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, hope
The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.
How can you make a difference?
Purpose for the job
Under the overall guidance and direction of the Regional Adviser Education, the Education Specialist supports the Regional Adviser in providing Regional Adviser authoritative technical guidance and operational support to country offices throughout all stages of programming to facilitate the management and delivery of results on strengthening national education systems with a particular focus on Data and M&E systems to improve learning outcomes and to promote universal access to quality, equitable and inclusive primary/early childhood and lower secondary education, especially for children who are marginalized, disadvantaged and excluded in society.
The Education Specialist contributes to the achievement of concrete and sustainable results according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), as well as UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance and accountability framework.
Key function, accountabilities and related duties/tasks
1. Management and advisory support to the Regional Adviser
Provide advice to the Regional Adviser in establishing the annual work plan, including developing strategies, determining priorities and performance measurements.
Coordinate work progress monitoring and ensure results are achieved according to schedule and performance standards, and report to Regional Adviser critical issues for timely action.
Provide technical assistance and advice to colleagues in the section and country offices on all aspects of Data M&E Systems strengthening to enable them to achieve performance objectives.
Perform the full duties of the Regional Adviser in his/her absence.
2. Programme development and planning
Advise the Regional Adviser on the preparation, design and updating of the situation analysis for the education programmes in WCAR to ensure that current and comprehensive disaggregated data on education quality and equity issues is available to guide UNICEF’s strategic policy, advocacy, intervention and development efforts on education programmes.
Advise the Regional Adviser in setting priorities, strategies, design and implementation plans to support country offices on Data M&E systems strengthening. Keep abreast of development trends to enhance regional education support to country programme management, efficiency and delivery.
Participate in strategic programme discussion on the planning of education programmes. Formulate, design and prepare programme proposals for the sector, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plans and Country Programme and coherence/integration with the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.
Establish specific goals, objectives, strategies and implementation plans for the sector using results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for programme review and approval.
Work closely and collaboratively with internal colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies, and to determine national priorities to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes and to ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of programmes/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.
3. Programme management, monitoring and quality control of results
Plan and collaborate with colleagues and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators and other UNICEF/UN system indicators to assess/strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results on education programmes.
Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, programme reviews and annual reviews with the regional and other partners to assess progress and to determine required action/interventions to achieve results.
Prepare and assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses in programme management. § Identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
Actively monitor programmes/projects through field visits and surveys, and exchange information with stakeholders to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems, and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
Manage the optimum and appropriate use of sectoral programme resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity, ensuring timely reporting and liquidation of resources. · Prepare regular and mandated programme reports for management, donors and partners to keep them informed of programme progress.
4. Advisory services and technical support
Provide technical advice to key government officials, NGO’s, UN system and other country office partners on policies, strategies, best practices and approaches on education relevant to Data and M&E Systems Strengthening in all WCAR countries to support programme development planning, implementation and delivery of results.
Coordinate and ensure the availability of technical experts for Country Offices from Regional Office and HQ to ensure timely support throughout all stages of programming. Participate in strategic discussions to influence policy and agenda setting for combating the data crisis in education in WCAR, learning poverty and all forms of discrimination against women/children by advising on and advocating strategies and approaches to promote universal access to quality, equitable and inclusive education for children in the country.
Prepare policy papers, briefs and other strategic programme materials for management use, information and consideration.
Participate in country discussions on education emergency preparedness, programming and contingency planning to ensure proactive and appropriate responses are in place to meet the onset of emergencies nationally or other designated locations.
5. Advocacy, networking and partnership building
Build and strengthen strategic partnerships through networking and advocacy with regional institutions/bodies (AU, ECOWAS, ECCAS, ADEA) local/national governments, UN system agency partners including SDG4, donors, internationally recognized institutions, NGOs, funding organizations, research institutes and private sector to reinforce cooperation and/or pursue opportunities to promote goals and achieve sustainable and broad results on education.
Prepare communication strategies and implementation plans and activities for maximum communication impact and outreach to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances, in particular related to Data and M&E systems for sustainable results and support fund raising for UNICEF Regional and Country Office education programmes and emergency interventions.
Participate and/or represent UNICEF in SDG 4, UNICEF/WFP and other inter-agency partnership discussions and planning on education and related issues to ensure organizational position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF process in development planning and agenda setting as well as other joint initiatives. Collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues on UNDAF planning and preparation of programmes/projects including emergency preparedness
6. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building
Promote critical thinking, innovative approaches and good practices for sustainable education programme initiatives through advocacy and technical advisory services.
Keep abreast, research, benchmark, introduce and implement best and cutting-edge practices on education management and information systems. Institutionalize and disseminate best practices and knowledge learned.
Contribute to the development of policies and procedures and introduce innovation and best practices to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programmes and projects.
Organize, plan and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of stakeholders in Data, M&E Systems to promote sustainable results on education related programmes / projects.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have:
Education: An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: education, economics, psychology, sociology or another relevant technical field.
Experience: A minimum of eight years of professional experience in programme planning, management, and/or research in education is required. Experience working in a developing country is considered as an asset. Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset. Familiarity/ background with emergency is considered as an asset.
Language Requirements: Fluency in English and French is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate:
Technical competencies must be demonstrated in the following areas:
• Good understanding of the overall global development context, including issues such as: poverty, conflict and the impact of these factors on education and vice-versa; and inter-sectoral approaches to address such issues in collaboration with other sectors (including Social Policy, Child Protection, Nutrition, WASH, Health and Communications within UNICEF).
• Good knowledge of global developments in education and international engagement strategies, including the application of the equity lens and human rights perspectives to programming.
• Good ability to support policy dialogue: translation of analytical findings and evidence into development programme and policy discussions around equity and learning with partners, including government, development partners, CSOs and academia in relevant areas.
• Good education sector planning knowledge/ability, including the range of modalities for delivering education, linkages between different sub-sectors (e.g. ECD, Primary, Secondary,Tertiary, Inclusive Education), cost-effectiveness and efficiency issues, key institutional structures, components and processes, as well as governance issues.
• Good education data and policy sector analysis capacity, including understanding of the core education data sets and indicators; tools for analysis of equity, inclusion and quality learning outcomes; determinants of student access and learning; budget, costing, and financial management in education systems; political economy; education policy and strategic planning.
• Good ability to support engagement with partners e.g. Sector Wide Approaches, Global Partnership for Education, Education in Emergency Clusters, Education Provider Forums, Delivering as One, Inter-sectoral partnerships such as in ECD, School Health and Nutrition, Safe Schools, Safe to Learn as well as networking with other key partners.
• Good understanding of gender and inequity issues in relation to education and development and the application of gender / equity analysis to policy and planning in education.
• Good understanding of policies and strategies to address issues related to resilience: risk analysis and risk management, education in conflict situations, natural disasters, and recovery for CO and RO based post and where relevant. UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
For every Child, you demonstrate fair chance
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
The functional competencies required for this post are:
Leading and supervising (I)
Formulating strategies/concepts (II)
Relating and networking (II)
Deciding and initiating action (II)
Applying Technical Expertise (III)
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.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
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