Jordan: Title of consultancy: UNICEF – Education Cannot Wait – Research on the role and functions of education authorities in Syria- Education Cannot Wait Dialogue Forum

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Jordan
Closing date: 24 Jan 2018




Education in Syria is in crisis. 5.82 million children, teachers and school personnel are in need of education assistance. At least 1.75 million children are out of school and 1.35 million more are at risk of dropping out. Syria has lost 150,000 of its teachers and one in three schools have been damaged or destroyed. In 2016, there were 87 attacks on schools and education facilities, killing or injuring 250 children and 28 teachers and school staff. Despite this, demand for education inside Syria remains strong. The humanitarian response and the work of education authorities to deliver safe, quality, inclusive education has contributed to an increase in enrolment.[1]

Syria’s current education system reflects the fragmented nature of a state in conflict over its form of government and its identity, and the multi-pronged nature of the response to the conflict. Before the conflict, Syria had one of the highest literacy and school enrollment rates in the region. The vast majority of students received their education from a public education system. Currently, children receive education from formal systems or non-formal systems, many of which focus on enabling children who have missed schooling to catch-up. Teachers, facilitators and education personnel support education in formal schools, temporary learning spaces and repurposed buildings, basements, mosques and homes. In addition to the Government of Syria’s (GoS) curriculum, there are five formal curricula in use as well as dozens of different non-formal curricula being taught. Both formal and non-formal curricula are used with varying levels of endorsement from various authorities, both within Syria and internationally.

Education Authorities

Prior to the conflict, education in Syria was centralized and governed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Damascus through the Education Directorates (ED) at the Provincial level. The EDs worked through the Education Assemblies (EAs) at district and sub-district level. Since the conflict began, the fragmented nature of governance across Syria has given rise to a number of different, non-humanitarian authorities assuming roles in the delivery of education in their communities. At the local level many communities have responded quickly to a crisis situation in which access to formal education has been severely curtailed. This has included establishing and managing different types of education entities and activities on a voluntary basis, with individuals sometimes working to maintain access to education with little to no remuneration for many months or even years. These entities have evolved in different and changing political and military circumstances, and as such each of those authorities has a unique curve of development that has made its core characteristics distinct. The role of a central Government has also influenced the development of education authorities. In GoS held areas, and to some extent in areas controlled by the Kurdish Self-Administration, the role of the central MoE has ensured centralized procedures and systems are in place. In contract, the role of the Syria Interim Government Ministry of Education (SIG MoE) has varied across opposition-held areas, leading to the decentralization of many education governance functions to the provincial level EDs.

Some of the education governance structures that have been established mirror the pre-conflict education governance system, while others adapt these structures, and others still are new structures entirely. In some areas, these local initiatives were developed in parallel to the development of the other services, governance structures and NGO-led education projects. As a result there has often been confusion in terms of roles and responsibilities. In opposition-held areas for example, the Local Councils (LC) initially played a role in providing education in some locations until the Education Directorates (EDs) of the Syria Interim Government (SIG) were established in 2013. LCs and EDs now work alongside over 100 INGO and NGO partners to provide education, with varying levels of coordination. In some cases, confusion, mistrust and misunderstandings about education governance and the delivery of education creates blockages between actors which prevent coordination.

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Syria Dialogue Forum

The education team of the Whole of Syria (WoS) together with Syria Education Development Partners’ Group (DPG) constituted an Education Dialogue Forum (EDF) in early 2017 within the framework of Education Cannot Wait (ECW)-funded Syria education programme entitled: Strengthening the education system inside Syria towards sustainable delivery of equitable, quality and protective education services for all children. At the heart of the ECW Syria programme lies a vision of catalyzing education sector-wide improvements, strengthening the coherence and effectiveness of the education sector, and enhancing coordination between humanitarian, development and stabilization efforts, as well as dialogue between all actors involved in providing access to quality education for children inside Syria. The EDF aims at facilitating the realization of this vision while addressing key strategic policy and technical issues in education.

One of the barriers identified by the EDF to achieving an improved education response is knowledge and understanding of the role and functions of the various education authorities which lead, manage or contribute to the delivery of education across Syria. The consultancy outlined in this ToR focuses on this topic.

Objectives, Purpose & Expected results

Since the conflict began, research to understand the education authorities across Syria has been limited. While some actors have an in-depth understanding of one branch of education authority, this may be limited to one or two areas. Research is required to map and understand the role and functions of education authorities across the country, both to ensure improved coordination in the short term and to ensure understanding of the various modes of delivery is in pace to support planning in the long term.

The objective of this research is to provide a comprehensive and detailed analytical mapping covering the main education authorities across Syria, including those which are controlled by the GoS, the Kurdish Self-Administration and others controlled by non-state armed groups.

The research paper will provide information on the composition and the structure of each of the education authorities, the scope of work under each education authority, the use of curricula (both formal and non-formal), the secondary school examination and certificates and the levels of coordination between different actors in addition to other aspects as detailed below. The research paper will also include a section which will highlight potential avenues to foster more coherent local education governance structures across Syria.

Description of the assignment

This is a three-month full time consultancy designed to begin late February 2018 and conclude late May 2018 with the submission of the final version of the consultancy report.

The consultant will report to the ECW program manager and the WoS co-coordinators and will provide bi-weekly progress reports (in bullet form) on advancement of the work against the detailed work-plan that will be developed in the inception report. The bi-weekly progress reports will be followed by skype calls with the ECW program manager, the WoS co-coordinators and the DPG chair with a view to share questions and concerns, address bottlenecks and provide advice.

