Early Childhood Education Advisor

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UNICEF
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15/05/2021
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Early Childhood Education Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation

Job no: 540387
Contract type: Consultancy
Level: Consultancy
Categories: Early Childhood Development, Consultancy

Title: Early Childhood Education Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation
Type of engagement:  National Consultant
Duty Station: Prishtina / Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation
Start date: 15 May 2021
End date: 14 April 2022

Purpose of Activity/Assignment:

The purpose of this consultancy is to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to increase i) equitable access of all children to universal and inclusive early childhood education, ii) professional capacities and quality assurance of services providers and knowledge of parents to support their children’s learning, and iii) to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive legal framework and standards, accountability arrangements, and cross-sectorial collaboration.

Scope of Work:

High quality early learning is essential and integral to children’s holistic development, particularly for the most disadvantaged, compensating for the deprivations of their social environment. To reap the benefits, early childhood education provision should be of high quality, informed by equity and inclusion policies and attract adequate funding and implementation capacities.

The Kosovo Education Strategic Plan 2017-2021 and the National Development Strategy 2016-2021 prioritize increased participation of children in quality preschool education, along with increased qualifications and in-service training of educators, and increased awareness of parents and the community regarding ECD. Nevertheless, MICS 2020 statistics reveal that access to preschool institutions remains at only 15 percent for children 3-5 years old from the general population, and only 8 percent for children in the same age cohort among Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.

Equity remains greatly unaddressed also in the aspect of inclusion of children with disabilities, children from rural areas and from the poorest quantiles, while teacher-centered approaches are utilized over child- and play-centered educational approaches.

Preschool and preprimary education is provided in public, private and community-based centers. However, the data collection and monitoring lacks consistency and generates incomplete evidence on the quality of teaching, enrollment and learning outcomes, particularly for the private preschool institutions.

The policy and standards framework for early learning in Kosovo provides a solid foundation to support teaching and learning for young children. There is, however, a need to accelerate the approval of the revised ECE Law (which UNICEF Kosovo has supported), and to develop by-laws for its enforcement.

The onset of COVID-19 in March 2020 and the subsequent closure of preschool institutions further restricted the access to early learning opportunities. However, the crisis also provided an impetus for leveraging digital solutions and distance education through the development of innovative tools to reach children and families with early learning content beyond the pandemic context.

This engagement which will be placed at the Minister of Education’s cabinet, will strengthen MESTI’s capacities in relation to:

  • Support the review and finalization of the Early Childhood Education Law and deriving Administrative Instructions and provide technical expertise and guidance to review and endorse the core curriculum and early learning and development standards documents for the respective levels of preschool and preprimary education.
  • Define and guide the development of a strategic roadmap and costing for systematic scale up of ECD programing in Kosovo with a particular focus on early childhood education (ECE), recognizing alternative models for provision of inclusive ECE services and increased accessibility and coverage for the most marginalized children.
  • Support the establishment, coordination and close supervision of a National Working Group (NWG) for Early Childhood Education with the aim to review and address key challenges in the regulatory framework, quality of service, accessibility to ECE, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and governance and funding. Accordingly, support the development clear ToRs and the Statute of the NWG for ECE, with reference to members and respective role and responsibilities.
  • Provide guidance and technical assistance for developing coherent policies and programs for the pre- and in-service training and the continuous professional development of ECE providers for the provision of quality, inclusive and gender equitable ECE, including advanced ICT skills, and the development of tools for quality assurance of educational approaches and materials.
  • Support the development of approaches to enhance general awareness on the importance of and return on investment from early childhood education, including empowering of parents to demand and use inclusive and quality ECE services.
  • Support the enhancement, integration and scale-up of digital learning solutions that support educator based pedagogical considerations, and parents and children with enhanced knowledge, skills and confidence for good parenting practices and child wellbeing and education.
  • Support the critical analysis of the systems in place for data collection, monitoring and knowledge generation and utilization for enhancing early childhood education programmes and outcomes. To this end, provide recommendations for changes in relevant policies, protocols, and systems for data collection, monitoring and knowledge generation mechanisms.

Work Assignment Overview

Tasks/Milestone:

Support accreditation of programmes for continuous professional development for the pre- and in-service training of educators and development of quality assurance tools.

Deliverables/Outputs:

Continuous professional development plan developed. Monitoring and quality assurance tools developed.

Tasks/Milestone:

Coordinate with the MESTI communications department to develop and implement awareness and demand generation campaign on the importance of ECE.

Deliverables/Outputs:

Communication and demand generation campaign and awareness raising activities implemented.

Tasks/Milestone:

Support the review and finalization of the ECE Law, develop AIs, and ensure the review and endorsement of the core curriculum and ELDS for preschool and preprimary education levels.

Deliverables/Outputs:

ECE Law finalized and endorsed and AIs are developed; Core curriculum and ELDS revised, validated and piloted.

Tasks/Milestone:

Guide the development of the roadmap and costing for scaling up viable models of ECD/E programmes

Deliverables/Outputs:

Roadmap and costing for scaling-up available ECD/E programmes developed.

Tasks/Milestone:

Support the enhancement, integration and scaling up of digital learning tools for educators, parents and children 0-6 years old

Deliverables/Outputs:

Distance learning tools strengthened and scaled-up in usage and outcomes for educators, parents and children.

Tasks/Milestone:

Support the establishment and coordinate and supervise the National Working Group on Early Childhood Education

Deliverables/Outputs:

Established National Working Group on ECE with representatives from key donors, service providers and experts. Meetings organized. ToR, Statute and Work Plan developed.

Tasks/Milestone:

Review and revise existing mechanisms for ECE data collection, monitoring and knowledge generation.

Deliverables/Outputs:

Real-time and comprehensive data collection and monitoring tools developed for ECE, including all service providers and learning outcomes.

Minimum Qualifications required:

Master’s degree

Knowledge/Expertise/Skills required:

  • Advanced degree, preferrable doctoral degree, in early childhood education, social sciences or related discipline
  • 5 years of proven experience, preferably in ECE subsector, policy development and analysis
  • Expertise in Early Childhood Development programmes, policy, curriculum and training
  • Familiarity with the early childhood development and education context locally and international best practices
  • Proven analytical and report writing skills.
  • Ability to write concisely, clearly, and under time pressure
  • Strong facilitation, negotiation and coordination skills.

Advertised: 12 May 2021 Central Europe Daylight Time
Deadline: 19 May 2021 Central Europe Daylight Time

More information.

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