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Curriculum Specialist

Amman (Jordan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Amman (Jordan)
  • Grade: LICA-10, Local Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-13

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Background Information - Job-specific

General Background 

1.1 Country background

Jordan is a stable country in a troubled region. It is a small economy with no sizeable oil or gas resources and a population of 10.2 million in 2020 (UNFPA data). This represents a rapid increase from the 9.5 million according to the latest national census 2015, mainly due to the influx of refugees from neighbouring crisis-affected countries, particularly Iraq and Syria. The number of Syrian refugees in Jordan is estimated at around 0.662 million registered as of July 2019, with the total number of Syrians (including non-refugees) standing at 1.266 million, according to the 2015 Population and Housing Census.

Jordan is classified as an upper middle-income country, but with a widening gap in income distribution. The real GDP growth increased modestly from 1.9% in 2018 to 2.2% in 2019, and it was projected to grow further to 2.4% in 2020 amid the regional instability. While the effects of the global pandemic are yet to be measured, the positive impact of the falling oil prices and reduction of energy prices might slightly offset its impact. In 2020, inflation remained under 1%, but it is expected to rise to 2.5% in the coming years. While the Government of Jordan (GoJ) has proven its commitment to enacting policies leading to macroeconomic stability, the current global pandemic will likely lead to deterioration of the macroeconomic situation in the country, causing the already high levels of unemployment to rise and thus impeding on the projected growth of the economy.

Public expenditures grew by 5.5% in 2019, as current expenditures increased by 4.6%, while capital expenditures increased below expectations by only 13%. As a result, the general budget deficit (after grants) reached 3.9% of GDP in 2019 compared to 2.4% in 2018. Public debt reached around JOD 30.1 billion by the end of 2019, or 97% of GDP, compared to 94.4%t at the end of 2018. 

Given the population growth, the total number of households falling under the absolute poverty line has actually increased. Moreover, while incidence of poverty is higher in rural areas (16.8%) compared to urban areas (13.9%), there are in fact vastly greater numbers of poor in urban areas (80%) compared to rural areas (20%). This means significant regional disparities persist: the benefits of growth have been concentrated mainly in the capital and a few large cities. Jordan’s economic participation rates are among the lowest globally, with only 35-40% of the population above the age of 15 years economically active and one of the lowest employment-to-population ratios. Merely 14% of women participate in the labour force, in comparison to 65% of men.

Jordan is currently facing difficult economic and social challenges. Growth rates have declined, and unemployment rates are high. With the official unemployment rate standing at 19% (2019), Jordan’s official youth unemployment rate hovers around 33% (22% for males and 40% for females), while 85% of Jordanian women (in all age groups) are not participating in the labour force. The lack of economic opportunities for youth, and regional inequalities within Jordan, are a major threat to social cohesion. Combined with the high influx of refugees the situation is even more challenging.

As in all countries, the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is significantly impacting on the education system. On 14 March 2020, the GoJ announced that all Ministries, all schools, kindergartens and universities (private and public) were closed on 15 March 2020, involving 2.37 million learners. Schools only re-opened for short periods and have remained fully closed as from mid-September 2020. Interruptions to education particularly affected the most vulnerable, including weaker students and students in the camps who hardly have any access to electronic learning alternatives through the Darsak learning platform established by MoE. Generally, access to Darsak outside the urban centres is challenging and not affordable to poorer households who also do not own the necessary hardware such as tablets or smartphones.

1.2 Background on the education sector

The GoJ has reaffirmed its commitment to progress in the education sector in three key policy documents: the Jordan Response Plan (JRP) 2018-2020, the Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 (ESP) and the MoE programme Impact of Syria Crisis on Education in Jordan and Accelerating Access to Quality Formal Education for Syrian Refugee Children (“Accelerating Access Initiative [AAI])” 2016-19 (extended until the end of 2020). A second phase of the AAI has been launched by MoE in November 2020 and specifically includes activities to improve the overall safety of schools.

The JRP lays out the development and humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, with Education being the largest sector of the JRP. It is currently under revision for its implementation even beyond 2020. The AAI remains one of the Government’s main guiding strategy documents with key relevance also for ensuring safe school environments conducive to quality teaching and learning. Under its second phase, AAI is now focussing on (i) institutionalising the Ma’an Safe Learning Environment Programme; (ii) activating a Safe School Council with community participation; (iii) implementing the Tarbiyah programme, a training programme to equip teachers with skills and attitudes for non-violent alternatives to class management and the use of positive disciplinary and instructional skills; and the implementation the Family-School Partnership Programme, a participatory and inquiry-based parent education programme.

In March 2018, MoE launched the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-2022, which is tightly linked to the Human Resource Development Strategy (HRD) 2016-2025. The ESP works towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 4 (inclusive, equitable and quality education). Being the key policy document for the entire education sector, the ESP 2018-2022 includes a comprehensive set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This represents a major achievement not only in terms of effective policy development and strategic planning, but also echoes MoE’s commitment to thorough monitoring including the assessment of quality education delivery.

