Georgia: International Consultancy (one or several consultants) for technical assistance to improve the quality of education services in Abkhazia, Georgia

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Georgia
Closing date: 27 Aug 2017

1. Background

In Abkhazia, Georgia, one of Georgia’s two breakaway regions, the education system has suffered a significant degradation over the last 25 years as a consequence of the protracted conflict, war destruction and the international isolation of the region. Due to the lack of financial resources the education system is heavily underfunded, resulting in a persistent lack of teaching materials and teacher training, as well as a dilapidated school infrastructure. Also, over the last 25 years there have been no systematic attempts to reform the education system. As a consequence, the quality of education is low and international assistance to improve education services is urgently needed. At the same time, information on school attendance, drop-out rates and student learning outcomes are not publicly available, making evidence-based programming very difficult.

In addition, education in Abkhazia, Georgia in various ways perpetuates mistrust and resentment between the region’s various ethnic communities and does not contribute to peacebuilding. The resentment is felt particularly strongly in the sphere of mother tongue education and has the potential to cause new tensions between the divided communities. Children of different ethno-linguistic communities in Abkhazia, Georgia today have very different chances to study in their mother tongue and children of each ethnic community face specific challenges.

To address the educational needs of all children in Abkhazia, Georgia, irrespective of their ethnic background and place of residence, UNICEF is aiming at assisting the de facto authorities and local communities in improving the quality of education services and in this framework at also promoting a systematic approach to mother tongue based multilingual education (MTB MLE) in Abkhazia, Georgia.

Based on the results of the Assessment of General Education in Abkhazia, Georgia carried out by UNICEF in cooperation with the de facto Ministry of Education (df MoE) in the first half of 2015, UNICEF has held consultations with all relevant stakeholders on how UNICEF – given the sensitive political context in Abkhazia, Georgia – could best assist in improving the quality of general education services. As a result, agreement was reached to carry out an in-service teachers training programme on student-centered teaching instruction (SCI) methodologies. This programme started in October 2015, initially in the four Eastern districts of Abkhazia, Georgia. After receiving positive feedback from the df MoE, district education offices, school directors and teachers, the training programme was extended to the three districts of Western Abkhazia, Georgia and Sukhumi city. Starting from January 2017, the training programme also focused on SCI methodologies for the teaching of and in mother tongue and second language.

During the first half of 2017, the training programme was further extended to include pre-service training. Thus, a number of pilot trainings were conducted for lecturers and students/future teachers of the Linguistics and Pedagogy Faculties of the Abkhaz State University. UNICEF is now planning to engage more systematically with the ASU to improve the training in teaching methodologies for students/future teachers from various faculties, with a focus on mother tongue and second language teaching.

UNICEF furthermore agreed with the df MoE to expand the training programme by conducting trainings on methodologies for life skills education for teachers from 40 most populous schools in Abkhazia, Georgia. UNICEF developed a teachers’ guide on life skills education and is planning to organize life skills trainings in the period between October and December 2017. In addition, UNICEF started to carry out extra-curricular activities with parents and students, in order to promote the acquisition of life skills, mother tongue and second language skills, as well as tolerance towards the mother tongues education needs of other ethnic communities in Abkhazia, Georgia.

Against the background of the good results of the training programme so far, UNICEF is currently aiming at building the capacities of local teacher trainers and to transfer the in-service and pre-service trainings on SCI and life skills to local groups of methodological specialists and teachers identified as prospective trainers during earlier trainings. It is planned to form a core group of up to 40 teachers and specialists who will set up local resource groups/centers in all districts of Abkhazia, Georgia and continue with UNICEF support the teachers training programme over several years to cover all ca. 4,000 teachers in the region.

UNICEF is therefore planning to recruit one or several international consultants to provide technical assistance to its Sukhumi Field Office in Abkhazia, Georgia in the above mentioned areas.

2. Objective

The objective of the consultancy is to provide UNICEF Georgia’s Sukhumi Field Office and its regional and local partners with advice and technical assistance in the process of improving quality education services in Abkhazia, Georgia, with a focus on in-service and pre-service training for teachers, the introduction of student-centered instruction (SCI) methodologies and life skills education, as well as specifically improving mother tongue and second language teaching.

