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TERMS OF REFERENCE :for external formative evaluation of Active Learning Policy and Practice Project in Azerbaijan.


1. Programme information:                   
Programme (No. & Name):          Social System Strengthening 0039-YI-205
Project   (No. & Name):                Education Systems Reforms  0039-YI-205-13  
Activity Reference:        Mainstreaming of Active Learning  0039-YI-205-13-001
 

2. Background and Context:  ()

The Government of Azerbaijan (GOA) is committed to reform 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 first phase of the WB/MOE Education Sector Reform Project (2003-2008) succeeded in assisting the Government of Azerbaijan to plan education reforms and increase the capacity to manage them. Over the past four years, significant progress has been made in several key areas: (i) design of the curriculum reform and introduction of a new textbook policy entailing the free distribution of textbooks in core subjects; (ii) establishment of a national system of student assessment involving national testing and participation in international assessment; (iii) establishment of the EMIS and the Policy Analysis and Planning Units at the Ministry of Education; (iv) the approval of a plan for the reorganization and staffing of the Ministry of Education; and (v) adoption of a national strategy for the professional development of teachers.   

The APL 2 Project benefits from the collaboration and effective working relationship established under the APL1 with UNICEF as its key donor partner. Under the APL 1, the Bank and UNICEF successfully collaborated in the implementation of a number of priority reforms in the education sector. These cover new teachers’ training curriculum and in-service teacher training, textbooks development, primary school curriculum etc. Moreover, the Active Learning methodology was introduced with UNICEF’s support as in-service training to primary school teachers and Rayon Education Departments in three of the APL 1 pilot rayons.

In 2006-2007 the mainstreaming of Active Learning (AL) into pre service and in service teacher training curricula produced encouraging results with Active learning being integrated into .  UNICEF further supported textbooks development to ensure that active learning is practically embedded into all textbooks, teacher guides and children’s workbooks, thus integrating AL in every grade one classroom in terms of teaching and learning processes. As UNICEF and the World Bank are the main development partners in the education sector, there has been a conscious and sustained effort by the CO to work together.  UNICEF provided critical technical support to the World Bank and Ministry of Education in the development of Phase Two Education Reforms and will be a full partner in two of the four components – school readiness and teacher professional development.

Since 2008, AL was endorsed by MOE and included into the national curriculum for primary education as the only recommended teaching methodology. In December 2010, UNICEF initiated a monitoring exercise in randomly selected schools in Baku and districts to clarify the main obstacles and needs of teachers in implementation of new curriculum and instructional methodology. This exercises revealed a great need of teachers for tailored in-service training on the application of AL in the new curriculum; in response to this need,  a comprehensive 10-day training module for in-service training of primary school teachers was developed and around 6,000 teachers attended this training.


Objective of the activity

The main purpose of this consultancy is to provide high level technical expertise to the Ministry of Education to assess the impact of the introduction of the Active Learning methodology as a part of the overall Education System Reform in Azerbaijan.


3.  Purpose of the assignment

Under the supervision of the UNICEF Azerbaijan Office and in consultation with Ministry of Education, the main task is to conduct a formative evaluation to measure the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the project. The project will be evaluated in relation with its external environment, in particular in relation with government plans and with similar approaches or programme interventions tested by UNICEF at global and regional level and by other partners such as the EU and World Bank


4. Duty station: Azerbaijan

5. Supervisor:  Kenan Mammadli, Development Officer

6. Major tasks to be accomplished:

For each of the above criteria, the formative evaluation will provide answers to the following questions:

Relevance

 What is the value of the Active Learning Project in relation to primary stakeholders’ needs, national priorities, national and international partners’ policies and global references such as human rights and in particular, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Concluding Recommendations of the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child made to Azerbaijan?

 How appropriate is the current Active Learning model and what adjustment needs to be made to make it comprehensive by including child rights promotion, WASH, healthy life style and HIV/AIDS awareness.
                    
Effectiveness:

 In general terms, the formative evaluation will measure the effectiveness of the project at school level in terms of school environment, teaching and learning methods, assessment methods, and identify key achievements and lessons learnt. In particular, the extent to which the Active Learning project has enriched and added value and relevance to the curriculum by applying Active Learning as well as the degree to which the learning and teaching environment has been renewed through the implementation of interactive and participatory methodologies, will be assessed.

 Has the Active Learning Project resulted in: Greater class participation? Freedom to engage in dialogue and opinion exchange? Improved problem solving skills? Improved learning achievements? Improved capacity for relationship building and increased tolerance for difference? Improved self-esteem and improved participation of pupils in their own learning process?

 Are there any indications that the number of drop outs has decreased in pilot schools as a result of the implementation of new curriculum and teaching methods?