Functional Responsibilities

2. Scope of the Assignment 

2.1 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 Trigger 3 of the DPL Policy Matrix and aim at providing support to a comprehensive textbook review with a focus on contents across-the-curriculum related to facility management/ maintenance (FM/M). Trigger #3 tracks the degree to which facility management issues (and the importance of students, teachers and communities taking active ownership of “their” school) have actually found their way into the curriculum, in order to unfold impact at the level of changed individual mindsets and behaviour patterns. It is expected that even the discussion of possible cross-curricular inclusion of maintenance and facility management could potentially generate an increased awareness regarding the importance of this topic.

In particular, it is the objective of the assignment to enable MoE’s Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks to undertake the required in-depth assessment of textbooks (which should also include any supplementary material, such as, teachers’ guidelines/tools) by developing a methodology for such review, and by providing technical assistance (TA) to the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks throughout the assessment period. Further, the Consultant will provide ideas and suggestions, based on international best practice, on how to integrate FM/M issues in textbooks in an across-the-curriculum manner.

Overall, it will be important to closely collaborate with the staff of MoE’s Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks to perform the assessment and to take ownership of the outcomes, and at the same time empower and capacitate them for performing similar work in the future. In particular, the completed assessment should be taken as a foundation for discussing methodological aspects to be reflected both in the textbooks and the underlying curriculum, which should take a holistic view towards the coverage of FM/M issues across-the-curriculum. 

In recent years, Jordan has sought education reforms to switch from a content-driven curriculum to a competency-based one that focuses on improving students’ literacy and numeracy skills, and making content more relevant to students. Towards the end of 2020, as a response to the needs outlined in the DPL Matrix, MoE’s Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks performed an initial survey on Management Concepts in the Curricula and Extra-Curricular Activities. The brief survey report includes recommendations and proposals on embedding the concepts of FM/M in textbooks and (extra-)curricular activities. It is expected that this survey report would be the starting point for the assessment of the curricula, eventually leading to a mapping tool allowing to show the contents across-the-curriculum.

2.2 Specific work

All activities will be implemented under the overall supervision of the Head of PMU. The Consultant is expected to provide support to MoE’s Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks to undertake a comprehensive textbook review with a focus on contents across-the-curriculum related to FM/M, in particular:

  1. to develop a methodology for an in-depth assessment of textbooks, taking into account recommendations and proposals contained in the initial survey undertaken by the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks;

  2. on the basis of (i),

  • to closely collaborate and agree with the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks on timelines for implementing the proposed methodology;

  • to follow up on the work progress and to provide additional TA where requested;

  • to provide support in mapping key concepts related to FM/M in textbooks and enrichment materials against various subjects the different grades, taking into account the educational considerations of the respective subjects and the developmental considerations of students in the different grades and age groups;

  1. on the basis of (ii), to outline follow-up activities (“next steps”) in a Road Map format, to be pursued during the remaining implementation period of the DPL (i.e. until the end of 2021), also giving an indication on activities during a possible extension period 2022-2023;

  2. to identify and suggest areas for additional TA support through the PMU or external consultants according to identified gaps.

3. Methodology

The assignment will be conducted in Amman. 

All activities will be implemented in close collaboration with project partners, particularly MoE’s Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks, the Department of Planning, the National Centre for Curriculum Development (NCCD), the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF), the Development Coordination Unit (DCU) and other donor partners, and in coordination with the PMU.

4. Deliverables and Timeline

The Consultant will deliver (both in soft/editable and hard copies; in English and Arabic):

  1. a detailed Methodology for an in-depth assessment of textbooks according to the requirements described in Sections 2.1 and 2.2 (i) of these ToR, and including an agreed-upon timeframe for implementation of the methodology through the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks;

  2. a Mapping Tool allowing to show key concepts related to FM/M in textbooks and enrichment materials against various subjects the different grades, endorsed by the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks;

  3. a Road Map showing follow-up activities deriving from the assessment (including any regulatory or policy amendment recommendations that may be required), covering the remaining period of DPL implementation and a possible extension phase, to be discussed and agreed upon in a final workshop with key stakeholders. 

The deliverables and drafts will be submitted to the German Financial Cooperation Programme Management Unit (FC PMU). Drafts of all deliverables will be presented to KfW and then shared with stakeholders for commenting. These will then be considered by the Consultant for subsequent integration into final versions of the respective deliverables.

Timeline: The expected starting date of the assignment is mid June 2021.

A total of 40 working days is foreseen for the local expert over a period of 3 months, allowing for implementation time of the methodology by the Managing Directorate of Curricula and Textbooks, as specified below. The final starting date will need to be discussed and agreed upon with the PMU and the Consultant.  

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Education

  • Postgraduate university degree in education, preferably with a focus on curriculum development and/or textbook development. 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 professional experience in the education sector and specifically in curriculum/textbook development and design, with a proven record of having been involved in project and programme management.

  • 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. 

  • Experience in design and implementation of learner-centred curricula/pedagogy.

Languages

  • Fluency in English and Arabic is required. 

Competencies

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. Please read the attached Terms of Reference for the 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:
https://www.unops.org/english/Opportunities/job-opportunities/what-we-offer/Pages/Individual-Contractor-Agreements.aspx 

Additional information
TOR Curriculum Specialist LICA 11 210523.docx.pdf (212 KB) 

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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