Senior Education Specialist

Job #: req11870
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Education
Grade: GG
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: International Recruitment
Location: Kinshasa,Congo Democratic Republic
Required Language(s): English, French
Closing Date: 5/28/2021 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC

Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit www.worldbank.org.

Education is central to achieving the WBG’s twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty through large and consistent returns to income for individuals and as a driver for economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all and learning for life”- that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. In the past two decades, the developing world has made great advances in education, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Despite these successes in expanding access to education, critical challenges remain: removing persistent educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile and conflict-affected states, and improving the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. In recent years, the WBG, and the broader education development community, have shifted their focus to include learning outcomes. Traditional input-driven programs have shown that they do not always lead to improved learning outcomes, so that the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive ‘systems approach’ to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. It also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are. These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work, collection of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their progress in the education sector.

The WBG serves 48 client countries in the Africa Region (AFR). Clients range from low-income countries, among them several fragile and conflict-affected states, to a small but growing number of middle-income countries (MICs) but with weak human development indicators. Average annual per capita income varies widely and inequalities persist in most AFR countries, with most of the Region’s population living in poverty. The Bank’s strategy in AFR is focused on two pillars – competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience -and prioritizes cross-cutting approaches founded in governance and public sector capacity.

In AFR, many countries have achieved considerable progress in access to basic education. But challenges persist, namely: improving the quality and relevance of education at all levels; expanding access to early childhood development (ECD) and post-basic education; developing emphasis on science, technology and innovation; and improving skills development. Efforts are needed in each of these areas to produce a quality workforce to sustain, innovate, and expand on the current economic growth in the region.

The Education GP team in the region works with client countries – at the regional, sub-regional, national, and sub-national levels – to address their unique and shared challenges. We do this by addressing low quality at all levels of education, increasing the efficiency and accountability of education services, modernizing the higher end of the formal education continuum, integrating science and technology more effectively, and aligning skills formation with the needs of a fast growing Region, including MICs. The GP aims to not only deliver high quality products but also to build capacity in client countries through collaborative interactions with country counterparts and other development partners. It seeks to bring the best possible knowledge to bear on the practical challenges facing client countries and at the same time places a high priority on knowledge generation, including through rigorous impact evaluations of education interventions.

The Education GP is comprised of four Practice Management Units in AFR. The GED13 unit covers 17 countries in West and Southern Africa, across four Country Management Units (CMUs), and includes Anglophone, Francophone, Spanish, and Lusophone countries. In that context, the unit is responsible for policy dialogue, analytical work, and operational investments in the education sector. The unit’s growing portfolio currently includes operations, sourced from IDA, IBRD, and Trust Funds, and technical assistance (TA) products in both low-income countries and MICs. The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from ECD to higher education as well as job-relevant skills development. The portfolio is increasingly using new lending instruments and approaches to support systemic reforms, including program-for-results (PforRs) and multi-phased programmatic approach (MPAs). The unit produces innovative and programmatic analytical and advisory services (ASA).

Many of our operations and analytical products are based on approaches that: (i) assist countries in developing and implementing strategies for ensuring quality teaching and learning at all levels of education (ECD, basic education, secondary education and tertiary education), and in addressing the issues that face these countries’ disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; (ii) ensure that education systems respond to the needs of labor markets; (iii) continue to stress the focus on results; (iv) build capacity for monitoring and evaluation of reforms, and foster knowledge sharing; (v) promote innovative strategies, cross-sectoral linkages, and partnerships with the private sector and other development partners whenever relevant; (vi) develop and scale up successful strategies for regional collaboration to leverage economies of scale; and (vii) aim to strengthen governance, accountability, and transparency in the education sector.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has made significant progress in improving access to primary education over the course of the past ten years. Nevertheless, there remain important challenges related to the quality, equity and the overall management of the education sector. Key sectoral issues include continued conflict and insecurity, as DRC remains vulnerable to uniquely complex challenges from wars, displacements, poverty, flawed governance and weak institutions. While enrollment in primary education has improved significantly in the last decade, high repetition and drop-out rates remain key barriers to completion. Learning outcomes are poor. At least seven million children aged 5 to 17 years old are out of school, and levels of education and skills among secondary and tertiary students fail to respond to the needs of the formal labor market, with particularly low achievement in STEM subjects. Teacher effectiveness is marred by low levels of qualification, lack of pedagogical support, poor training, and inexistent career development, as well as poor working conditions and salaries. Only 50 percent of primary teachers in a survey could pass a standard reading-comprehension test. There is a general lack of systems to monitor and evaluate the quality of education as well as generate and use system data for strategic decisions and implementation of education policies. Large-scale learning assessments are irregular, untimely, and dependent on external aid, as is the production of education statistics. The personnel corps is dominated by aging personnel working within a low governance environment.

