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Consultant - Background paper for APREMC-II

Bangkok (Thailand)

  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Bangkok (Thailand)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2022-01-21

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Parent Sector : Field Office

Duty Station: Bangkok

Job Family: Programme Coordination

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Bangkok Time) : 22-Dec-2021


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted education systems, learning outcomes and student engagement, resulting in a significant setback in terms of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region. Despite efforts made by governments to ensure the continuity of learning, the switch to online and distance learning methods has been limited in reach, coverage and quality.  In such circumstances, the digital divide further deepened existing inequalities in education. While governments have recognized the importance of integrating and using ICT for educational change or reform, and to achieve the SDG 4 targets as expressed in the Qingdao Declaration on Information and Communication Technologies in Education in May 2015, the crisis has highlighted the urgency to accelerate the strengthening and expansion of access to quality digital learning for all. Equally crucial is the need to sustain the momentum attained during the response phase of the pandemic in order to ensure that the progress will serve as a building block to the digital transformation and contributes to the building back better of the education system. 


ICT can be a critical enabling tool and medium that helps improve education access, inclusion, equity and quality, and plays a key role in digital transformation. The short to medium-term goal is to enhance the region’s ICT capacities to build back better both in terms of preparedness for future emergencies and school closures, and to strengthen education systems for addressing the learning crisis. This is an opportunity to reflect, innovate, and build affordable and cost-effective systems capable of addressing the immediate educational needs, as well as longer-term systematic transformation into more equitable and inclusive education models and practices. This may entail:

Long Description
  1. Technology-supported individualized learning, which is inclusive of needs for different languages and those with special needs;
  2. Learning resources and curricula to support children and youth, particularly girls, in acquiring 21st century digital literacy, attitudes and skills for the future of work; 
  3. Adoption of assistive technologies for children with disabilities; 
  4. School digital infrastructure including infrastructure, facilities, technology solution options, and policy, governance as well as sustainable financing;
  5. School management practices (digitalization of administrative tasks to speed up transactions between school and parents, relieve teachers of extra admin work, etc.)
  6. Professional development and support for teachers regarding digital literacy and technology integration in their teaching and learning practices, including new forms of assessments, pedagogy and hybrid/blended learning modalities;
  7. Training and upskilling of school management and leadership to enable school-level digitization and digital learning; 
  8. Effective integration of technology and ICT within education management information systems (EMIS), including monitoring of school readiness for different forms of technology-facilitated learning, and to enable the quick availability of timely information and real-time data to inform education decision-making at different levels.


To achieve the above objectives, the challenges of bridging the digital divide in terms of geographical disparity, gender digital gaps, as well as the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups, finding cost-effective ways of scaling up digital transformation (including school connectivity), and fostering the skills and mind-sets for effective use of technology and resilience to risks of being online, must be overcome.


Furthermore, an inclusive and systematic approach is required to leverage the opportunities of digital transformation, while mitigating risks and addressing the challenges with appropriate strategies. It also requires collaboration across line ministries and between the public and private sector as well as regional and international cooperation sectors.


Within this context, the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Education Ministers’ Conference (APREMC-II) will be organized to review and take stock of the first seven years of progress towards SDG 4-Education 2030 in Asia and the Pacific; identify challenges in progressing towards SDG 4 in the region, including the impact of and response to COVID-19, and discuss and agree on strategic priority actions to accelerate progress during the next years, with a focus on sustainable post-COVID-19 education reconstruction and reform. Digital transformation is one of the key topics for the thematic debates during the conference and recommendations for future action. 


The objective of this consultancy is to prepare a technical background paper, policy brief and presentation on digital transformation of education in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of post-COVID-19 recovery, reconstruction and educational reform. The outputs are intended to guide the thematic panel discussions at APREMC-II in early 2022 and provide relevant information and practical policy recommendations for enabling digital transformation in education that addresses the need for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive future. The main audiences for the outputs are Ministers of Education, UN organisations, civil society, and organizations involved in and contributing to education digital transformation in the Asia Pacific.