3. Tasks and deliverables

  • Task: Conduct 2 five-day training workshops for future teacher trainers (ToTs) on Student Centered Instruction in line with the earlier developed teacher guidebooks and training materials
  • Deliverable: 2 quality five-day workshops for future teacher trainers

    Time-line: 01/11 – 15/11/2017

    Working days: 12

  • Task: Monitor SCI trainings carried out by local teacher trainers in all seven districts of Abkhazia, Georgia and Sukhumi city, and coach local trainers during/after the trainings
  • Deliverable: Quality monitoring report (with recommendations for further training) on each 2 local trainings from each district of Abkhazia, Georgia and Sukhumi city

    Time-line: 15/11/2017 – 28/02/2017

    Working days: 24

  • Task: Conduct 2 one-day follow-up ToTs for local teacher trainers
  • Deliverable: 2 quality one-day follow-up ToTs

    Time-line: 01/03 – 31/03/2018

    Working days: 2

  • Task: Develop a two-day training programme and appropriate presentations for teacher trainings on life skills education in line with the earlier developed lifer skills guidebook for teachers

    Deliverable: Quality training programme and presentations

  • Time-line: 15/09 – 30/09/2017

    Working days: 2

  • Task: Conduct 4 two-day trainings on Life Skills for teachers from 40 target schools.

    Deliverable: 4 quality two-day trainings on Life Skills for teachers from 40 identified schools

  • Time-line: 01/10 – 15/11/2017

    Working days: 8

  • Task: Conduct 4 one-day follow-up training workshops on Life Skills for teachers that participated in the initial training on Life Skills (teachers from 40 target schools)

    Deliverable: 4 quality one-day follow-up training workshops for trained teachers on Life Skills

  • Time-line: 01/12 – 15/12/2017

    Working days: 4

  • Task: Conduct 4 two-day trainings on SCI methodologies for mother tongue and second language teaching for lecturers and students of the ASU

    Deliverable: 4 quality two-day trainings

  • Time-line: 01/11 – 30/11/2017

    Working days: 8

  • Task: Carry out an assessment of the teaching of instruction methodologies for future teachers at the Abkhaz State University (ASU), including in mother tongue and second language education

    Deliverable: Quality assessment report with recommendations for further action

  • Time-line: 01/11 – 30/11/2017

    Working days: 7

  • Task: Develop and support the implementation of a methodology course for pre-service training of future teachers at the ASU

    Deliverable: Quality curriculum and materials for the methodology course, guest lectures and workshops/meetings with ASU leadership and lecturers

  • Time-line: 01/02 – 31/05/2018

    Working days: 30

  • Task: Prepare questionnaires for a school and kindergarten survey and inventory

    Deliverable: Quality questionnaire

  • Time-line: 01/09-15/09/2017

    Working days: 2

    Total: 99 work days (75 in Abkhazia, Georgia, 24 from home)

    4. Timeframe and mode of consultancy activities

    The consultancy activities will be carried out between September 2017 and May 2018, with possible extensions as needed, and involve both, work from home, as well as frequent travel to and work in Abkhazia, Georgia, Georgia. During the work from home, the consultant(s) will use email, skype and telephone for regular communication with UNICEF Georgia’s Sukhumi Field Office and supervisors.

    Depending on further progress in UNICEF’s consultations with relevant decision makers in both Georgia proper and the Abkhazia, Georgia region, as well as with interested donors, the consultancy might be extended and amended to include additional tasks and deliverables in line with those established in this TOR.

  • Supervision
  • The consultant(s) will work under the direct supervision of the Chief of Field Office and Education Officer in Sukhumi and the overall supervision of the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Tbilisi.

  • Required qualifications
  • Advanced university degree in Education;
  • At least 10 years of work experience in the area of education, including work experience in countries of the former Soviet Union;
  • Work experience in education in conflict-affected areas;
  • Proven experience in teachers training on student-centered teaching methodologies and on life skills education, as well as in training teacher trainers (ToTs);
  • Sound technical expertise and work experience of 5 years in mother tongue and multi-lingual education desirably across CEE/CIS region;
  • Excellent English language skills and at least working knowledge of Russian language;
  • Very good analytical and organizational skills;
  • Very good knowledge of child’s rights;
  • Familiarity with UNICEF’s work in the area of education;
  • Excellent communication and team work skills; ability to work with minimum supervision in a multi-national environment with team members from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Good knowledge and use of Microsoft package.
  • 7. Payment terms and rates

    The consultant(s) will be paid at a consultancy fee rate negotiated between the consultant(s) and UNICEF Georgia, based on an initial proposal of the consultant(s) and taking into account the consultant’s / consultants’ level of experience and evaluations of his/her/their earlier work. Payment will be carried out in several portions as agreed between the consultant(s) and UNICEF, after satisfactory implementation of specific parts of the services and after provision of quality reports on the implemented activities.

    1. Financial implications (for internal purposes only)

    The costs for the consultancy will be covered from the EU-funded project “Confidence building and conflict prevention through the promotion of mother tongue based multilingual education in Abkhazia, Georgia” (SC160350) and the USAID-funded “Horizons” project (SC160581). For a possible extension/amendment of the consultancy contract, funds will also be used from the EU-funded follow-up project on MTB MLE in Abkhazia, Georgia under COBERM Plus, currently under negotiations with the EU, UNDP and UNHCR.

    How to apply:

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=506423

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