World Bank

Senior Education Specialist / Economist

World Bank

Job Description

  Established in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2017, the WBG committed US$59 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which US$19 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally. The vision of the WBG is the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent in each country. To achieve that vision, in 2013 the WBG Board of Governors approved a strategy for the organization that leverages the combined strength of WBG institutions and partnerships with the public and private sectors to deliver customized development solutions. These solutions are backed by finance, world class knowledge, and convening services. It has three components: (1) maximizing development impact by engaging country clients in identifying and tackling the most difficult development challenges; (2) promoting scaled-up partnerships that are strategically aligned with the goals; and (3) crowding in public and private resources, expertise, and ideas. THE EDUCATION GLOBAL PRACTICE 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 Education Global Practice is led by a Global Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice, together with Regional Directors who oversee the human development program in the regions working with ten Practice Managers. EDUCATION AND THE AFRICA REGION 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 World Bank has a longstanding commitment to education sector reform in Uganda, and cooperation will likely intensify further under the recently launched Human Capital Project (HCP). Ongoing education operations in Uganda are comprehensive and cover Early Childhood Education (ECD), primary and secondary levels, vocational education and training, higher education, and such crosscutting areas as safe schools and girl’s education, nutrition, service delivery and fiscal transfers. Skills development is supported through a $100m Uganda Skills Development Project (USDP) and a component under the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project (ARSDP) ($27m). Higher education development is supported though regional African Centers of Excellence 2 (ACE2) project, $24m. Uganda Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers Project (UgIFT) contributes $120m to education sector to improve service delivery, make allocations to the local governments more equal and based on performance. Support is also provided in the area of nutrition in schools through the $28m Multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Project (MSFNP). Two projects are forthcoming: Uganda Secondary Education Expansion Project, $150m includes construction of schools, support to refugee hosting districts, safe school program and teacher support; and Uganda Covid-19 Emergency Education Response Project (Global Partnership for Education, GPE grant). Education portfolio also includes ongoing and pipeline Trust Funds providing support in the areas of ECD, skilling, COVID response and refugee support. The World Bank is also active in knowledge generation on key issues in the education sector in Uganda. Economic Development & Human Capital in Uganda: A Case for Investing More in Education report was delivered in 2019 as part of Uganda Economic Update. The Education Chapter of Tackling the Demographic Challenge in Uganda report is near completion. Planned analytical work for fiscal years 2021 includes advocacy work for increasing public funding, performance-based funding assessment for basic education, assessment of demand for skills in the refugee hosting areas. In addition, the Uganda education team contributes relevant Analysis and inputs to cross-sectoral and macroeconomic/public finance reports and strategic documents. Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in Africa and the third largest host in the world with 1.4 million (as of February 2020) refugees concentrated in 12 out of its 128 districts. School age children constitute a significant share of the refugees. The refugee inflows combined with the existing and protracted refugee situation have put enormous pressure, most especially on the local host community, creating challenges in the delivery of essential services and pressures on existing public service delivery systems and infrastructure, including education sector. In light of the above, the unit is seeking a Senior Education Specialist/Economist, based in Kampala, to lead or contribute the education policy dialogue, provide implementation support to the education portfolio, and lead a program of high-quality analytical work and TA in Uganda. The selected candidate will report to the Practice Manager for GED13 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 education and skills development, 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 Uganda 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. 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 Kampala, Uganda. 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 DLIs) 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. 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. Competencies • 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. Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.
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