The specific objectives of the consultancy’s outputs are to:
a)    Synthesize a vision of digital transformation in education for different countries based on relevant frameworks such as ICT maturity/readiness, GDP per capita, etc.;
b)    Present the status and readiness for digital transformation in education in the Asia Pacific region;
c)    Identify key system-level elements which are essential for digital transformation; 
d)    Identify gaps, challenges, needs, risks and opportunities;
e)    Present innovations, enabling policies and best practices; 
f)    Identify priority areas and propose strategic policy recommendations to facilitate digital transformation in education within the region. 

The paper should also provide a vision and reimagination of what an inclusive and equitable future of education can be like enabled by the use of digital technologies, so that it may contribute to human development amidst current and future economic, environmental and political challenges.

Long Description

Suggestions for key themes to explore include:

  • What does digital transformation in education mean and look like in the Asia-Pacific region? What does a system-wide approach to digital transformation entail? Which sets of actors/stakeholders can help realize this vision across the region and at national and sub-national levels, and particularly within schools?  
  • Inclusive and human-centered approaches to digital transformation in education that enhances education inclusion and equity.
  • Illustrative examples of pathways taken by countries and different prioritization in achieving digital transformation, and sustainable scale-up models.
  • Broader strategy on digital transformation vs more target focus on digital and blended learning, especially within contexts of COVID-19.
  • Capacity gaps of governments and education personnel, particularly teachers, teacher educators/trainers and education supervisors, to integrate technology into their education systems effectively; and in the long-term actively engage with technological innovations with confidence and critical evaluation.
  • Infrastructure and financial gaps in bridging the education digital divide. 
  • Use of digital technologies to reach disadvantaged populations such as out of school children, children on the move, children with disabilities, children in remote and rural areas with limited access to learning opportunities.
  • Identify and discuss ways to address gender-based inequalities in the acceleration of digital transformation of education systems.
  • Uses of technology to support evidence-based decision-making and teaching and learning practices, such as AI and big data analytics. 
  • Requirements of education digital transformation to support children and youth in acquiring digital literacy and 21st century skills in prepare for success in the future of work.
  • Opportunities for intersectoral collaboration and partnerships related to implementation and financing of digital transformation initiatives.

Under the overall authority of the Director of UNESCO Bangkok, the supervision of the Chief of Section for Inclusive Quality Education and direct guidance of the ICT in Education team, and in consultation with the LE2030+ group on Digital Transformation in Education and Learning, the Contractor shall develop a thematic background paper on digital transformation in education which articulates conceptualizations of digital transformations in education, and summarizes global and regional trends and highlights existing and emerging issues, challenges, needs and opportunities post-COVID-19 as well as recommendations on education reconstruction and reform for digital transformation, within the region (see above elements). More specifically, the Consultant shall undertake the following tasks:

1. Develop an inception report with annotated outline of the background paper, overall methodology, sections and table of contents with a summary of the elements and themes to be discussed in each chapter; to be agreed upon by UNESCO Bangkok.

2. Based on the agreed outline, prepare a draft technical background paper (of around 30 pages, exclusive of a list of relevant references, further readings and annexes) including:

a) A regional vision that synthesizes the definition, strategies of digital transformation in education given the broader global and regional contexts, taking into consideration its different components;

b) A description of the minimum requirements for universal connectivity goals (e.g., what speed, bandwidth, affordability);

c) A situation overview and analysis of countries’ readiness in the Asia-Pacific region to effectively deliver digital learning in particularly to the most disadvantaged and marginalized, and identify gaps, main challenges that hinder digital transformation in education as well as opportunities within the region;

d) A mapping and discussion of system-level key actors and elements at different levels (national, sub-national, school/community) that are required for effective digital transformation in education and learning, identifying the critical elements, such as evidence and data, infrastructure and connectivity, digital platforms, digital content, policies, teacher capacity, partnerships, connectivity, policy, financing, monitoring, online safety regulations, etc.;

e) Identification and analysis of innovations, enabling policies and good practices (including low-technology digital and connectivity solutions for distance education);

f) Strategies to scale-up and strengthen digital transformation in education of countries in the region. This should cover the key areas of digital transformation in education identified in the previous section.  (i.e., connectivity, digital platforms and programmes, devices, school leader and teacher training, other actors involved in preparing and supporting teachers (e.g., teacher trainers/educators, education supervisors assessing teachers, etc.), education policies and financing);

g) Priority areas and proposal of strategic recommendations to facilitate digital transformation in education within the region (e.g., system reform, ensuring equity and closing the digital divide, inclusivity, partnerships, etc.). 

