Consultant, Higher Education Reform
The OSCE Academy in Bishkek (hereinafter ‘the Academy’) was established in 2002, as a partnership between the OSCE and the government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Having been operational for 19 years, the Academy is the OSCE’s longest-running project, supported by Unified Budget (UB) funds, Extra-Budgetary (ExB) funds and third-party contributions. The UB and ExB projects for the Academy are being managed by the Office of the Head of Mission (OHoM) of the Programme Office in Bishkek (POiB), with the Senior Planning and Co-ordination Officer in OHoM being the Project Manager of the OSCE Academy project.
The aim of the Academy is to establish itself as a centre of excellence in and for Central Asia. Besides high quality education, this also requires the development of a learning environment that is inclusive, interactive, and outward looking, and focuses on students’ independent research capabilities, as well as promotes teamwork.
The Academy currently offers two Master of Arts (MA) degrees: an MA in Politics and Security and an MA in Economic Governance and Development. As of 2021, the duration of both MA programmes increased from 16 to 18 months. As part of the Academy’s vision to enhance the quality of its educational programmes, the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek (POiB) seeks to hire a Higher Education Reform Specialist (the Consultant) to evaluate both MA programmes and provide guidance on further enhancement of the quality and overall modernization of both Programmes. In addition, the Consultant is required to provide input to the ongoing development of a BA programme in Economics to be established at the Academy in September 2022.
Objective of Assignment:
The main objective is to further develop the MA programmes, both in duration and quality. In order to maintain a competitive learning environment, it is important for the Academy to keep integrating new – proven – learning methods, offer courses of relevance, increase the outreach to potential applicants, and update the regulatory framework of the Academy’s educational programmes. A detailed evaluation will aid in achieving this. This is to be complemented with a second objective of facilitation of the development of a BA programme in Economics
Duration of Assignment:
6 months in the period from February to July 2022.
Tasks and Responsibilities:
Under the overall supervision of the POiB Senior Planning and Co-ordination Officer (first level supervisor), the Deputy Head of Mission (second-level supervisor), and in close collaboration with the OSCE Academy`s senior management, the Consultant will evaluate the Academy`s MA programmes and provide an assessment of and ideas for the BA programme`s development. This includes the following tasks:
- A critical assessment of the MA programmes and its current format. This assessment should contain an in-depth analysis of the teaching and learning conditions, including but not limited to the quality of teaching; the quality of the curricula offered by the Academy; the internship format; the regulatory framework and overall competitiveness of the MA programmes;
- A critical assessment of the development of BA programme in Economics;
- Formulation of recommendations to enhance the Academy`s programmes, following the prior critical assessment. Recommendations shall be applicable to and feasible for the Academy to implement, strictly in line with legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic. More specifically, the expected recommendations shall address the following:
• MA curricula: more specifically, recommendations for improvement of the curriculum framework, which ensures the curricula is in line with the latest developments and allows students to be flexible in pursuing themes of particular interest. This also includes recommendations on the quality of the current courses;
• Internship format: suggestions on how to revise the current format of two-month internship, which has been integrated into the curricula, are expected.
• Partnerships: recommendations on possible opportunities for students to take courses at partner universities in Kyrgyzstan, and likewise, recommendations for the Academy to host students from partner universities interested in taking a course in politics or economic governance are desired;
• Competitiveness of the programmes: the report should include, among others, recommendations on improving specific components of the programmes, such as analytical work, effective balance between group and independent work, opportunities for practical experience, and overall teaching and learning mechanisms;
• Regulatory Framework: the report should provide an overview of regulations that support the implementation of the educational programmes, in particular those addressing the organization of the admission process, the final examination, the complaints mechanism, and the general academic regulations. Identification of the gaps in the framework, which would have otherwise facilitated the educational process, are also desired;
• Alignment of the scope of MA Programmes with the scope of planned BA and PhD programmes: the report should include guidance on how the BA in Economics curriculum and the MA curricula are best to be aligned, to ensure BA graduates meet the requirements for enrollment in both MA programmes;
- Development of a guidebook which provides tools for continuous self-evaluation of the Academy’s academic programmes to ensure improvement of student learning and teaching. The Consultant is required to set out a methodology for collecting and analyzing data at the above-mentioned levels, which can be easily utilized by the Academy;
- Other tasks, as requested by the Project Manager or/and Programme Manager as per the needs of the OSCE Academy within the context of development of BA and enhancement of MA programmes.
For more detailed information on the structure and work of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, please see: https://www.osce.org/programme-office-in-bishkek.
The main deliverable will be a report consisting of five main components:
(1) A critical assessment of the MA programmes and its current format;
(2) Constructive recommendations to enhance both MA programmes;
(3) Recommendations on the launch of the BA programme, including curriculum suggestions, a plan for alignment to the existing MA programmes, and other relevant recommendations to ensure the competitiveness and attractiveness of the programme;
(4) A guidebook which provides tools for continuous self-evaluation of the Academy’s academic programmes to ensure improvement of student learning and teaching;
(5) A methodology for collecting and analysing data on the above-mentioned components, which can be easily utilized by the Academy.
The Consultant shall apply gender and diversity sensitive perspectives to his/her work and will use gender-neutral and diversity-sensitive language in all written output.
Successful learning and teaching formats implemented at universities in other parts of the world do not guarantee success in the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek. Therefore, the Consultant is expected to develop a report tailor-made for the Academy, taking into account country and regional context. Both the BA and MA Programme(s), however, should meet the standards and requirements set by the European Qualifications Framework, levels 6, 7, and 8.
- PhD in a relevant field in social science (education, public policy, economics, etc.);
- At least seven years of relevant experience in education and development, of which at least three years of relevant experience on educational reform in the post-Soviet context;
- Up-to-date knowledge and good understanding of skills development, and the connection between innovation, research, and higher education;
- Knowledge of country context and proven experience in translating technical knowledge and ideas into practical applications for higher education;
- Flexibility, ability to work under minimal supervision and deliver in accordance with deadlines;
- Ability and willingness to interact with people of different cultural, and religious backgrounds, different gender, and diverse political views, while maintaining impartiality and objectivity;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
- Professional knowledge of Russian would be an asset;
- Access to a broad network of HEI’s would be an asset.
- Demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and an ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities;
- Ability and willingness to work as a member of team, with people of different cultural, and religious backgrounds, different gender, and diverse political views, while maintaining impartiality and objectivity;
- Computer literate with practical experience using Microsoft applications.
Remuneration will be based on the selected consultant's/expert's qualifications, experience, the tasks and deliverables for this position and in accordance with the OSCE established rates.
If you wish to apply for this position, please use the OSCE's online application link found under https://vacancies.osce.org/.
The OSCE retains the discretion to re-advertise/re-post the vacancy, to cancel the recruitment or to offer an appointment with a modified job description or for a different duration.
Only those candidates who are selected to participate in the subsequent stages of recruitment will be contacted.
The OSCE is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply to become a part of the Organization.
Candidates should be aware that OSCE officials shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting the status of an international civil servant. This includes avoiding any action which may adversely reflect on the integrity, independence and impartiality of their position and function as officials of the OSCE. The OSCE is committed to applying the highest ethical standards in carrying out its mandate. For more information on the values set out in OSCE Competency Model, please see https://jobs.osce.org/resources/document/our-competency-model.
Please be aware that the OSCE does not request payment at any stage of the application and review process.