Individual Consultancy for the elaboration of minimum national pre-primary education standards in Rwanda

The overall objective of the assignment is to support the development of minimum national pre-primary standards and guidelines. These minimum standards and guidelines should provide a means for MINEDUC to certify centres and provide a pathway for scaling-up access to and accounting for alternative pre-primary models.

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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 and Context

The Government of Rwanda (GoR) recognizes the importance of pre-primary as one of the most important levers for accelerating the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The GoR has demonstrated its commitment to the well-being of young children by signing various global policy frameworks such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the World Conference on EFA, especially the significance of the early years as the foundation for the life of an individual.

Education policies also call for every child to access three years of pre-primary education. The Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2013-2018 identifies pre-primary has a key sectoral priority and lays out key targets for expanding access to pre-primary services, particularly for the more marginalized children.

In 2016, the GoR approved a comprehensive ECD Policy and implementation plan, specifying interventions to support children’s full physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive potential. These policies are aligned with renewed government commitments under the EDPRS II, and the revised Vision 2020 targets.

In line with these policies, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) has made significant progress toward expanding access to early childhood education. Between years 2012 and 2016 the GoR increased the pre-primary gross enrolment ratio (GER) from 13% to 24% and the number of pre-primary centers from 1,870 to 2,757 (MINEDUC, 2016). In 2014, MINEDUC established a pre-service teacher training programme for pre-primary school teachers, in an effort to professionalize the pre-primary teacher workforce. In 2016, MINEDUC approved the first ever national pre-primary competence-based curriculum, trained all pre-primary school teachers on the new curriculum and approved national learning and assessment standards for preprimary. The Rwanda Education Board (REB) and its partners continue to advance learning and teaching materials for pre-primary.

Despite this progress, equitably expanding access to pre-primary education and maintaining good quality of services remains a challenge. Given the new and fast expansion of early learning services in Rwanda, the nature and quality of existing services has remained to a certain extent unregulated. According to MINEDUC statistics, the majority of pre-primary services can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Formal pre-primary centers attached to primary schools;
  2. Formal pre-primary centers, largely run by civil society organizations (CSOs), private organizations or faith-based organizations; and
  3. Non-formal centers run by parents and communities.                                                                                          

In order to better recognize and regulate existing pre-primary services, MINEDUC requires a minimum set of quality assurance standards and guidelines for direct delivery of services to children. These standards will help MINEDUC to evaluate, grade and monitor pre-primary services, to build the capacity of the pre-primary system, and to more efficiently distribute supplies and equipment required for the delivery of quality services for all children.

It is against this background that MINEDUC is hiring an individual consultant to develop minimum national early childhood education standards

Purpose of the Assignment

The overall objective of the assignment is to support the development of minimum national pre-primary standards and guidelines. These minimum standards and guidelines should provide a means for MINEDUC to certify centres and provide a pathway for scaling-up access to and accounting for alternative pre-primary models.

The consultancy will be carried out for a period of 6 months from the time the contract is signed. The entire work will be conducted in Rwanda and meant for pre-primary schools in Rwanda.

Specifically, the ToR aims to support MINEDUC to:

 1. Assess and analyze existing pre-primary services offered to pre-school aged children (3-6 years);

2. Bring partners in pre-primary together to develop, draft and agree on the minimum pre-primary standards and guidelines;

3. Define criteria and methodology for rating the level of quality for pre-primary centers (suggested rating: Gold, silver and bronze) and design practical tools to support MINEDUC and REB to apply the standards and guidelines and quality ratings.

Assignment Tasks

1. Assess and analyze existing pre-primary services offered to pre-school aged children (3-6 years)

To achieve this objective, the consultant is expected to produce two reports. First, the individual consultant will undertake a comprehensive desk review of studies, national policies and strategies related to pre-primary in Rwanda. This analysis will be accompanied by review of the ECD Standards for Rwanda, minimum standards and guidelines for pre-primary from other countries in east Africa and beyond, methodologies used to develop them and lessons learned. The results of these analyses should be summarized in an inception report that includes: a background section, a literature review and a detailed methodology for the remaining deliverables, objectives, data collection tools, the proposal of the content and a clear work plan.