The research team will need to spend time reviewing existing documentation before spending time in country. The research team should then spend up to three weeks in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria (if possible). This time in country may include scope to hold focus groups with education stakeholders including teachers, education authorities, parents, students, and NGOs/CSOs, either in person in Turkey, Lebanon or in Jordan or remotely with stakeholders in Syria.

It is important to note that the issues under discussion are sensitive, and as such the consultant will need to follow the agreed messaging concerning the consultancy and the field research, respect the rules of confidentiality to be established, and build trust across different actors without raising expectations of what may be achieved.


Output 1: Inception Report.

The report should not exceed 30 pages with annexes. It should cover the following areas:

  • Problem statement and key lines of inquiry.
  • Desk review of available evidence and analysis (for Syria and regionally/globally, together with bibliography).
  • Detailed methodology for the production of the mapping together with:
  • outline of the tools, templates and infographics that will be used and produced;
  • list of primary sources together with methodology of inquiry/interviews/focus groups with stakeholders (UN agencies, donors, CSOs/NGOs, education authorities, teachers, education personnel, etc.).
  • Outline of risks, limiting factors, assumptions and mitigation measures.
  • Detailed work plan with timeframe
  • Output 2: Comprehensive mapping of the the multiple forms of education governance structures and providers in Syria

    The mapping should not exceed 100 pages, covering including:

  • The education governance structures in areas that are under the control of the GoS MoE;
  • The education governance structures in areas under the control of non-state armed actors: the SIG MoE, the Education Directorates and the Education Assemblies at district and sub-district levels
  • The education structures in areas that are under the control of the Kurdish Self-Administration (Syria Defence Forces -SDF).
  • The education structures in areas newly cleared of Da’esh (ISIL and ISIL affiliates) including the role of the Government of Turkey (GoT)
  • The mapping should cover the following technical areas:

  • the history of each education authority including an analysis of the political, military and humanitarian context
  • a detailed organogram illustrating of the main bodies that fall under the mapped entity and the work flow
  • the number of students, schools and education personnel served by each entity
  • the policies and procedures in place under each education authority including use of formal and non-formal curricula, teacher qualifications and HR
  • coordination mechanisms in place within different areas of control and cross-line including with humanitarian organizations, armed actors other local governance entities
  • the challenges each education authority faces and concrete examples of their work to date.
  • Output 3: Desk review and applied analysis of the evidence. This should not exceed 50 pages and should focus on other protracted crises covering the role and functions of education authorities and best practice to strengthen systems and improve coordination during and after protracted conflict.

    Output 4: Dissemination materials including a PPT presentation of no more than 30 slides covering key points from the different outputs.

    Reporting requirements

    All outputs need to be in the English language and be submitted to the ECW Programme Manager and WoS education coordinators.

    Reports should be submitted electronically in ‘doc’ and ‘pdf’.

    Location and Duration

    This is a three-month, full time consultancy designed to begin in late February 2018 and conclude by late May 2018 with the submission of the final versions of all the consultancy outputs.

    Travel will take place to Syria (Damascus), Turkey (Istanbul and Gaziantep), Jordan (Amman) and Lebanon (Beirut). If travel to Syria is not possible due to security and/or visa permissions then as an alternative, contacts with stakeholders in Damascus will be be done remotely, through phone calls and Skype.

    The consultancy should factor 40 – 50 travel days.

    The following is a proposed broad timeline to be detailed and completed upon award of consultancy contract

  • Late February 2018: Briefings with ECW program manager, WoS co-coordinators, DPG chair.
  • Mid-March 2018: Submission of inception report.
  • March/April: Travel to Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon and field research.
  • End of April: Submission of mapping report
  • Mid-May: Submission of evidence review
  • Late May: Submission of dissemination materials
  • Qualification requirements

    The consuntancy is open to individual(s) and institutions who have the following required experience, skills and qualifications:

    The research consultant/team must have sufficient knowledge of education governance in Syria pre-conflict and since the crisis began, as well as a broader contextual understanding of the role and functions of education authorities in fragile and conflict affected states:

  • Advanced university degree in economics or related field.
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience.
  • Technical expertise on issues related to protracted crises.
  • Familiarity with the humanitarian response and mechanisms.
  • Fluency in English is required; understanding of Arabic is an asset
  • Evaluation process and methods

    Administrative issues

    Bidders are requested to provide an all-inclusive cost in the financial proposal. Bidders should be reminded to factor in all cost implications for the required service / assignment

    As travel is expected (40 – 50 days in total), bidders are required to include the estimate cost of travel in the financial proposal:

  • travel cost shall be calculated based on economy class travel, regardless of the length of travel and
  • ii) costs for accommodation, meals and incidentals shall not exceed applicable daily subsistence allowance (DSA) rates, as promulgated by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC).
  • Project management

    The consultant will report to the ECW program manager and the WoS co-coordinators and will provide bi-weekly progress reports (in bullet form) on advancement of the work against the detailed workplan that will be developed in the inception report. The bi-weekly progress reports will be followed by skype calls with the ECW program manager, the WoS co-coordinators and the DPG chair with a view to share questions and concerns, address bottlenecks and provide advice.

    Payment Schedule

    Progressive payment scheme will be used, linking the payment schedule to each milestone/deliverable as follows:

    Inception report: 30%

    Comprehensive mapping of the the multiple forms of education governance structures and providers in Syria: 30%

    Desk review and applied analysis of the evidence: 20%

    Dissemination materials: 20%

    Any other information


    Humanitarian planning and coordination:

  • Assessments/studies

  • [1] UNICEF. 2017 (forthcoming). Quantitative Analysis of Education in Syria, 2010-11 to 2015-16.

    How to apply:

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