Education Specialist

World Bank, Niamey, Niger

Skill Required:, Education AdvisingMedia and CommunicationResearch and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
10th February, 2020

Job Description


We are on a mission to change the world; do you want to join us where it matters the most? Invest in your personal and professional development and acquire the skills that are vital for a global career in international development. A role in an FCS (Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations) location will be a truly impactful experience!\

Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. 

THE EDUCATION GLOBAL PRACTICE - Education is central to achieving the twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty because it has large and consistent returns to income for individuals and because it can drive economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all, learning for life”—that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. The developing world has achieved great advances in education in the past two decades, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Yet these successes in expanding access to education have highlighted the major remaining challenges: how to remove the educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile states, and how to improve the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. The WBG and the broader education development community are increasingly shifting focus to learning outcomes. Because traditional input-driven programs often fail to promote learning, the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive systems approach to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. It also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective and latest adapted solutions are. These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest wisely; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work, collection and curation of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their educational progress.

REGIONAL/ GLOBAL UNIT CONTEXT - The World Bank Group serves 48 client countries in the Africa Region (AFR). These countries represent a combination of low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries, including 18 countries that are fragile and conflict-affected states, and 13 small states, characterized by a small population, limited human capital, and a confined land area. Average annual per capita income varies widely, and inequalities persist in most AFR countries, with most of the Region's people living in poverty.

The Education Sector Unit for West & Central Africa (HAFE2) is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in 17 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. We currently have a robust portfolio of IDA projects and analytical tasks in all these countries, complemented by national and regional Trust Funds and major studies and analytical products. The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the sector from early childhood education to higher education and research, including skills development and technical vocational education and training (TVET), with a growing focus on informal and non-formal education and training. We are committed to delivering high quality technical products to support education development in the Bank’s client countries, and to do so in a manner that builds capacity through collaborative interactions with country counterparts and development partners. We are deeply engaged in responding to the challenges of the many fragile and conflict-affected countries in this group in partnership with national and international actors, and in supporting investments in human capital even in the most challenging and low-capacity contexts.

Niger is a landlocked Sahelian country of about 21.5 million people facing serious stability challenges. Although poverty rates have fallen, this drop has been outweighed by rapid population growth rates, resulting in a large increase in the absolute number of poor people in Niger. Between 2005 and 2014, the incidence of income poverty fell from approximately 54 percent to approximately 45 percent. However, the number rose from 6.8 million to 8.2 million over the same period. The combination of high demographic growth, depletion of natural resources and weak state institutions represent a significant risk factor that increases Niger’s fragility and likelihood of conflict. These factors have also constrained welfare more generally: Niger has consistently been ranked near to last in the United Nations (UN) Human Development Index since 2010. Strengthening human capital features among the key priorities of Niger’s strategic vision for 2035 as elaborated in the Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth Strategy (SDDCI 2035). The strategy proposes a long-term plan for a prosperous and peaceful country with a diversified and dynamic economy that can create jobs for its young population.

The candidate will be an in-country education focal point working closely with a team led by the Task Team Leader(s). S/he will also work with colleagues in other sectors on the ground to ensure a multi-sectoral collaborative approach to the World Bank’s development work.

The AFR-West (HAFE2) unit’s core objectives are to

Expand coverage of quality interventions in the early years in a cost-effective manner;Ensure universal access and completion of quality basic education to all citizens, regardless of location, ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status;Improve learning outcomes at all levels of education, with a particular focus on improvements in the Learning Poverty indicator, and harnessing the latest strategies and innovations, including technologies, for the attainment of this goal;Expand access of all groups to quality secondary, TVET and higher education, with a focus on sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the development of innovative approaches to education, including the use of ICT and results-based financing modalities; andSupport the establishment of institutions and systems that help sustain the results achieved under development operations and analytics.
A key cross-cutting objective will be to ensure that all girls and women benefit from all project interventions, with the explicit goal of improving the empowerment of girls and women across the entire system and beyond.

