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TERMS OF REFERENCE for the international consultancy to provide Technical Assistance to newly created Preschool Education Department of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan: Phase 2

Background and Context:

Over the past 9 years UNICEF’s cooperation with the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic in the area of early childhood care and development programme was concentrated on support and promotion of breastfeeding, prevention of micronutrient deficiencies, IMCI package implementation and improvement of  families’ and care providers child care practices. However, these components being all integral parts of ECD programme,  do not cover the whole spectrum of institutional and inter-sectoral issues related to early childhood development, which as an integrated concept is totally new for the Azerbaijan Republic

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.

Additionally in 2008 UNICEF’s successful advocacy resulted in the Government’s decision to establish a Preschool Education Sector in the Ministry of Education. This department is a new of its kind and is completely new approach to the management of the preschool system. The current staff of the department including the head of the department lacks the opportunities for capacity building and access to international experience. In this regard UNICEF undertook commitment to provide technical assistance to the new department in development of their 3-5 year strategic plan and practical advice on the organization of preschool management process.

During phase 1 in late 2009 and early 2010, the international consultant worked with the preschool education sector to identify the needs of the newly formed department, design and conduct training of key personnel and propose ways forward towards a strategic and operational plan for the pre-school sector. Visits were made to Baku between November 12 and November 26, 2009 and between February 21 and February 26, 2010.  The first visit included visits to pre-schools in Baku and Shamakha, meetings with stakeholders. The second visit was dedicated to training workshop attended by two members of the Section, five members of the Working Group working on Early Learning Development Standards.

In the phase 2, the consultant proposed that the MOE Section be supported to produce a 5 year Strategic Development Plan that sets a clear vision for change in the identified areas and the first of a series of Annual Operational Plans to implement those changes. Planning should encompass identified issues, which proposes longer term and strategic development goals and links them to action that could be undertaken in next two years. Important areas include:

• Flexible provision to meet demand, including alternative modalities (period and age grouping) and facilitating other providers within a transparent licensing framework;
• Developing performance indicators, based on the emerging standards and working with TIMS to operationalise data-collection and reporting at all levels;
• Improve staff-preparation and professional support linked to performance appraisal.

Purpose of the assignment

Under the supervision of the UNICEF Azerbaijan Office and in consultation with Ministry of Education to advice and consult Preschool Department of the Ministry of Education in the development of the strategic development plan of the department for next 5 years, development of the action plans for 2011 and 2012, and to improve operational and leadership capacity of the personnel of the department.

Objective of the consultancy

Phase 2 (August – November 2010)
• Strategic Development Plan of the Preschool Department (2011-2015) will provide vision and objectives for the department within framework of the Education Sector Reforms in Azerbaijan
• Action plans for 2011 and 2012 will provide clear guidance for both preschool department and aid agencies (like UNICEF, WB etc) on the priorities and required interventions and financial inputs

Major tasks to be accomplished:

• Meeting and discussions with UNICEF, WB and Ministry of Education staff to gain familiarity with the work and  review the relevant documentation and findings of phase 1 of the consultancy;
• Provide training to the personnel of the Preschool Education Department to improve their management, organizational, communication and leadership skills.
• Assist preschool education sector staff in the implementation of recommendations of phase 1 (development and implementation of Strategic Development and Annual Operational Plan)
• Develop proposal on flexible preschool provision to meet demand, including alternative modalities (period and age grouping) and facilitating other providers within a transparent licensing framework
• Developing performance indicators, based on the emerging standards and working with MOE’s MIS team to operationalise data-collection and reporting at all levels;
• Prepare recommendations on improvement of staff-preparation and professional support linked to performance appraisal.
• To submit final consultancy report no later than 10 days after completion consultancy
• To provide recommendations on the further interventions to improve effectiveness of the preschool education department of MOE

Duty station: Baku, Azerbaijan

Outcomes and deliverables:

30 August 2010 – Draft Strategic Development Plan of the Preschool Department (2011-2015) submitted

30 September 2010 – Final Strategic Development Plan of the Preschool Department (2011-2015), Annual Operational Plan for 2011 and 2012 with proposal on performance indicators, flexible preschool provision and staff-preparation and professional support plan officially presented to MOE and UNICEF.

30 October 2010 - Final consultancy report submitted to UNICEF Azerbaijan


August - October, 2010 (3 months)

Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

The consultant should have:
• An advanced degree in education or a related field
• Excellent proven training skills
• Experience in the development of methodological materials,
• Experience in mainstreaming gender and equity concerns in education programs,
• Experience in textbooks development as well as practical experience in using child-centered methodologies in Early Childhood Development.
• Excellent English communication, writing and analytical skills;
• Desirable good Russian or Turkish communication, writing and analytical skills;

Estimated cost:

Consultancy fee is to be proposed by a potential individual 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.

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)
24 S. Dadashov St., AZ1073
Baku, Azerbaijan or send the documents mentioned above electronically to

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: 07 July 2010, 15:00hrs GMT+4

For further information please contact: Kenan Mammadli,




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