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Education Specialist: Open Schooling

Burnaby (Canada)

Position Title and Grade: Education Specialist: Open Schooling, Grade B


Reports to:  Vice President


Duration of Contract:  Three-year term (renewable)


Location: Burnaby, British Columbia


Commonwealth of Learning (COL) helps governments and institutions to expand the scale, efficiency and quality of learning by using new approaches, appropriate technologies and open and distance learning methodologies. Headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, COL promotes learning for sustainable development.  It is financed by voluntary contributions from Commonwealth Member States.


Overview of Functions:


The Education Specialist: Open Schooling conceptualises, develops and manages the Open/Innovative Schooling initiative to promote secondary education using open, distance and technology-based approaches in accordance with COL’s Strategic Plan. This involves advising governments, institutions and organisations on policy and supporting the development of models, capacity and content to ensure that more boys and girls have access to quality secondary schooling. The Specialist will be a thought-leader who will develop creative models and work in partnership with diverse stakeholders in Member States to advance COL’s outcomes and impact. 


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conceptualise, manage and implement the Open/Innovative Schooling initiative through creative approaches that harness the potential of open, distance and technology-enabled learning to increase access to quality education and training for girls/women and boys/men. This involves delivering on a strategic plan with achievable results; formulating an annual action plan with budgets based on the plan; providing regular updates on all activities; authorising expenditures within assigned budgets and defined limits that achieve value for money; and actively participating in evidence building through the monitoring and evaluation of all activities on an on-going basis within a Results-based Management (RBM) framework.
  • Manage on-going activities. This includes working as a team with the Vice President and other staff to ensure a cohesive approach to activities within the programme; collecting evidence of approaches used; identifying new ideas; selecting partners and managing consultants; maintaining good relationships with key stakeholders; leveraging other sources of support including raising additional funds and organising logistics.
  • Provide expert-level guidance and direction to a diverse range of stakeholders on the design and implementation of open schooling models/systems and policies to provide cost-effective and quality secondary education, especially for those from remote and marginalised communities. The emphasis is on innovation and technology to leverage available resources for maximum impact.
  • Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework for assigned project(s), collect the necessary data and produce reports in accordance with COL’s RBM framework and project requirements.
  • Contribute to COL's overall mission and corporate life in planning, stakeholder engagement, and internal processes by providing advice in areas of expertise and by representing COL’s interests at international fora.
  • Ensure direct report(s) have clear work plans and conduct performance appraisals on staff who work in the area; and
  • Perform other duties related to COL’s programme or activities as required.

 Direct Reports:

Programme Assistant (shared)



Qualifications and Experience: 




Post-graduate degree in Education, Social Sciences or related discipline.



Qualification in open and distance learning and/or development.


Ten years of relevant professional experience of working in open, distance and technology-mediated learning which demonstrates strong knowledge of trends, discourse, policy issues and technical expertise.

Experience in international development.

Experience of implementing strategic plans.


Experience of working in developing countries.

Skills and Competencies:

  • Innovation and Creativity: Injects originality into daily work through research, personal knowledge, and networking relationships; brainstorms and encourages new ideas and solutions; takes appropriate risks.
  • Prudence:  Sets an example by consistently modelling high standards of performance, honesty and integrity especially with appropriate use of funds; ability to mobilise, prepare and manage financial budgets in an effective, efficient and judicious manner to deliver ‘value for money’.
  • Professional Judgment:  Possesses an in-depth understanding of the programme goals and the ability to develop realistic, relevant and achievable plans, including monitoring and evaluation strategies; is sought out by others for advice in an area of specialisation; has the expertise to be perceived as a thought leader and be a credible interlocutor in the field.
  • Networking:  Ability to develop and maintain a network of contacts in government agencies and institutions; exercises discretion and diplomacy while representing COL’s interests; capable of identifying and selecting quality partners, as well as to prepare, negotiate and manage agreements consistent with COL’s policies.
  • Communication, Supervisory and Team Orientation Skills:  Communicates effectively in a variety of settings including to wider audiences; displays sensitivity to ethnic and gender issues in verbal and written communications; possesses the capacity and skills to lead teams and manage human resources (staff, consultants, etc.), by promoting co-operation and collaboration to achieve collective outcomes; openly shares information, knowledge and expertise with the team and co-workers; appropriately gives and is open to feedback.

Personal Attributes:

  • Commitment to the ideals of COL, notably to the role of learning as the key to sustainable development and to the capacity of technology to enhance that role.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment with a readiness to adapt to the work culture, where integrity, mutual respect and dedication to the organisation are expected.


COL Headquarters is located at 4710 Kingsway, Suite 2500, Burnaby BC Canada V5H 4M2


How to Apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to


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: Commonwealth of Learning
  • Location: Burnaby (Canada)
  • Grade: Senior - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2018-09-14

What does it mean?

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