Second, the individual consultant should undertake a thorough analysis of at least 50 pre-primary centers in Rwanda of varying types (Government, private), settings and levels of quality. This analysis should be based on criteria agreed by UNICEF, MINEDUC and REB. The criteria should include at least the following key issues: Physical Environment, children’s health and safety practices, relationships between children and educators, partnerships and networking (with families and communities), teachings aids, teacher qualifications, and learning materials pre-school aged children (3 – 6 years). The results of the analysis should be documented in a report and summary presentation and presented to all partners.

2. Bring partners in pre-primary together to develop, draft and agree on the minimum standards and guidelines

The individual consultant will work with UNICEF, MINEDUC, REB and partners to discuss and agree on the nature, content and format for the standards and guidelines.  This should all be taken into consideration to align and complement the ECD Standards for Rwanda.

Initial discussions with partners suggest that the minimum standards and guidelines should cover the following areas:

  • Physical Environment, facilities, and equipment;
  • Children’s health and safety practices including health, nutrition, food service; hygiene, etc.;
  • Safety, secure relationships between children and educators;
  • Ensure effective partnership and networking (with families and communities);
  • Teachings aids and learning for materials pre-school aged children (3 – 6 years);
  • Establishment and registration of pre-primary centers (infrastructure, equipment, personnel…) and training institutions; and
  • Pre-primary service providers’ management, administration, supervision and accountability of pre-primary programs for children.
  • Teacher qualifications and trainings; The individual consultant will be expected to produce an initial draft and present it to MINEDUC, REB and partners through established working groups. The consultant will incorporate all comments to produce a second and third drafts. The individual consultant will communicate regularly with UNICEF and MINEDUC and REB.

The final draft of the report will need to be submitted in a designed final format ready for printing in both English and Kinyarwanda.

3. Define criteria and methodology for rating the level of quality for pre-primary centers (suggested rating: Gold, silver and bronze) and design practical tools to support MINEDUC and REB to apply the standards and guidelines and quality ratings.

Based on the standards and guidelines and on the review of existing pre-primary centers, the individual consultant will establish a methodology and rating system for evaluating the quality of pre-primary centers. The rating system should make it clear which centers meet national standards and thus are within regulations, which are en route to meeting national standards and which are not. For example, such a rating system could assign a Gold, Silver and/or Bronze level grade to each center. 

Based on the analyses above and the methodology for assessing the status of different pre-primary centers, the individual consultant should develop the actual assessment tools to be used to conduct the evaluations of pre-primary centers. The tools could include a tool for the inspectorate or a school self-assessment tool. The draft tools should be agreed by MINEDUC, REB and partners and tested in fields before finalization.

The criteria, methodology, rating system, and related tools should be summarized in a brief guide for users.

Expected Deliverables

The individual consultant will be required to deliver the following: 

 

Deliverable

Deadline

Percentage payment

Inception report and analytical report on existing pre-primary services

Last date of first month after signing the contract

30%

Final draft of standards and guidelines, in publishable format in English and Kinyarwanda

Last date of 5th month

40%

Final guide on applying methodology, rating system and related tools

Last date of 6th month.

30%

              

All the deliverables need to meet UNICEF requirement and quality standards. Payment will only made for work satisfactorily completed and accepted by UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines.

Qualifications of Successful Candidate

Education

  1. The individual consultant  should at least have a Master’s degree in any of the following areas: pre-primary studies, Public Policy development studies, Social Development; sociology, psychology, education sciences, human rights and law

Years of relevant experience

  1. The consultant should have at least 5 years’ of proven experience in pre-primary education and/or in education;
  2. The individual consultant should be familiar with policies, laws and development frameworks of education system in Rwanda. 
  3. The individual consultant should have the ability to meet the deadlines;
  4. The individual consultant should have strong communication and facilitation skills;
  5. Proficiency in written and spoken English and knowledge of Kinyarwanda is required, French would be an advantage; 

 

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:
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
  • Closing Date: 2017-12-01

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