United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.
We are recruiting to fill the position below:
Job Title: Education Specialist, NOC
Job No: 558625
Contract Type: Fixed Term Appointment
For every child, Education
- In Nigeria, UNICEF works in a complex humanitarian and development setting to fulfill and protect children’s rights in partnership with government, civil society, children, and families.
- UNICEF Nigeria is one of the largest UNICEF Country Offices globally.
How can you make a difference?
- Under the guidance and general supervision of the Education (Level ), the Specialist , based in Sokoto, supports the development and preparation of the Education (or a sector of) programmes and is responsible for managing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the progress of education programmes/projects within the country programme.
- The Specialist provides technical guidance and management support throughout the programming processes to facilitate the administration and achievement of results on education programmes/projects to improve learning outcomes and equitable and inclusive education, especially for children who are marginalized, disadvantaged, and excluded in society.
- The Specialist contributes to achievement of results according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), as well as UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance, and accountability framework
Organizational Context and Purpose for the job
- The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does – in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action.
- For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias, or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life – in its social, political, economic, civic, and cultural dimensions – her or his rights are violated.
- There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education, and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens – addressing inequity – not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries.
- Therefore, the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.
- With a population of 206 million, 43% of whom are below 14 years of age, Nigeria is considered young.
- At the current population growth rate of 2.5, Nigeria has the potential to reap a demographic dividend if young people are healthy, educated, connected to communities, and have opportunities for decent work and livelihoods.
- Over the last two decades, Nigeria has made great strides in improving access to education which has increased junior secondary school enrolment and closed gender gaps, namely in primary school.
- However, progress in enrolment is threatened by high out-of-school rates, dropout and persistent inequality as more than 10 million children remain out-of-school at the primary level and another 8 million at the junior secondary level, making Nigeria the country with the largest share of out-of-school children worldwide.
- Only 38 per cent of children ages 3-5 attend early childhood education programmes, and just 68 per cent of primary school-aged children regularly attend school. Further, Nigeria has approximately 10.2 million children who are out of school (OOS) at the primary level, and accounts for 15 per cent of the total number of out of school children globally. Overall, 1 in 3 children are OOS in Nigeria, with 12.4 million having never attended and 5.9 having left school early.
- Two-thirds (66 per cent) of all OOS children are in the North-east and North-west, 86 per cent are from rural areas and 65 per cent are from the poorest socioeconomic quintile.
- Under the overall guidance and direction of the Education Manager, the Education Specialist plays a key role in the development, preparation, and implementation of education programmes. UNICEF Nigeria basic education programme priority “Every Child Learns” emphasizes the need to promote equitable access to education, especially for the most marginalzied including the girl child, the poor, and children in rural areas.
- The Education Specialist is expected to provide leadership, coordination and technical guidance on improving access to quality education, alternative learning pathways, and skills development, school safety, as well as coordination and oversight of programme implementation, budget utilization, and reporting.
- The Education Specialist is also expected to contribute to the achievement of concrete and sustainable results according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), as well as UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance and accountability framework.
- The Education Specialist is also expected to contribute to proposal development and resources mobilization including writing quarterly and annual donor reports as assigned by the direct supervisor.
Key Functions / Accountabilities, and related Duties / Tasks
- Support to programme development and planning
- Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results
- Technical and operational support to programme implementation
- Networking and partnership building
- The World Bank. (2020). Population, total – Nigeria. Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=NG
- The World Bank. (2020). Population ages 0-14 (% of total population) – Nigeria. Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.0014.TO.ZS?locations=NG
- UBEC. (2018).
- National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-17, Survey Findings Report. Abuja: National Bureau of Statistics and United Nations Children’s Fund.
- UBEC Personnel Audit and Digest of Basic Education Statistics in Nigeria, 2018
- UBEC (2019). Personnel Audit and Digest of Basic Education Statistics in Nigeria 2018
- Cambridge Education. (2021). Investment Case for Out-of-School Children in Nigeria. Cambridge: UNICEF
- Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building
Support to programme development and planning:
- Support the preparation, design and updating of the situation analysis for the education programmes to ensure that current and comprehensive data on education issues is available to guide UNICEF’s strategic policy, advocacy, intervention, and development efforts on education programmes.
- Help supervisor set priorities, strategies, design, and implementation plans. Keep abreast of development trends to enhance programme management, efficiency, and delivery.
- Participate in strategic programme discussion on the planning of education programmes. Formulate, design, and prepare programme proposals for the sector, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plans and Country Programme and coherence/integration with the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.
- Establish specific goals, objectives, strategies, and implementation plans for the sector using results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for programme review and approval.
- Work closely and collaboratively with internal colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies, and to determine national priorities to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
- Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes and to ensure integration, coherence, and harmonization of programmes/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.
Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results:
- Plan and collaborate with internal colleagues and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators and other UNICEF/UN system indicators to assess/strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results for the assigned sector on education programmes.
- Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, programme reviews and annual reviews with the government and other counterparts to assess progress and to determine required action/interventions to achieve results.
- Prepare and assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses in programme management.
- Identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
- Actively monitor programmes/projects through field visits and surveys, and exchange information with stakeholders to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems, and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
- Monitor and verify the optimum and appropriate use of sectoral programme resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity, ensuring timely reporting and liquidation of resources.Prepare regular and mandated programme reports for management, donors and partners to keep them informed of programme progress.
Technical and operational support to programme implementation:
- Provide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and country office partners and donors on interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes and best practices and approaches on education and related issues to support programme management, implementation and delivery of results.
- Provide quality and substantive technical support and leadership to specific technical areas related to increasing access to quality and conducive learning opportunities including, but not limited to, skills development, alternative pathways to learning, school safety, climate literacy, community engagement in education, advocacy and communication, and gender-transformative programming.
- Liaison with the Education Outputs Managers in Abuja on technical direction and programmatic strategies and contribute to overall vision setting and strategy implementation as needed.
- Participate in education programme meetings including programme development and contingency planning to provide technical and operational information, advice and support.
- Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic programme materials for management use.
Networking and partnership building:
- Build and sustain effective close working partnerships with relevant government counterparts, national stakeholders, global partners, donors, and academia through active networking, advocacy and effective communication to build capacity, exchange knowledge/expertise and to reinforce cooperation to achieve sustainable and broad results on education programmes.
- Prepare communication and information materials for CO programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnerships and support fund raising for education programmes. Participate and/or represent UNICEF in appropriate inter-agency (UNCT) discussions on education and related issues to collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues on UNDAF planning and preparation of programmes/projects ensuring organizational position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF process in development planning and agenda setting.
Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building:
- Apply and introduce innovative approaches and good practices to build the capacity of partners and stakeholders and to support the implementation and delivery of concrete and sustainable programme results.
- Keep abreast, research, benchmark, and implement best practices in education management. Assess, institutionalize, and share best practices and knowledge learned.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programmes and projects.
- Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients/stakeholders to promote sustainable results on education and related programmes/projects.
- The efficiency and efficacy of support provided by the Education Specialist to programme preparation, planning and implementation, contributes to the achievement of sustainable results to improve learning outcomes and universal access to quality, equitable and inclusive education. Success in education programmes and projects in turn contribute to maintaining and enhancing the credibility and ability of UNICEF to provide programme services for mothers and children that promotes greater social equality in the country.
- An Advanced University Degree in one or more of the disciplines relevant to the following areas: Education, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, or another relevant technical field.
- A minimum of five years of professional experience in programme planning, management, and/or research in education is required.
- Experience working in a developing country is considered as an asset.
- Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.
- Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset
Technical competencies must be demonstrated in the following areas:
- Strong understanding of the overall global development context, including issues such as: poverty, conflict, and the impact of these factors on education and vice-versa; and inter-sectoral approaches to address such issues in collaboration with other sectors (including Social Policy, Child Protection, Nutrition, WASH, Health, and Communications within UNICEF).
- Strong knowledge of global developments in education and international engagement strategies, including the application of the equity lens and human rights perspectives to programming.
- Ability to support policy dialogue: translation of analytical findings and evidence into development programme and policy discussions around equity and learning with partners, including government, development partners, CSOs and academia in relevant areas.
- Good education sector planning knowledge/ability, including the range of modalities for delivering education, linkages between different sub-sectors (e.g. ECD, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Inclusive Education), cost-effectiveness and efficiency issues, key institutional structures, components and processes, as well as governance issues.
- Good education and policy sector analysis capacity, including understanding of the core education data sets and indicators; tools for analysis of equity; determinants of student access and learning; budget, costing, and financial management in education systems; political economy; and education policy and strategic planning.
- Strong programme management in education, including programme design, costing, monitoring and evaluation and reporting.
- Strong ability to support engagement with partners e.g. Sector Wide Approaches, Global Partnership for Education, Education in Emergency Clusters, Education Provider Forums, Delivering as One, Inter-sectoral partnerships such as in ECD, as well as networking with other key partners.
- Good understanding of gender and inequity issues in relation to education and development and the application of gender / equity analysis to policy and planning in education.
- Some understanding of policies and strategies to address issues related to resilience: risk analysis and risk management, education in conflict situations, natural disasters, and recovery.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).
- The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…
- Builds and maintains partnerships (II)
- Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (II)
- Drive to achieve results (II)
- Innovates and embraces change (II)
- Manages ambiguity and complexity (II)
- Thinks and acts strategically (II)
- Works collaboratively with others (II)
- Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (II).
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
Application Closing Date
How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online
- UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
- UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles.
- All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
- Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history.
- Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
- UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable female candidates are encouraged to apply.
- Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
- Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
- UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance. Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid).
- Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF.
- UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.