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Sociology Specialist (Violence and Vandalism at School)

Amman (Jordan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Amman (Jordan)
  • Grade: LICA-10, Local Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Social Affairs
    • Gender-based violence
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Drugs, Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorism and Human Trafficking
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-11

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Background Information - Job-specific

1. Scope of Services

1.1 Objective

The German Government is supporting reform processes in the Jordanian education sector through a Development Policy Loan (DPL) provided by KfW German Development Bank to the GoJ represented by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC). Based on defined triggers/indicators to be implemented by the MoE, the loan has been provided to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) as budget support. The reform process is accompanied by a political dialogue between the GoJ and the German Embassy and is supported technically and administratively by the German Financial Cooperation Programme Management Unit (PMU) which is integrated into the Development Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Education.

The DPL aims at supporting reforms in the MoE and related entities to improve Facility Management and Maintenance (FM/M) in Jordanian public schools. A Policy Matrix serves as the core document of the reforms to improve FM/M in Jordanian public schools. The Matrix has been jointly endorsed by the Ministers of Education, Planning and Finance.

These ToR refer to Triggers C, 3 and 9 of the DPL Policy Matrix and aim at understanding the deeper causes of vandalism and violence in Jordanian schools, with a particular view to maintenance issues within the “safer schools” concept.

In particular, it is the objective of the assignment to undertake a comprehensive socio-psychological analysis of the existing mindsets, behaviours and behaviour patterns of students, teachers, school managers, parents and communities, with regard to their respective sense of responsibility towards the school environment, and their (un-)willingness to contribute to maintaining/raising the quality of the school environment. Further, hindering factors will be identified and analysed which contribute to the currently observed persistence of existing behaviour patterns and mindsets.

It will be important to take the analysis beyond mere management issues and to identify societal conditional fields which determine certain behaviours and mindsets. This analysis should be taken as a foundation for developing and proposing a strategy which addresses the observed restrictions in an innovative way, again beyond the current approach of mere sensitisation which on its own does not appear likely to yield concrete changes in behaviour and attitude at the school level.

2.2 Currently ongoing interventions on behaviour and mindset change

As outlined in MoE’s School Environments Improvement Strategy in Public Schools 2020-2022, MoE has developed various programmes and campaigns with the aim of providing a healthy and safe environment, including the Together for a Safe Environment Campaign to reduce rates of violence in schools, an anti-bullying programme, and a Tahseen initiative to protect students from drug addiction and smoking. Educational counsellors also implement the Life Skills Programmes and the Basma programmes aiming to support the development of students’ personalities, to enhance the values of loyalty to the country, to strengthen leadership capabilities, and to develop their physical and mental skills in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the Joint Military Command, the General Security and the Police. This Strategy will be implemented over 2020-2022 with a focus on accelerating the implementation of the necessary improvements in school environments in public schools, including strengthened maintenance procedures and facility management approaches, with specific targets that ensure the optimal implementation, synergetic efforts and mobilised support to reach concrete results during the next two years.

Likewise, MoE has developed a Communications and Awareness Raising Action Plan (including the Back-to-School Campaign under a post-COVID-19-scenario) to facilitate effective communication activities to a range of audiences on vital topics related to education turnout and the proper treatment of school infrastructure in Jordan. The Action Plan foresees country-wide outreach activities to inform and engage communities to support children’s learning and well-being on several topics, including raising awareness among communities with regard to maintaining schools’ environment and infrastructure, reinforcing a sense of ownership and responsibility for keeping maintenance standards, cleanliness, eradicating vandalism and violence, and promoting well-being of students and professional well-being of teachers. Of particular relevance for the current assignment is the MoE’s objective to raise the awareness of teachers and students with the aim to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for upkeeping the maintenance of their respective schools as being community property.

USAID’s Enhancing School Management and Planning (ESMP) project also explicitly targets positive behaviour change as one key aspect to approaching capacity development within MoE and also the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MoPWH). Generally, ESMP is designed to improve the Jordanian school management and the quality of the school environment in Jordan by enhancing the planning, operation, and maintenance capabilities of the MoE and the MoPWH. ESMP’s recently conducted Behaviour Change Study (September 2019) recognises the linkages of behavioural change and improved programme outcomes, and aims at identifying “accelerator behaviours” as high impact opportunities for change. 