 Has the Active Learning Project resulted in: Increased satisfaction and comfort of teachers with interactive and participatory teaching methods? Increased effectiveness in keeping pupils engaged in the learning process and improved academic achievement? Improved understanding of their role as facilitators and not as lecturer merely imparting information? Increased capacity of teachers to develop and tailor their own lessons, exercises and pedagogical activities? Improved capacity to test and evaluate pupils’ learning achievements through unbiased and transparent assessment methods?

 Has the piloting of the Active Learning Project resulted in: Improved school and community relations? Creation or strengthening of Parent-Teacher Associations? Greater involvement from parents in pilot school governance and management?

 What is the extent of community involvement through the PTA (how active is PTA?). What can we do to support PTAs at local but also regional levels?

Efficiency

 How do the actual costs of the Active Learning Pilot schools compare to national benchmarks? (Cost analysis of project schools against control (non project) schools).
 What would be the most cost-effective way to obtain the expected results?

Impact

 What social, economic and environmental effects the Active Learning project made on children, schools, related institutions, parents and communities?

Sustainability

 Has the Active Learning Project appeared to strengthen or add value to the curriculum reform effort in the education system of Azerbaijan?

 Are there any quantitative or qualitative outcomes that can be measured at national level?

 Is UNICEF seen as essential to the present state of achievement of the project?

 Have school principals, inspectors, administrators of education departments at district levels as well as MOE officials all strongly supported the implementation of the Active Learning pilot project?

 Feasibility/potential for establishment/ operationalization of school-based resource centers?

 Are school principals, inspectors and administrators of education departments at district levels promoting in-service training within their regions?

These indicators may not be explicit. The evaluation may rather document the reasons for programme adjustments and comment on whether this process was driven by a focus on results.


7.          Outcomes and deliverables:

By 1 May 2011, the Evaluation Team is expected to provide the Azerbaijan Deputy Representative with a final evaluation report of 50 pages (maximum) in 3 sections; the first part will be devoted to the evaluation of the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the Active Learning methodology in Azerbaijan; the second part will provide an analysis of sustainability and potential for scaling up of the initiative approach; and the third part will focus on recommendations for future directions be included into the next Country Program strategy.  Annexes will provide detailed information collected during field visits (focus discussion reports, summaries of interview sheets, summaries of responses to questionnaires ….).

Schedule of deliverables:
30 November 2010: Contract signed 
01 March 2010: First draft project evaluation report
01 April 2011:  Second draft project evaluation report
01 May 2011:  Final project evaluation report

The report – in both its format and content - will have to comply with the UNICEF Evaluation Report Standards, which will be made available to the Evaluation Team at the beginning of the consultancy. The report will have to contain an assessment of the evaluation methodology, including its limitations.

The report will be typed in Word Format, Font Times New Roman 11. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs are incomplete, not delivered of for failure to meet deadlines.


8.        Time-Frame:

30 November 2010 – 01 May 2011


9.        Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

Composition of the Team

In view of the purpose, scope, focus of the evaluative work, the evaluation will be conducted by an external institution or consulting firm with expertise in evaluation of education projects, quality of education, teacher and curriculum development, education policies, formulation of education sector plans, planning of education programmes and coordination of research work, familiar with Active Learning concept and principles.

The consulting firm/institution will have to put together a multidisciplinary team, composed of at least 2 international consultants with different responsibilities, as follows:

 The first consultant will be responsible for conducting school observations in the field and assess the changes induced by the AL methodology and approach at school level in terms of teaching and learning environment, curriculum revision, teachers capacity and teaching methods, examination methods, school governance and management, parents and teachers participation …..

 The second consultant – which will also be the team leader will be responsible for investigating the potential of the project to be scaled up. This consultant will also be responsible for ensuring the oversight and coordination of the entire evaluation and reporting work.

The competencies required from the consultants will be the following:

 Advanced degree in Educational Sciences.
 8-10 years of professional experience at the national and international level.
 Previous experience of research, documentation and evaluation of education projects; 2-3 major publications an asset.
 Ability to work in an international environment; previous experience of working in CEE & CIS countries an asset.
 Excellent analytical and report writing skills.
 Familiarity with UNICEF’s mission and mandate an asset.
 Fluency in English and knowledge of Russian an asset.
9. 10.      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.

11. Procedures and logistics:

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

Background information will include:
1) Regional Analysis of the 2006 PISA
2) MOE national assessments that will characterize learning achievements in the country,
3) Evaluation report of Active Learning and School Leadership Project 2004
4) Active Learning & School Leadership Project Formative Evaluation 2002
5) Active Learning Training Reports

12.     Application:
Interested individual should send:
a) A Project Proposal;
b) the organizational profile or individual resume;
c) in case of an organization the resume of each of the proposed team members;
d) reference of previous relevant work (if applicable);
in a sealed envelope/email to:

Human Resources
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Dalgha Plaza, III floor
24 Neftchilar Ave,
Baku AZ1095, 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: 20 November 2010, 15:00hrs GMT+4

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

 

 
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