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UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND TERMS OF REFERENCE for the consultancy to Ministry of Education on preschool education projects and capacity development

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 takes place in 6 districts (Lankaran, Guba, Shamakhi, Khatai District of Baku, Fuzuli and Goygol). 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 encourages 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 preschool sections in the pilot schools is 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 were 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.

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.

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.

Objective of the consultancy

• The half-day school readiness and parenting education modules and parenting education classes are implemented in the target pilot facilities regularly and teachers possess all necessary skills and learning materials.
• Phase 2 of technical assistance to preschool sector of MOE is implemented: Strategic Development Plan of the Preschool Department (2011-2015) prepared to provide vision and objectives for the department within framework of the Education Sector Reforms in Azerbaijan including 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
• Technical capacity of Preschool Education Curriculum Taskforce is improved to finalize the preschool education curriculum in accordance with UNICEF’s Early Learning Development Standards.

Purpose of the assignment

Under the supervision of the UNICEF Azerbaijan Office and in consultation with Ministry of Education and World Bank to mentor preschool teachers in the pilot preschools on implementation of short-term school readiness training and parenting education programmes.

Provide support to international consultant on the advice and consultancy to 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 2012 and 2013, and to improve operational and leadership capacity of the personnel of the department.

Regularly monitor the compliance of the activities of Preschool Education Curriculum Taskforce with Early Learning Development Standards

Duty station: Azerbaijan (Baku, Shamakha, Goygol, Guba, Lankaran, Fuzuli)

Major tasks to be accomplished:

• Based on the UNICEF’s School Readiness half-day program, to prepare  and submit schedule of mentorship visits to each 106 preschool in 6 pilot districts prior to implementation of work
• Mentor each trainer (total 106 trainers), observe classes and provide recommendations on the improvement. Demonstrate the right use of methodological and training materials provided by UNICEF to the classes.
• Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programme, performance of trainers and submit monthly reports no later than 5th working day of the next months. Reports should include evaluation of teacher motivation, availability of resources and administration capacity of each pilot preschool.
• 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 of preschool sector capacity building; Assist preschool education sector staff in the implementation of recommendations of phase 1.
• Provide training to the personnel of the Preschool Education Department to improve their management, organizational, communication and leadership skills.
• Support international consultant on development of proposal on flexible preschool provision to meet demand, including alternative modalities (period and age grouping) and facilitating other providers within a transparent licensing framework and development of 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 provide recommendations on the further interventions to improve the school readiness education to improve the level of school readiness among children from the pilot districts to Ministry of Education and UNICEF

Outcomes and deliverables:

• January 2011 – October 2011: Every 30th of each month - submit work completion report to UNICEF

• 30 November 2011  - Final Report together with report for November submitted to UNICEF Azerbaijan


01 January 2011 - 30 November 2011 (11 months)

Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

The consultant should  have:
• An advanced degree in education or a related field
• Min 5 years of project management experience in the development sector
• Excellent proven training and facilitation skills
• Experience in mainstreaming gender and equity concerns in education programs,
• Practical experience in using child-centered methodologies in Early Childhood Development.
• Excellent English communication, writing and analytical skills;
• Excellent Azerbaijani 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.

The consultant will be expected to travel to districts (Lankaran, Guba, Goygol, Fizuli, and Shamakha) 10 days each month to provide mentoring assistance. UN approved regular DSA rate will be applied.

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 motivation letter;
b) individual resume;
c) reference of previous relevant work (if applicable);
in a sealed envelope /email to:

Human Resources
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Dalga Plaza, 3rd Floor
24 Neftchilar Avenue, AZ1095
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: 24 December 2010, 15:00hrs GMT+4

For further information please contact: Kenan Mammadli,



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