Re-Advertisement/Extended Deadline: Consultancy: Assistive Technology Consultant (40 Working Days Between June And September 2022) - Europe And Central Asia Regional Office (Ecaro), Geneva, Switzerland

UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, Hope

Background

Learning is an essential human activity, and every child has the right to education and learning. Yet in Europe and Central Asia, a large number of children and adolescents—and disproportionately more poor and vulnerable children including children with disabilities—are out of school and, even when they are in school, do not acquire the foundational skills necessary to thrive. The learning poverty is cumulative across children’s life course, driving inequality in access to education, acquisition of knowledge and skills, transition to the labor market, and well-being. The existing challenges in education were exacerbated by nationwide school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, including the right to education. UNICEF ECARO supports 22 country offices (COs) and their government counterparts in strengthening the national and regional capacity to achieve inclusive, quality education and learning for all, with a focus on the most marginalized children, under the framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, ECARO supports education system strengthening by providing strategic guidance and technical assistance in several intervention areas.

Under the key intervention area 3 (inclusive education policy and practice), ECARO supports national and regional initiatives to build resilient, inclusive education system in which all groups of children enjoy quality learning in inclusive environment. ECARO applies system strengthening approach to make a change in teaching and learning practice on the ground in a sustainable manner, which includes support for legislative reform, policy development, data management, needs assessment, digital technologies, public-private partnerships, teacher training, and community engagement, among others. Under key intervention area 2 (strengthen digital learning ecosystems with an equity focus), ECARO leads the regional LearnIn initiative and supports national initiatives to facilitate the digital transition by supporting national digital learning policies, strategies and plans; to strengthen the enabling environment for inclusive digital learning ecosystems and to develop national digital learning platforms (including national instances of the Learning Passport); to identify and bridge gaps in connectivity, device access, and quality digital learning content; and to improve teacher professional development and teachers’ competencies for inclusive digitally-supported pedagogy. In the face of the recurrent waves of COVID-19 spread and continued disruption of learning, which hit the most marginalized children hardest, there have been urgent needs for significantly strengthening the focus on inclusion and equity in digital learning and the process of learning recovery.

The European Union Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) has provided generous funding to UNICEF to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of children and parents in the Western Balkans and Turkey. UNICEF’s work on digital learning through LearnIn is being leveraged to help support these efforts to bridge learning gaps and address the inequality that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The purpose of this assignment is to work closely with the Education section in UNICEF ECARO with a focus on the Western Balkan countries participating in this project to accelerate the effective use of Assistive Technology to promote inclusive practice at school.

How can you make a difference?

Scope of Work

  • Develop, a regional guidance for teachers on the use of Assistive Technology for multiple learning delivery modes, including in-person, distance and hybrid, and for different modalities, including face-to-face, digital learning and blended learning.
  • Pilot the regional guidance in at least 3 countries in the region, one of which must be a country in the Western Balkans that is an Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) beneficiary country participating in the education component of the DG NEAR-funded project.
  • Revise the guidance based on the results of the pilot and finalize it, including both a print version and a video tutorial on using the guidance.
  • Design and host a launch and capacity-strengthening event based on the guidance, in collaboration with Regional Office Education section colleagues, Country Offices whose local stakeholders participated in the pilot, and the stakeholders themselves.

Work Assignment Overview

Tasks / Milestone Deliverables / Outputs* Timeline
1) Draft regional guidance for teachers on the use of Assistive Technology for multiple learning delivery modes • Initial draft of regional guidance that integrates existing UNICEF resources on Assistive Technology and is closely aligned with teachers’ needs 20 working days
• Updated draft integrating feedback from RO and CO colleagues
2) Pilot of the regional guidance on the use of Assistive Technology • Plan for pilot developed (to include remote training on the guidance and remote focus groups or other consultations with the participants), submitted and approved by Education Adviser and LearnIn focal point 10 working days
• Pilot testing of the draft guidance conducted with a reference group of teachers from at least 3 countries (one of which must be from the IPA beneficiary countries of the Western Balkans participating in DG NEAR)
• Lessons learned from the pilot documented and submitted to Education Adviser and LearnIn focal point
3) Final regional guidance for teachers on the use of Assistive Technology for multiple learning delivery modes • Regional guidance updated according to the results of the pilot and finalized in PDF/EPUB formats 5 working days
• Brief video (e.g., screen cast) recorded to walk users through the guidance, and shared with LearnIn team for approval and upload to Learning Passport
4) Launch of the regional guidance for teachers on the use of Assistive Technology • Launch event organized and hosted that engages and focuses on capacity strengthening of teachers, schools and local-level actors, with the teachers who participated in the pilot as resource persons 5 working days

Estimated Duration of the Contract

40 working days (between June and September 2022)    

Consultant’s Work Place and Official Travel

The Consultant will be home-based.

Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule

Payment will be made on submission of an invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables.

To qualify as an advocate for every child, you will have...

Qualifications

  • Advanced university degree in Education, Inclusive Education, Special Education, Assistive Technology, Education Technology, Teacher Education, Psychology, Neuroscience, or related fields.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience of supporting inclusive education through use of assistive technology.
  • Good knowledge of inclusive practice and pedagogy at school and teacher training on assistive technology.
  • Previous experience leading capacity strengthening for local-level education stakeholders, including development of training materials and tools and hosting trainings/workshops.
  • Previous experience conducting research (namely, interviews or focus groups) with stakeholders.

Other skills and attributes

  • Knowledge of the situation of children and teachers in the Europe and Central Asia region, particularly children with disabilities.
  • Experience of working in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries or transition countries is an asset.
  • A good understanding of UNICEF’s work on and approach to education and learning, including digital learning.
  • Experience in supporting projects in international developing contexts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience with creating video trainings or screen castings is an asset.

Language requirements

  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of a Western Balkans language or Russian (or any other UN language) is considered as an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF core values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View UNICEF’s competency framework at https://www.unicef.org/careers/media/1041/file/UNICEF%27s_Compet ency_Framework.pdf

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

Remarks:

Please include a cover letter and a full CV with three most recent references. Additionally, indicate your availability and daily rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a daily rate will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.