International consultant to support the Ministry of Education in Kazakhstan in identifying the main bottlenecks in piloting the per capita financing methodology (formula) in secondary education

Astana

The UNICEF Office in Kazakhstan is looking for an International Consultant to support the Ministry of Education in Kazakhstan in identifying the main bottlenecks in piloting the per capita financing methodology (formula) in secondary education

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Background information

Per-capita financing (PCF) is a type of formula for funding of schools characterized by a set of agreed objective criteria for allocating resources to schools that provides schools with fixed amounts of financing based on the number of students enrolled.

The per-capita student funding formula is supposed to be (i) simple in nature; (ii) reflect the principles of equity and equality; (iii) encourage efficiency; (iv) provide incentives for local authorities to generate other revenue sources for children and (v) there is the balance has to be struck between regulatory constraints and permitted flexibilities[1].

The Ministry of Education of Kazakhstan launched the pilot project on per capita financing in secondary education in 2013. The special orders of the Minister of Education[2] included the rules and procedures for per capita methodology testing. During the application of per capita financing methodology, the education departments on the local level approve the rates of per capita and sign the agreement with local authorities, monitor the number of children covered by the schools and introduce changes into the agreement as per their needs.

Starting form 2013 the pilot run by the government included the sample of 63 schools in 5 oblasts including Aktobe, East Kazakhstan, Akmola, Almaty and South Kazakhstan oblasts. Additional 10 schools in Astana and Almaty cities were included in the sample in 2016. The pilot sample covers 1-11 grades, at certain stage of piloting the 1-9 grades were dropped and re-incorporated back to the sample. Since September 2016, the formula has been gradually improved by adding funding for maintenance of schools/equipment/hardware, but it does not include children with disability (CwD). Pilot period is scheduled until mid of 2018 with planned nation-wide coverage by per capita by end of 2019. The Ministry wants to undertake corrective actions for the improvement of the methodology in 2017.   

The challenges faced during piloting of per capita formula are: the overloaded schools get a huge budget, which they can absorb, but it is not really needed. It mostly affects South Kazakhstan region. Schools with a small number of children are also affected. They ended-up of being under-financed. Out of the 73 pilot schools, eight schools are seriously affected. Mostly concerns are around the rural schools in Akmola region and around 2 schools in East Kazakhstan. The assumption is that the mistake might have happened at the local level when the schools submitted requests for per capita. UNICEF could help to analyse the reason and develop a corrective coefficient. 

The Financial center of the Ministry, the main coordinator of the project, supports the idea of inclusion of children with disability (CwD) into the per capita formula. Expenses per a child with disability are approximately higher 3 times. The expectation from UNICEF's supported assessment is to identify the bottlenecks in using the formula and make recommendations for improvement.

Prior to the government run pilot, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education and Science of the RK in formulating the strategy and methodology for per capita financing of secondary education. The purpose of UNICEF support was in ensuring an equal access to educational services, social inclusion in education, and efficiency of budget utilisation in education. Since then the approach undertaken by the government has been modified, but it is a good opportunity to align the present methodology with equity, inclusion and quality principles in education.

[1] UNICEF brief on per capita financing system in Kazakhstan.

[2] 1) Order of the Minister of Education and Science № 440 of 30 October 2013, registered in the Ministry of Justice on 7 November 2013; 2) Order of the Minister of Education and Science № 520 of 25 August 2016, registered in the Ministry of Justice on 23 September 2016.

Purpose of the Assignment

To support the Ministry of Education in identifying the main bottlenecks in piloting the per capita financing methodology (formula) in secondary education and develop recommendations for enhancing the methodology.    

Assignment Tasks

- To review the existing background information including regulations on the components and roll out of the pilot methodology, reports and reviews by UNICEF or other international experts involved into per capita financing system development in education of Kazakhstan.

- To prepare a list of questions that would guide the identification of the bottlenecks of the per capita financing formula;

- To identify the main bottlenecks in piloting of per capita financing methodology through:

- the assessment of the composition of the methodology of the per capita in secondary education with special attention to access (incentives for schools for inclusive education, quality, inclusion and equity (size of the class, school, special equipment, geographical location).

- the assessment of the application of the formula of the per capita in secondary education during the visit to at least 4 schools with the excessive funding and underfunding in Aktobe (or Akmola) and South Kazakhstan (Turkestan) regions with the focus on:

1) reasons for overload of budget;

2) reasons for underfunding;

3) selection of schools;

- To conduct at least 7-10 interviews with the core staff of the Ministry of Education, its sub-structures (Financial Center) and in two regions (Akmola and South Kazakhstan): education departments, school principals) to understand their views on the methodology, process and lessons learnt. The regions will be re-confirmed with the Ministry of Education prior to the assignment.

- To summarize the in a short report the identified bottlenecks and develop a set of corrective actions including proposed revisions to the formula and a corrective coefficient.    

- To develop recommendations for enhancing the overall methodology for piloting including in respect of inclusion of children with disabilities and national scale-up of the per capita financing methodology (formula) in secondary education.

Expected Deliverables

15.04.2017 - Prepared list of questions to  guide the identification of the bottlenecks of the per capita financing formula; Reviewed composition and implementation of the formula and methodology  (8 days)
in-country (5 days) and home-based (3 days)

30.04.2017 - Identified bottlenecks  and developed recommendations for the improvement of the formula and methodology (6 days)

15.05.2017 - Final report with identified bottlenecks, recommendations and corrective actions (6 days)

Type of employment: consultancy (not staff), off-site with 1 trip to Kazakhstan

Qualifications of Successful Candidate

Education: MSc in Economics, Finance, Education

Relevant experience:

• Advanced university degree in Economics and/or Finance
• Previous documented experience in carrying out analysis of per capita financing in education in any of the countries of CEE/CIS internationally and/or in Kazakhstan
• Knowledge of current priorities in education in CEE/CIS and/or in Kazakhstan.
• Excellent communication, analytical, conceptual, policy/strategy making skills in the area of education and child rights;
• Previous working experience with UNICEF would be an asset;
• Very good communication and presentation skills with government and community members;
• Fluency in English (written and spoken), knowledge of Russian is an asset;
• Ability to work within the international and multicultural environment;
• Good knowledge of computer applications.

Competencies of Successful Candidate

To view our competency framework, please click here

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable).  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Astana
  • Grade: International Consultant - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Education, Learning and Training
  • Closing Date: 2017-03-23