Girls and boys born in the DRC today are only expected to be 37 percent as productive when they grow up as they could have been with complete education and full health. Changing this trajectory is possible if all children are able to access quality essential services and if girls are empowered to make their own choices regarding education, fertility, and work. Investing in girls’ human capital in particular can spark a virtuous cycle of reduced fertility, increased investments in the next generation of children, and a demographic dividend in economic growth. Across DRC, girls and women face profound and interconnected disadvantages that help perpetuate gender inequalities and constrain human capital accumulation.

Given the vast challenges and dynamism of the education sector in the DRC, the unit is seeking a Senior Education Specialist/Economist, based in Kinshasa, to lead or contribute the education policy dialogue, provide implementation support to the education portfolio, and lead a program of high-quality analytical work on the DRC.

The selected candidate will report to the Practice Manager for HAEE2 and will be expected to work in close collaboration with the CMU. The selected candidate is expected to work with country office colleagues as well as other team members based in Washington DC working on the different programs. He/she will also interact heavily with the Human Development Program Leader based in Nairobi.

Duties and Accountabilities:
The incumbent will lead (and support) policy dialogue with the client on key issues in the areas of basic and secondary education with a focus on strengthening learning poverty, girls and women’s empowerment and education financing and governance; and, skills development. The incumbent will also, provide daily implementation support to the government on the lending operations, as well as lead the preparation of new lending programs. He/she will also be expected to lead or/co-lead analytical work to inform policy discussions.

The main responsibilities include:

• Policy Dialogue and Building Client Capacity. Lead and contribute to policy dialogue with the government of the DRC on a range of sector issues at different levels of education. Identify and nurture opportunities for participating in the broader policy dialogue in the country, especially insofar as they impact on education or where the education sector can make a contribution with a focus on girls and women’s empowerment. Build client capacity to use findings of policy research/analytical work for developing new policies and undertaking sector reforms. Provide technical advice on key issues and strategic directions for the country’s education sector development, by bringing relevant international experience and research to assist in developing local solutions.
• Operations. Lead and/or contribute to the development of new lending operations, both in education and multi-sectoral, tapping into the Bank’s full range of instruments (including investment project financing, results-based financing, etc.); mobilize global experience and evidence and tailor them to the local context; review and prepare operational documents, coordinating across practices and project components with other team members; and provide day to day operational support and advise the government on technical and operational aspects of project implementation for ongoing projects.
• Analytical Work and Non-Lending Services. Lead and/or contribute to the design, preparation, and dissemination of analytical products (e.g. sector assessment, policy notes, impact evaluation, public expenditure reviews, country systems diagnostics, case studies, etc.); provide input on a range of issues (e.g., education finance, management and governance, teacher policies, school performance assessments, skills development, etc.) that respond to critical policy questions identified by the client and have an impact on policy and operational design. Work on cross-sectoral teams to contribute to products such as public expenditure reviews, service delivery surveys, and impact evaluations.Contribute to the country diagnostics and other core analytical work.
• Leadership: Work closely with the Practice Manager and education team and the CMU to identify new business in the education sector, including innovative financing approaches, technical advisory services, fee-based services and other services, as required.
• Partnerships: Lead and/or contribute to partnership activities on a regular basis, with multilateral and bilateral development partners, UN agencies, non-profit organizations, academia, and civil society. Contribute to alignment and coordination around country-led priorities.
• In performing these roles, the selected candidate will interact with counterparts in government, a variety of international and other partner organizations, and with Bank colleagues and managers within the Education GP, the CMU, as well as those in other GPs. She/he will be expected to work in close collaboration with the other members of the education team and colleagues in other GPs.

