Individual Consultant: Development of Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS),Liberia – July 2020

Individual Consultant: Development of Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS), Liberia. Liberia’s Early Child Education (ECE) officially targets children aged 3-5 years old, categorized into three discrete levels: Beginner (for 3-year-olds); Kindergarten (for 4-year-olds); and Pre-first Primary Grade (for 5-year-olds). According to the latest published Education Management Information System figures (2015), nearly 5,000 schools in Liberia provide ECE with an estimated child enrolment of over 540,000. About 48 per cent of these schools are public, 31 per cent are private; 16 per cent are faith-based; and 6 per cent are community schools.

The net enrolment ratio is low at 29.4 per cent. The low net enrolment ratio and the high student-teacher ratio at ECE level indicates that supply of ECE is insufficient to provide education for all Liberian children aged 3-5. The problem of overage enrolment is a serious one in Liberia: 75 per cent of ECE students are overage for the level in which they are enrolled. Nearly 50 per cent of ECE students are 6 years or older and should, as a result of their age, be in primary school.

ECE is neither compulsory nor free and participation in ECE is not geographically consistent, although enrolment of girls and boys is roughly equal. The charging of fees for ECE is a disincentive for many parents and caregivers. Families may also be concerned about the quality of teaching and the facilities at the ECE school: teachers often do not have access to a curriculum or teacher guides. In addition, there is no Government-approved ECE teacher training qualification and only 50 per cent of ECE educators have received in-service training. There is no standardized training for ECE teachers.

In 2015, the Ministry of Education with technical assistance from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), UNICEF and other education sector partners, developed an ECD Policy and ECD curriculum. Neither the policy nor the curriculum has been operationalized. The major obstacle has been absence of Early Child Development Standards that can be used as benchmarks to regulate the quality of ECE service provision across the country. This lack of standards affects the quality of services being provided as the ECE service providers, facilitators, caregivers and teachers do not have proper guidance on how to facilitate the learning competencies required at this level. The result is poor school readiness programmes which in turn result in poor learning outcomes in the education system, especially at primary school level.

ELDS informs the development of the readiness assessment tool for young learners. The tool is helpful in evaluating learning achievements, assesses gaps as well as inform decisions for improved teaching and learning of young children. the standards will provide a benchmark for service quality and be used as a regulatory framework to improve quality service delivery by service providers including government. The ELDS is a system strengthening activity that informs the school readiness assessment tool and the assessment of young learners on school readiness. It also enhances the quality of school readiness programs and provide a platform for quality assessment and evaluation of early learning programs and services.

ELDS is also linked to the emergency plan policy priority four “Policy priority 4: Recovery, school re-opening and system strengthening or the post-COVID-19’s “Build Back Better Schools”.

UNICEF is seeking a National Consultant to work with the Ministry of Education and members of the Local Education Group in developing an Early Learning Development Standards.

2. Purpose of the Assignment:

The consultancy services is to provide technical support and facilitate the development of Early Learning Development Standards, based on consultation with education sector stakeholders and review of existing system quality standards applicable to early learning, the national curriculum and universally acceptable early learning standards, that supports a 5-year old child be ready for primary school and a 10-year-old attain age-appropriate learning outcome.

3. The objective of Assignment Individual Consultant: Development of Early Learning Development Standards:

Provide technical support to MOE and UNICEF Liberia towards an efficient and effective formulation and development of an Early Learning Development Standards to support the Education sector in introducing and implementing a foundational learning system as envisaged in education emergency plan policy priority: Recovery, school re-opening and system strengthening or the post-COVID-19’s “Build Back Better Schools Strategy
4. Work Assignment/Scope of Work:

The Consultant will work under the overall coordination and supervision of the Deputy Representative/Programmes. The framing and development scope will be limited to the following tasks:

a) Needs analysis – Conduct a thorough needs assessment of the targeted users of Early Learning Development Standards: early grade teachers and supervisors, and develop concrete understanding of their expectations from the ELDS content to be developed;

b) Design- The outcome at this stage is a blueprint document/inception report that will include the following activities: – Identify and engage subject-matter experts to facilitate the formulation of a set of early learning objectives in order to prepare the most need-responsive content. – illustrative ELDS structure, the learning objectives associated with unit of learning development standard, content formats for easy comprehension and application by the ELDS users.

c) Development – The outcome at this stage is the preparation of Inception Report that will include but not limited to organizing flow of information, sequencing of concept, and structuring concept of ELDS in an easy-to- follow manner that caters effectively to a wide variety of teachers and ultimately the learners.
The above task list is indicative and will be further refined.