In December 2019, ESMP facilitated a workshop focussing on school vandalism and identified existing types of vandalism, their impact and possible causes, and suggested possible solutions. While this analysis could serve as an additional resource, it however continued to primarily focus on management issues and/or observable symptoms of school violence, without entering into a deeper sociological/socio-psychological analysis of the underlying causes beyond the immediately observable phenomena of violence and vandalism in schools.

CIDA, through the School and Directorate Development Programme SDDP programme, is supporting the strengthening of decentralised structures by enhancing the accountability of school management to communities and students. However, the understanding that schools are actually “community property” remains underdeveloped in Jordan, despite the ongoing SDDP initiative. The new proposal for school-based management (SDDP 2.0) therefore specifically includes addressing violence and preventive maintenance. 

UNICEF is in the process of finalising a second Violence against Children (VAC) study, following their first study conducted in 2007 (ELAYYAN 2007). The purpose of the second study is to measure the various forms of violence inflicted against children in Jordan, also identifying the main perpetrators of violence against children and the forms and places in which violence takes place. The study further examines public awareness and opinions about violence against children, the risk factors that may put children at a higher risk for violence, and the mechanisms children use to seek help for themselves. The launch of the study is expected to take place during the second quarter of 2021. At the same time, a study report will be launched on National Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Violence in Schools in Jordan (MoE, and UNICEF, with the support of FCDO (formerly DfID) and the “Safe to Learn Global” Initiative. 

At the level of German development cooperation, it is the GIZ-QUDRA project which provides valuable inputs into the discussions on improving operation and maintenance procedures at school level. It is also expected that QUDRA will undertake some sensitisation activities on FM/M for the community/school staff. A current pilot undertaken by GIZ QUDRA foresees the establishment of a facility manager who would have full authority over all maintenance needs and would also be in a position to carry out small repairs him-/herself. The facility manager would be instrumental in conducting school-based awareness campaigns and would also support school management in forwarding larger maintenance requests.

All policy documents (and related studies) above appear to agree on three main issues, i.e. (i) the active usage of school facilities by community, parents and school staff cause wear and tear due to lack of sense of ownership and accountability; (ii) a lack of ownership and accountability creates challenges in the levels of safety, security, health and personal hygiene practices; and (iii) these conditions lead to cases of vandalism and negatively impact on the school becoming a safe and stimulating environment for teaching and learning.

While acknowledging the adequacy of such findings, which certainly provide a good starting point for further analysis during the course of this assignment, they however focus too strongly on school management and the participation of local communities. It is the objective of this assignment to perform a more ground-breaking analysis. For example, while the current findings seem to come to the conclusion of involving school communities more closely in the maintenance of the schools in order to generate ownership, they appear to overlook the fact that without a feeling of responsibility for the schools, the willingness to actively contribute to the upkeep of the schools will remain low or even non-existent.

The currently available documentation seems to neglect the illumination of the deeper causes of vandalism, apart from the issue of ownership – and, in particular, to identify the causes why there is no ownership. The observable fact remains that despite the efforts of various stakeholders and the MoE itself there seems to be no measurable improvement on the way school infrastructure is being (mis-)treated, and/or on the degree of violence generally occurring in schools. 

Functional Responsibilities

2.3 Specific work

The Consultant is expected to provide an in-depth analytical qualitative sociological/socio-psychological study on the deeper causes of vandalism and violence in Jordanian schools. In particular the local expert will, in close collaboration and coordination with the team leader, deliver the following:

  1. to provide inputs and support the team leader in analysing the deeper causes of vandalism and violence, taking into account legal frameworks (pertaining to violence/corporal punishment at home and at school) and existing studies, developing them further with a key focus on societal determinants for specific behaviour patterns, and differentiating between the key target groups (i) students; (ii) teachers; (iii) school management; (iv) parents; and (v) school communities. The Consultant is also required to, where possible, analyse and assess causes of vandalism and violence before and after the COVID 19 pandemic, outline the insights and causes of exacerbation due to the emergency. The local consultant will be tasked with undertaking a detailed document study of all relevant documents, also with a particular focus on regional and national findings in relation to the research question, and relating such findings to the Jordanian context in preparation for the field consultations, drafting background analyses, and drafting specific sections of the analysis under the supervision of the team leader;

  2. to support the team leader in consulting with all key target groups in a participatory manner, giving them an opportunity to reflect on reasons of (own) vandalism and violence, to develop ideas leading to prevention of such, and to propose ways of fostering self-awareness. The local consultant will be tasked with identifying key target groups (in coordination with the PMU and MoE), setting up meetings with key stakeholders, preparing and conducting focus group discussions with key target groups, and facilitating the discussions of the team leader in relation to the target groups in meetings and focus groups. The local consultant will also be tasked with supporting the team leader in identifying a nation-wide representative stratified sample for data collection (possibly building on the already existing sample of 100 schools for the biannual quality survey);

  3. to arrange for and conduct field visits to collect the necessary data (in close coordination and collaboration with the team leader), including individual views on the subject to be gathered in separate groups of individual target groups as listed in 2.3.1 (i) above, employing a variety of data collection methods, including (but not limited to) interviews, focus group discussions (alternatively, in the light of COVID-19 restrictions, distance telephone consultations) and questionnaires, possibly applying additional action research methods.

  4. to support the team leader in making an assessment of possible regional disparities across Jordan, and to identify varying degrees of community ownership against observable vandalism and violence in schools, to be based on a representative stratified sample;

  5. to consider relevant national and regional studies (in collaboration with and under the direct supervision of the team leader), to relate them appropriately and adequately to the Jordanian context and to assess the suitability of their findings throughout the consultations with stakeholders (including the field work related to the representative stratified sample mentioned above);

  6. on the basis of (i) to (iv), to support the team leader in proposing innovative and context-sensitive approaches leading to a sense of greater community ownership, possibly leading to a sense of responsibility for protecting both school poverty and learners from violence, also assessing the suitability of possible approaches related to curricular aspects (Trigger 3) and reward systems (Trigger 9);

  7. to support the team leader in identifying responsibilities and timelines for the required regular data collection related to the indicators proposed under (vi) above, and to support the team leader in assessing capacities of EQAU and other identified MoE staff for such data collection, including capacities for processing, analysis and interpretation;

  8. to support the team leader in engaging with and closely coordinating with key partners and key donors in this field, as indicated by the available studies presented under 2.2 of these ToR, and to support the team leader in suggesting areas for additional TA support through the PMU or external consultants where gaps by other donors exist.

  9. To provide ad hoc support through translation (Arabic to English) in meetings, revision of existing reports, and other research material, and support to data collection.

All activities will be implemented under the overall supervision of the Head of PMU and in close collaboration with Ministerial project partners (particularly MoE and its related entities such as DCU, the Educational Planning and Research Directorate, the SDDP Unit, EQAU and the EMIS unit housed at the Queen Rania Centre [QRC]), and other donors operating in this field.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Postgraduate university degree preferably in sociology, social psychology or evaluation science. A Bachelor's Degree with an additional 2 years experience will be accepted in lieu of a Masters Degree.

Work Experience

  • At least 5 years of relevant professional experience in education, child protection or child psychology, with a proven record of having been involved in sociological/socio-psychological studies, evaluation of capacity development or strategic management or project and programme management in sectors related to qualitative research particularly in the field of education.

  • Experience in Jordan or the Region would be a definite advantage.

  • Experience in cooperating with bilateral and/or multilateral financing organisations would be an advantage. 

  • Expert knowledge in qualitative research methods.

  • Fluency in English and Arabic is required.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • This is a short term consultancy. Kindly read the attached Terms of reference for the full scope of work.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Individual Contractual Agreement (ICA)
Contract level: Local ICA Specialist 10
Contract duration: Short-Term ICA – ‘Short-term ICA – Maximum duration 3 months’]

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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