Considering the above, HAFE2 is seeking candidates for an Education Specialist/Economist position based in Niamey, Niger, to provide operational and analytical support to the education portfolio and to any relevant activities in other sectors and practice groups. The selected candidate will report to the Education Practice Manager for the unit.

Job Duties and Responsibilities:

Working under the supervision of the Education Practice Manager and under the coordination of the Task Team Leader(s) working in Niger, the Education Specialist/Economist will be based in Niamey and will support the preparation, supervision, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects, technical assistance, and analytical and advisory activities. While this will initially be for Niger, it is very likely that the work will extend to other countries in the Sahel region, and possibly beyond. Extensive coordination and liaison with key relevant government departments, service provision entities, development partners and non-state actors including community organizations is expected. S/he will be expected to demonstrate the ability to:

Participate in the design and implementation/supervision of operational and analytical tasks, undertaking field missions as needed;Interact with government counterparts, local education group, and other partner organizations (civil society organizations, academia, etc.) on project- and sector-related issues as required;Bring expertise relevant for the ongoing engagement in early childhood education and in addressing the challenges around learning, especially reading literacy and numeracy;Help identify and resolve implementation problems and bottlenecks, advance progress of various activities and components, based on a thorough understanding of the development objectives and design of projects;Participate as a core member of the Country Team, taking part in strategic discussions and exploring opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration within the Country Office and across the extended Country Team;Keep all task teams as well as the Country Management team informed of any issues that arise; focus especially on the areas of safeguards and fiduciary management and liaise with appropriate colleagues and experts in those areas; pay particular attention to issues related to citizen engagement, grievance redress and gender-based violence;Provide inputs to diverse operational products/outputs (e.g., projects briefs, portfolio performance reviews, Trust Fund (TF) Grant Fund Requests (GFR), Grant Report Monitoring (GRM) and closing reports, Implementation Summary Reports (ISRs), activity completion reports, etc.);Participate in review meetings and represent the education teams in relevant Bank-wide initiatives; andPerform other duties and tasks, as specified by the Practice Manager, and the relevant project Task Team Leaders.

Selection Criteria

Master’s or Ph.D. in Education (economics of education, evaluation, etc.) or other related fields (e.g. economics, public policy, other human development or social sector-related areas, etc.);Minimum of 5 years of experience in education sector projects, analytics, development of education strategies, or evaluation of education systems. Excellent technical skills as well as demonstrated ability to produce high-quality reports under pressure; specific expertise in early childhood development and early childhood education would be highly relevant.Familiarity with World Bank operations, including preparation and implementation support for projects, is desirable. Knowledge of Bank and Global Partnership for Education (GPE) policies and procedures would be a plus.Strong client orientation and proven ability to work with government agencies, with national stakeholders, and with partner organizations;Excellent written and oral communication in French is essential, and in English is desirable; ability to identify problems, provide technical support, build consensus and arrive at solutions, as well as the ability to coordinate and work across different stakeholder groups is key.

The behaviors and competencies the unit seeks are:

Commitment to teamwork, both within the Bank (including with all relevant Global Practices and the Country Management Unit), and with all key stakeholders in government, in the development partner community, and in the country as a whole;Strong interpersonal skills with excellent judgment, communication skills and ability to interact with clients;Resourcefulness, and ability to take initiative and work with limited supervision to meet deadlines with high-quality outputs,Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to country and management requests, and set priorities for self and others;Strong commitment to and passion for working in development, and especially in fragile and/or conflict-affected countries; andStrong results orientation, persistence, patience and a positive attitude
In addition, the candidate should have demonstrated the following:

Client orientation: Takes responsibility and accountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs, working to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success;Learning, knowledge sharing, and communication: Actively seeks knowledge needed to complete assignments and shares knowledge with others, communicating and presenting information in a clear and organized manner;Business judgment and analytical decision making: Analyzes facts and data to support sound, logical decision regarding own and other’s work;Integrative skills: Committed to an integrated approach across all facets of education and training, and able to build relationships across sectors within HD and beyond;Policy Dialogue Skills: Identifies and assesses education policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders
The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.


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