h) The full paper shall be:

i) Length of approximately 30 A4 pages, single spaced using a size 12 font and ‘Normal’ margins in MS Word, not including annexes; 

ii) Written in language geared towards a ministerial and government policy maker audience. It should limit technical jargon and be written in a way for non-specialists to read and understand.

iii) Ensure that sources are properly cited by following international academic standards and that no copyrights are violated. Please refer to the UNESCO Style Manual for citation style, terminology and spelling, abbreviations, references, etc.

3. Based on the final paper, preparation of a summary and a draft policy brief on the same topic (no more than 5 pages).


4. Preparation of a PowerPoint presentation (no more than 20 slides) synthesizing the key highlights of the paper.  


5. In line with UNESCO’s overall inclusion and gender mainstreaming strategy, the Contractor/Individual Specialist is expected to integrate a gender perspective in all activities and apply gender analysis and mainstreaming concepts whenever feasible.  An inclusion lens should be taken to ensure children with disabilities, those from minority backgrounds, including children on the move/refugees etc. are included.


 6. UNESCO and the LE2030+ group on Digital Transformation in Education and Learning will provide feedback to each deliverable submitted and hold regular meetings to discuss progress and next steps.


Submit the following deliverables to UNESCO Bangkok office for its approval:

Deliverable  Tentative Submission Date Inception report  30 January 2022 Draft background paper 28 February 2022 Revised background paper and policy brief 30 March 2022 1) Final background paper
2) Final policy brief
3) PowerPoint presentation synthesizing the key highlights of the background paper 15 April 2022 COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Accountability (C) Communication (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS
  • Advanced academic degree (Masters) in education, social sciences, political sciences, economics or any other relevant field. 
  • Academic degree in ICT in education an asset.
  • At least 8 years of professional experience in conducting professional/academic research in the field of education, with special emphasis on ICT in Education, digital transformation, or other relevant areas. 
  • Previous experience conducting similar research and have excellent records of publication.
  • Experience in working in the relevant fields in Asia-Pacific an asset.  
  • Excellent report writing skills in English.

The selected consultant will be responsible for arranging his/her own logistics: office space, administrative and secretarial support, team members, telecommunications, travel arrangement, printing of documentation, etc. The costs of these logistics, including all research-related travel costs (if any), will be included in the lump sum payment of the consultancy contract. 


Interested individuals are invited to submit to UNESCO Bangkok Office the specific requirements through A consortium of individuals is also permitted to apply for the consultancy.
Interested candidates should click on “Apply Now” and download and complete the Employment History form (Word document) in ‘Employment History Form / My Documents’. Before uploading the document, at the end of the word document, please insert the extra pages with the following required information:

  1. An up-to-date CV of all members of the proposal team, stating details of educational qualifications;
    • Work experience including prior experience of similar work previously completed; 
    • Contact details; 
  2. A list of past similar work or publications written by the applicant (independently or as a team member) with hyperlinks to access such papers if they are available online; or samples of such papers if they are only available offline; 
  3. An expression of interest to undertake the assignment in writing;
  4. Abstract (350 words max);
  5. A proposal discussing the approach/methodology that will be adopted in carrying out the tasks in the ToR; 
  6. Work plan, timetable and budget breakdown with cost per unitproposed fee with rate per day.


The complete application shall be submitted on or before 22 December 2021, 17:00 Bangkok time.


  • Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidate(s) about the outcome or status of the selection process.
  • Please submit your application through SuccessFactors. Only if you are unable to attach requirements in system, please inform us at [email protected]

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

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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