Selection Criteria
The education GP is seeking an experienced, versatile, and highly motivated candidate to work on a large and growing portfolio as part of the education team based in Kinshasa, DRC. The ideal candidate will combine excellent technical capabilities, experience in analyzing policy options and recommending practical policy reforms, a capacity to translate analytical findings into policy and into innovative Bank operations to help clients shift policies in new directions or to pilot new approaches; and strong operational skills to provide effective implementation support for the Bank’s growing portfolio. The candidate should have:

• Education : At least a Master’s Degree from a recognized university in economics, education policy, or related discipline.
• Experience : A minimum of 8 years relevant work experience in education; and demonstrated expert-level knowledge of and experience in leading education projects and analytical work
• Analytical/technical skills : Strong analytical and economics skills (e.g., education, labor economics), and a solid understanding of public finance issues.
• Operational skills : Strong operational skills and experience in the design and implementation of World Bank-financed programs and projects (e.g., PfoRs, IPf with PBCs) to address key education issues; knowledge of
• Bank operational policies and procedures : and ability to find practical solutions to operational issues.
 Strong client orientation : Ability to conduct high-level policy dialogue with sophisticated clients, including Ministry of Education and Sport, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, and other stakeholders.
• Excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills : Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively across and within practice boundaries, inspire commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as a member of a multicultural team.
• High levels of energy, initiative, and flexibility : Proactive attitude to challenges and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements. Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to internal and external client requests, and set realistic priorities for self and others.
• Language: Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Fluency in spoken French.

The candidate will be expected to write concisely and expediently; present technical information to clients; and represent the WBG education team among donors and the client.

• Education knowledge and experience: Possesses strong analytical and technical skills, including an understanding of key core education issues with regard to quality, relevance, and equity at all levels. Has familiarity with analytical resources, data sets, indicators, tools for data analysis, and the use of evidence for education policy.
• General economic knowledge and analytical skills: Possesses a demonstrated track record of working with economic and sectoral data and analytical tools and models to conduct economic analyses and produce user-friendly written outputs; understands underlying statistical concepts.
• Knowledge and experience in development arena: Understands policy making processes; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients; understanding of political economy issues as well as a good grasp of governance issues.
• Policy dialogue skills: Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders; possesses political judgment, diplomatic acumen, and negotiating skills; applies cross-country development knowledge to discussions with clients and development partners.
• Integrative skills: Demonstrates strong integrative thinking and ability to support project teams in developing an integrated point of view around development challenges.
• Analytical Services and Advisory (ASA) policy, strategic and technical analysis for country/sector Issues:Provides inputs to key ASA documents by analyzing relevant issues, soliciting input from others, and using data and facts to support conclusions and/or position.
• Written and verbal communication: Delivers information effectively.
• Client orientation: Takes personal responsibility and accountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs, working to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success.
• Drive for results: Takes personal ownership and accountability to meet deadlines and achieve agreed-upon results and has the personal organization skills to do so.
• Teamwork (collaboration) and inclusion: Collaborates with other team members and contributes productively to the team’s work and output, demonstrating respect for different points of view.
• Knowledge, learning, and communication: Actively seeks knowledge needed to complete assignments and shares knowledge with others, communicating and presenting information in a clear and organized manner.
• Business judgment and analytical decision making: Analyzes facts and data to support sound, logical decisions regarding own and others’ work.

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About World Bank Group

The World Bank, a member of the World Bank Group, is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Our mission is to fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.

We are not a bank in the common sense; we are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Each institution plays a different but collaborative role in advancing the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses on the world's poorest countries.

Their work is complemented by that of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Together, we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture and environmental and natural resource management.