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TERMS OF REFERENCE for the consultancy to conduct interim evaluation of implementation of component 4 on School Readiness of the 2nd Education Sector Development Project.

Background and Context:

The Government of Azerbaijan (GOA) is committed to reform in the education sector on the basis of the Education Reform Program of 1999 and the 10 Years Education Reform Strategy (2003-2013) prepared by the Ministry of Education (MOE). The main purpose of this reform program and strategy is to address many key sectoral issues, to improve the quality of education and to realign the sector with the needs of the emerging market economy and social conditions.

The overall objective of component 4 within Second Education Sector Development Project is to provide access to preschool and increase the school readiness of children between 5 and 6 years of age, targeting low income rayons and vulnerable communities. This piloting will take place in 6 rayons (Lankaran, Guba, Shamakhi, Khatai District of Baku, Fuzuli and Goygol). The participating rayons have been chosen based on the following criteria: availability of preschools, preschool enrollment and attendance rates, existence of newly constructed or rehabilitated school buildings and available classrooms in these or other schools, and balance between urban and rural areas. 

The project supports an initiative that drastically differs from the old Soviet-type daycare services. The pilot project methodology is based on a comprehensive school readiness program that introduces child-centered, individualized teaching, and supports community and family involvement in preschools. The new methodology will encourage the 5-6-year olds to make choices, take responsibility for their decisions, express their ideas creatively, work in groups, and practice independent thinking, the skills that are crucial for their further success in general education.

The model developed by UNICEF in March 2009 was introduced on a 5-day per week basis with half-day programs offered in two shifts a day as of April 2010 in 6 pilot districts. Such measure is aimed at significantly increase the number of beneficiaries. Currently there is a lack of preschool curriculum that can be used in order to meet the requirements that would help the students to develop the skills discussed above.  In this regard, a provisional curriculum, which will be adapted from the experience of similar states will be adapted and used until the new curriculum will be developed and implemented in two years or so.

Since September 2009, the project is also promoting a parental education and awareness raising, relying on the effective work implemented by UNICEF in the last few years. The Parent Education Program (PEP) was developed in 2006 by a national task force based on the recommendations and findings of Knowledge Attitudes and Practices Survey on child care and rearing practices carried out by the MoE, SSC, and UNICEF. The Program presents guidance for strengthening families’ abilities to ensure their children’s rights to survival, growth, and development, particularly in the youngest years.

The new preschool groups in the pilot schools and preschools are managed and taught by mostly the preschool teachers and some other teachers in these schools depending on their educational background, major and the age groups they work with. In any case, both the general secondary education instructors and kindergarten caregivers will be intensively trained on working with the interim and new curricula, and dealing with the new preschool cohorts.
UNICEF supported the MOE in training the core group of trainers that will further train the next generation of teachers who will work with the school readiness groups. Given the time limitations of some teachers and linguistic issues in some parts of the country, there is a possibility that some parents and community members might be involved as the teaching assistants to facilitate the process. They would serve as volunteers and receive some basic training. In addition to the trainings and new high quality teaching materials, the institutions would also receive some other resources, such as furniture, equipment and modern teaching and learning materials.

Currently two UNICEF consultants: Mr Habib Karimov on Parenting Education (started September 2009) and Ms Gulara Rustamova on Short-day School Readiness (started April 2010) are providing mentoring and coaching assistance to teachers in the pilot institutions. 

Objective of the consultancy
• To evaluate the progress of Parenting Education Programme, its impact on parents and children. (programme started in September 2009)
• To evaluate the progress of Short-day School Readiness Programme, its impact on teachers and children and assess the difference between traditional school readiness and alternative short-day models.

Purpose of the assignment

Under the supervision of the UNICEF Azerbaijan Office and in consultation with Ministry of Education and World Bank to evaluate the progress of parenting education and school readiness programmes in 106 preschools in 6 pilot districts and provide lessons learned and recommendations for future actions.

Major tasks to be accomplished:

• Design and agree with UNICEF an evaluation questionnaire and other required evaluation tools;
• Interview UNICEF’s consultants delivering the parenting education and school readiness programmes;
• Visit pilot districts and interview parents, teachers and children in the pilot preschools and surrounding communities;
• Assess the level of use of methodological and training materials provided by UNICEF in the classes by teachers and levels of understanding by students and parents
• Assess the implementation of the programme, performance of trainers.
• Provide final evaluation report include evaluation of teacher motivation, availability of resources and administration capacity of each pilot preschool.
• To provide recommendations on the further interventions to improve the school readiness and parenting education to improve the level of school readiness among children from the pilot districts to Ministry of Education and UNICEF

Outcomes and deliverables:

16 June 2010 - Draft interview questionnaire submitted to UNICEF Azerbaijan
15 July 2010 – Final Evaluation Report with Recommendations submitted to UNICEF Azerbaijan

Time-Frame:

16 June - 15 July 2010 (30 days including preparation time)

Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

The consultant should  have:
• An advanced degree in education or a related field
• Experience in evaluation and monitoring of development and training programmes
• Experience in the development of evaluation tools and instruments,
• Experience in mainstreaming gender and equity concerns in education programs,
• Practical experience in using child-centered methodologies in Early Childhood Development.
• Excellent Azerbaijani and English communication, writing and analytical skills;

Estimated cost :

Consultancy fee is to be proposed by a potential individual or organization and agreed with UNICEF in line with UN rules and regulations.

Procedures and logistics:

UNICEF is going to provide the background information, organize meetings and filed visits and provides comments on the drafts.

Application:
Interested individual should send:
a) a cover letter;
b) individual resume;
c) reference of previous relevant work (if applicable);
in a sealed envelope /email to:

Kenan Mammadli, Development Officer
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
24 S. Dadashov St., AZ1073
Baku, Azerbaijan
or send the documents mentioned above electronically  to baku@unicef.org

All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality. UNICEF is an equal opportunity employer.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

Deadline: 12 June 2010, 13:00hrs GMT+4

For further information please contact: Kenan Mammadli, kmammadli@unicef.org

 

 

 
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