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National expert to develop a costing model for the Early Childhood Education and Care, Home-Based, Bucharest, Romania: 45 working days between July-September 2024

Remote | Bucharest

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Remote | Bucharest
  • Grade: Volunteer - National Specialist - Locally recruited Volunteer
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: Closed

The purpose of the study is to estimate the cost of each type of complementary ECEC services, envisage into the Romanian legislation or in Europe and mapped as potentially suited for Romania for children from birth to – 6 years.

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Purpose of Activity/Assignment:
The purpose of the study is to estimate the cost of each type of complementary ECEC services, envisage into the Romanian legislation or in Europe and mapped as potentially suited for Romania for children from birth to – 6 years. It also seeks to identify the possible scenarios for scaling up of the complementary services, in the sense of setting up these types of services in most of the communities where the need has been proven. In this regard, the consultant will look into several aspects, such as:
• Planning and budgeting of complementary services, including the services provided through daycare centres.
• Financing ECEC complementary services, including the services provided through daycare centres.
• Governance and regulation of services, including the services provided through daycare centres.
Early education has a significant impact on children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. During the first years of life, the child's brain develops rapidly and accumulates an impressive amount of information through play and experiences. Early childhood education contributes to brain stimulation, language and cognitive skills development, social and emotional development and the formation of good habits and behaviours. A solid investment in the early years represents the foundation for the growth and competitiveness of nations.
Globally there has been extensive research on the financing of ECD services. Experts estimate that a minimum public investment of 1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is required for the provision of quality early childhood care and education (Neuman & Devercelli, 2013). Combining the public investments required for the education, health, and protection interventions within ECD, it is estimated that between 2 per cent and 2.5 per cent of GDP should be invested in ECD (Vargas-Barón, 2008). Despite these estimates, governments are only spending an average of 0.1 per cent of GDP on ECD (“Financing early childhood development,” 2016). Other sources of financing, both international and domestic, have helped fill this gap.
Romania is below the European average both on participation in early educationi and on the government expenditure on education as a % of GDP (3.2%). Moreover, the level of expenditure per pupil remains below the European average for all levels of education (ISCED 1-8). In 2019, UNICEF Country Office estimated the standard costs for ante preschool education (creches). The costing result was meant to inform the governmental decisions on budget allocation for creches. Crèches were recently transferred under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education (Governmental Decision 566/2022) and the standard cost for ante preschool education is used in these units. At the same time the legislative framework (Governance Decision 1.604/December 2022) on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for young children mentions the complementary services that can be developed to fulfill the need of services for this age group (from birth to 6 years). At the moment it is important to conduct a costing analysis for the complementary ECEC services in order to support budgeting decisions by the government/local authorities, especially in those areas where the creches are missing and enrollment in educational services is very low (rural areas) or where the demand for more educational services is very high (very congested urban areas). According to the Methodology on organising and operating the complementary early years educational services, complementary early education services are established as structures of pre-university education units with legal personality with preschool and/or ante-preschool level, in localities where there are not enough creches and kindergartens, respectively. Complementary early education services can be public, private or both. Private complementary early education services have organizational and economic-financial autonomy.
Findings and recommendations will also be used by UNICEF to improve its support to the Government in promoting ECEC services.
The study will be conducted within the framework of a project financed by LEGO Foundation in Romania and Moldova. The main focus of the project is to support the response to the Ukrainian crises by establishing Play, Learning and Parenting Hubs throughout Romania but also to strengthen the national educational system by providing professional development opportunities for teachers in the ante-preschool and pre-school systems.
Scope of work and approach:
The assignment should provide more detailed information on the following aspects
a. Planning and budgeting of complementary services, including the services provided through daycare centres :
• Analyse the existing financing and budgeting mechanisms for complementary ECEC services, including the services provided through daycare centres
• To develop the costing model for all complementary services identified
• To develop alternative costing scenarios for scaling up the complementary services at the national level, based on the profile of complementary services existing in Romania or Europe and mapped as potentially suited for Romania for children from birth to – 6 years, developed in the study focusing on Early Childhood Education and Care services (lead by Step by Step Association within the same Project).
b. Financing ECEC complementary services, including the services provided through day care centres: staff-to-student ratio; staff remuneration and retention; staff supervision and professional development; initial training staff; cost-sharing arrangements between families, service providers, national and sub-national authorities; structural funds; other resources
c. Governance and regulation of services: Regulation of service delivery; quality assurance tools and mechanisms to oversee structural and process quality; accountability measures established and followed through different layers of the system
For this assignment, the consultant will report to the Education specialist and will work closely with the Social Policy team.
Work Assignment Overview Deliverables/Outputs: Timeline
Developing the final report, addressing the following aspects
• Reviewing of the financing and budgeting mechanisms for ECEC complementary services, including the services provided through day care centres, at the national and local level 
  • Developing a costing model for each complementary ECEC service, including the services provided through day care centres
Comprehensive, detailed report on costing of ECEC complementary services, including information on the following topics
• Description of the mechanisms that support the financing of the ECEC complementary services at the national and local level.
• Costing model created for different types of services (including the EU services identified)
40 days 
High-quality synthesis in a brief report and accompanying PowerPoint with recommendations A brief, concise report (max 5 pages) synthesizes findings from the scoping and the in-depth case studies. Findings can be presented in a mix of tabular and text form with examples. The report should summarize key findings and include clear, actionable recommendations suitable to the Romanian context 3 days 
Workshop Workshop conducted to inform findings and recommendations from the study - Onsite in Bucharest with the possibility of online. 2 days
Minimum Qualifications required:
  • Advanced university (Masters) degree in public administration, political science, sociology, finance, economics or other relevant technical fields.

Knowledge/Expertise/Skills required:

  • Minimum 7 years of practical experience in the analysis and interpretation of financial data, especially in public finance;
  • Previous working experience with public finance tools and methodologies (previous experience in education is a plus), as well as complementary financing
  • Excellent capacity for data analysis quantitative and qualitative data
  • Profound understanding of national and local level governance systems and the planning and budgeting process in Romania;
  • Proven ability to work against tight deadlines.
  • Relevant experience in similar activities, preferably with UNICEF, other UN agencies or development will be considered an asset;
  • Excellent knowledge of written and spoken Romanian. Knowledge of the English language is an asset.
  • Proven ability to work harmoniously with different external institutions and incorporate different viewpoints.
Please submit an all-inclusive professional fee in RON to undertake this 45 working days assignment as per the attached document.Download File Financial Proposal for national consulant ECEC.xlsx

For every Child, you demonstrate… 

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS). 

To view our competency framework, please visit  here

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment. 

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check. 


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. 

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts. 

This vacancy is now closed.
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