the Austrian constitutional law. The federal government (“Bund”) - in particular the Ministry for Education, Science and Research - is responsible for the standardised training of ECEC professionals at Training Institutes for ECEC; the financing of childcare facilities as well as the organization (e.g. the definition of framework conditions) are primarily the responsibilities of the “Länder” (provinces) and the municipalities.

Participation rate of children between 3 years and compulsory schooling age in 2019 in Austria was below the EEA target of 96% by 2030. The Austrian participation rate for 4 year-olds is at the EU average, above average for 5 year-olds, but considerable lower for 3 year-old children (-11.3 pps). The share of children under the age of 3 attending formal childcare increased considerably from 9% in 2009 to 22.7% in 2019. Meeting this growing need is a challenge due to low numbers of ECEC staff. The reasons for this lack of staff are various, and due to missing profound data, also not fully understood. However, annecdotal evidence suggests:

  • There are differing staffing and employment conditions for ECEC staff across Länder (provinces) and the municipalities including differences in salaries and salary schemes (Austria has over 60 different schemes), group sizes, the professional staff-child ratio, and service-related matters such as preparation time without direct child services.
  • There is persistent gender inequality in the sector. In 2020/21 only 3% of employees in ECEC services were men.
  • The qualification is not percieved to be attractice, especially for male students, which is certainly also strongly influenced by the low level of recognition of the profession in society and the low salary.

ECEC services face a clear shortage of professional staff, which was made more profound due to the COVID-19 pademic which increased uncertainty and educator stresses. Due to this shortage, a competition between public and private employers takes place to the disadvantage of children. Salary differences between private and public employers and the high demand for ECEC professionals applicants can choose their employer based on salary and other indicators like framework conditions.

The EU Commission and UNICEF are supporting the Austrian authorities in addressing some of these challenges through a techncial support project which seeks to systematically strengthen ECEC workforce quality and conditions.

As part of this project UNICEF is seeking a consultant with an Early Childhood Education and research background to develop in four months a comparative study that identifies European countries that have successfully undertaken reforms to strengthen ECEC staffing conditions and quality that could inform Austria in its reforms.

Specifically, the study will be used:

  • To inform the reform process that the Austrian Government aims to undertake;
  • To highlight the process taken in systems that are developing or have developed their own framework for ECEC staffing quality and conditions, or broader ECEC staffing reforms;
  • To demonstrate good examples and approach to monitoring and evaluating the quality of ECEC provision with a focus on the workforce element;
  • To learn from countries that have developed or are developing a vision, an official policy goal, or possibly a quality target or benchmark relating ECEC workforce quality and conditions.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities

1. Undertake a comparative study on European best practices/ good practices on strengthening ECEC workforce conditions and quality.

  • Through desk review and engagement with key ECEC experts identify long-list of European countries who have successfully worked to strengthen, standardise and/or monitor staff workforce conditions and quality in the ECEC sector.
    • Conducting desk research as well as engaging with key ECEC experts in the region to find most noteworthy country examples.
  • Develop a short-list of countries for a more detailed documentation based on impact of reforms undertaken and comparable governance structure to Austria (Federal / Decentralisation). Further considerations for the short list should include:
    • Countries with best examples of strong and well-regulated workforces that result in quality ECEC – where impact has been evident ideally.
    • Countries with good M&E systems for ECEC workforce, or that also cover ECEC workforce.
    • Countries in advanced stages of ECEC workforce reforms or have well developed Workforce quality and regulation systems.
    • Countries with best possibilities for transferal of knowledge and practice to Austria.
  • Develop a final report on European best practice/ good practices with a focus on undertakings that could be replicated in Austria.
  • Assist the lead consultant with country peer exchange opportunities including hosting an oline learning session summarising findings from the report.

Work Assignment Overview

Tasks / Milestone******Deliverables / Outputs******Timeline / DeadlineCreate a comparative report on European best practices on strengthening ECEC workforce editions1. Simple methodology and workplan.2 working days;

by 15 October 2022

  1. Identifying long-list of European countries who have successfully worked to strengthen, standardise and/or monitor staff workforce conditions and quality in the ECEC sector.14 working days;

by 02 November 2022

  1. Develop a short-list of countries for a more detailed documentation based on impact of reforms undertaken and comparable governance structure to Austria (Federal / Decentralisation).14 working days;

by 25 November 2022

  1. Develop a final report on European best practice with a focus on undertakings that could be replicated in Austria8 working days;

by 12 December 2022

  1. Assist the lead consultant with country peer exchange opportunities.2 working days;

by 15 February 2023

Estimated Duration of the Contract

40 working days (between October 2022 and February 2023)

Consultant’s Work Place and Official Travel

The Consultant will be home-based in Austria.

Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule

Payment will be made on submission of an invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables. Please indicate a daily fee based on 40 working days to undertake this assignment.

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

  • Master’s degree or higher in education, social studies and development, public health and/or medicine, nutrition, psychology, human development, child development, families' studies or another relevant technical field.
  • Seven (7) years minimum of relevant professional experience in early childhood education and care or education research and policy. Ideally with experience in qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • Proven background in researching topics on ECEC and/or ECD and Education.
  • Experience of the Austrian ECEC context is an asset.
  • Knowledge of different European ECEC systems.
  • Understanding of ECEC staffing and service conditions, teacher training and mentorship and tools/processes for measuring ECEC quality.
  • Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.
  • Fluency in English is essential. Knowledge of German or an official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core 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 http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/UNICEF_Competencies.pdf

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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Please include a full CV and Financial Proposal in your application by indicating your availability and daily rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a daily rate will not be considered. 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.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants 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.

Added 4 months ago - Updated 4 months ago - Source: unicef.org