5. Deliverables and Timeline:

I. Key Activities/Tasks:

Inception Phase:

• Conduct strategic planning meeting with Technical Working Group (TWG) and major ECE/ECD stakeholders (Government and partners).

• Secondary data review of existing ELDS from the sub-region and universally relevant ones to inform the literature review.

• Prepare and submit an Inception report with detailed workplan, methodology, and consultation approaches, taking into consideration social distancing regulations related to COVID-19.


Deliverable 1- Inception report: with a detailed workplan, methodology, and schedule for stakeholders’ engagement.

Draft outline of ELDS Content Table, within the context of Liberia Education sector, cleared by Supervisor of the Assignment in consultation of MOE Focal Person

Time frame: Within 10 days after signing contract

II. Key Activities/Tasks:

Consultation and Draft ELDS Phase:

• Facilitate stakeholder meeting to elicit country specific experiences in promoting school readiness programs and measuring pre-primary learning outcomes.

• Conduct consultative meeting with key ECE/ECD stakeholders/service providers at the central level and in selected counties/districts.

• Prepare and submit a draft ELDS document in line with agreed MOE-UNICEF guidance on the scope and content


Deliverable 2 (a): Draft Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS) incorporating relevant inputs from consultation and jointly approved and documented by MOE and UNICEF.

Time frame: Within 30 days after signing contract.

III. Key Activities/Tasks:

Final ELDS Document Phase

• Presented the draft ELDS and solicited feedback/inputs through technical expert’s stakeholder meeting.

• Present final ELDS at a validation workshop.

• Submit final ELDS using the structure and length in line with agreed guidelines of MoE and UNICEF Liberia

Deliverable 3: Stakeholder validated Final Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS) jointly approved by MOE and UNICEF

Time frame:Within 45 days after signing contract.

6. Payment Schedule:

• 30% of contract amount upon submission of approved Deliverable 1: Inception report: with a detailed work plan, methodology, and schedule for stakeholders’ engagement. A draft outline of ELDS Content Table.

• 40% of contract amount upon submission of MOE and UNICEF jointly approved for Deliverable 2: Draft Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS) incorporating relevant inputs from a consultation.

• 30% of contract amount upon submission of MOE and UNICEF jointly approved for Deliverable 3: Stakeholder validated final Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS).

7. Documents to be included when submitting the Proposal:

Interested Individual consultants (Education) must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their expertise:

✓ Proposal/Letter of Interest – explaining why you are the most suitable for the work.
✓ Financial proposal – based on the deliverables and terms of payment. The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment mentioned above terms based on delivery and acceptance of the services specified in the sections above.
✓ Personal CV, including experience in similar projects and at least three references.

8. Competencies/specialised skills and experience required for the assignment:


✓ A Master’s degree in one of the following fields is required: Education, Social Sciences, or another relevant technical field.

Professional/Technical experience:

✓ At least 8 years working experience in the Education sector at national and international level.
✓ Relevant experience in programme implementation, including policies/strategies /standards.
✓Familiarity with the Education Sector, with special experience in Early Learning Competencies and Standards.
✓ Familiarity with UN system and earlier experience of engagement with a UN agency will be considered an asset.
✓ Familiarity with the Education Sector of Liberia would be an asset.
✓ Familiarity/experience of working engaging with Government of Liberia and particularly with the Ministry of Education.
✓ Demonstrated ability to coordinate between various social sector ministries on collaborative work

Language Requirement:

✓ Fluency in English is required.

Other Attributes Essential for the Assignment:

✓ Excellent communication/presentation skills.
✓ Ability to work independently and to meet deadlines.
✓ Demonstrated ability to effectively work with others and communicate in a multicultural environment.
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Closing Date Sat Jul 25 2020 07:55:00 GMT+0800 (China Standard Time)


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