Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 05-NOV-2020

UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, ProfessionalismTERMS OF REFERENCE


The International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, also called The Teacher Task Force (TTF), was created in 2008. It was previously known as the International Task Force on Teachers for Education for all. Its new name reflects the alignment of the Teacher Task Force’s work with the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, and more particularly SDG 4, the goal dedicated to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. 

The Secretariat of the Teacher Task Force (TTF) is requesting proposals to carry out research of how countries have been able to support school leaders and teachers in developing effective education responses to COVID-19 so that quality teaching may continue to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG4 on ensuring inclusive, equitable quality education for all. The proposed research will examine in particular the role of social dialogue in developing, implementing and evaluating effective education responses, including new policy measures and better practices. As such, the paper is not as much an examination of the teacher responses, as it is of the social dialogue processes used to arrive at the responses and whether this led to successful results.


Under the supervision of the Senior Project officer and Project Officer, the individual specialist will support the Teachers Task Force by carrying out research of how countries have been able to support school leaders and teachers in developing effective education responses to COVID-19 so that quality teaching may continue to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG4 on ensuring inclusive, equitable quality education for all. The proposed research will examine in particular the role of social dialogue in developing, implementing and evaluating effective education responses, including new policy measures and better practices.

The consultant will be responsible for arranging their own computer equipment, office space, and telecommunications fees. The consultant is expected to conduct the assignment efficiently and professionally and to communicate with UNESCO in a timely manner.
The individual specialist will need to demonstrate excellent knowledge of English.

The ILO defines  social dialogue as: “…all types of negotiation, consultation and exchange of information among representatives of [governments, employers and workers] on common interests in economic, labour and social policy.”  According to the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status  of Teachers, the fundamental process of social dialogue, between levels of government, teachers’ organisations and private sector education providers, is key to arrive at a common census for developing and implementing strategies and concrete action to improve the condition of teachers and enhance teaching. With the unprecedented arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 aims to reinforce the role for social dialogue in its Call for Action on Teachers, which among others, emphasises the inclusion of teachers and their representative organisations in policy responses to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

In full knowledge that countries are at varying phases of the global pandemic, the research will examine social dialogue processes and resulting teacher responses over three periods: 

  1. immediately in reaction to the crisis; 
  2. shorter-term planning as systems begin adapting to the crisis;
  3. longer-term planning to build back more resilient education systems. 

The paper should examine the current social dialogue process itself to better understand how it can best be leveraged to ensure i) effective teacher responses and policies are developed, ii) decisions are implemented and progress towards objectives are achieved, iii) harmonious relationships between Ministries, the teacher workforce, teacher unions and civil society organizations are established and sustained, and iv) education systems are strengthened and more resilient to shocks. More specifically, the research should aim to answer the following: 

  • Which basic social, economic and political enabling factors/ conditions enhanced the formation of social dialogue between Ministries, teachers and their representatives to develop and implement successful responses? 
  • Which legal frameworks, policies and institutional structures and mechanisms need to be in place to enable effective social dialogue that leads to consensus towards the identification and achievement of collective goals by education providers (Ministries, private sector) and teachers and their representatives? 
  • Is the education sector inclusive to teachers’ associations and civil society organisations’ perspectives? For example, are they represented in Local Education Groups (LEGs) and in broader sector planning, implementation and monitoring?
  • To what degree is the institutional strength of teacher unions and their representative organisations related to their capacity for consensus building with government stakeholders (e.g. size of union membership, number of unions and associations, credible leadership, internal policies, vision and mission, etc.)?
  • For teachers to participate fully in the social dialogue process, what knowledge and skills are required of teachers and their representatives?
  • How does social dialogue feed into broader policy dialogue and what are the mechanisms and processes that lead to this?

While the paper should focus primarily on the public sector, some examination of social dialogue within countries related to private sector providers and their teachers should be conducted in particular where public-private partnerships exist including the use of community and contract teachers and where civil society organisations advocate on their behalf. 

In the examination of social dialogue and consensus-driven teacher responses to COVID-19, the research should unpack both successful and unsuccessful examples adopted in countries, summarize lessons learned and provide recommendations for moving forward. Initial social dialogue in response to the initial crisis 

Marked by the suddenness of the crisis, social dialogue during this stage is expected to have been ad hoc in nature and assembled reactively, if at all. Rather, many responses to COVID-19 will have been led by teachers and their representatives themselves. The research should examine previous and current examples of organic, grass-roots teacher-led dialogue with local officials and parents so that teaching and learning could continue. The paper may discuss examples of grassroots social dialogue that led to innovative newly emerging solutions and practices led by teachers and their representatives in handling the school closures and remote learning.

It should also consider the dynamics and lessons learned whereby governments (central and decentralized levels) led on social dialogue with teachers and their representative organizations’ involvement. In terms of top-down approaches, research could also shed light on how teachers and their representatives were consulted, and whether their input was taken into account to ensure learning continues at a distance using high, low and no-tech solutions. The examination should also consider the role of previously existing social dialogue mechanisms and practices and how they responded to the crisis. Finally, an examination of the degree that teachers’ voices in the monitoring and evaluation of the responses borne out of social dialogue would also be key.Ongoing social dialogue as systems begin to adapt to the crisis

Beyond the initial crisis, the research will most likely focus on social dialogue’s role in responses related to teachers’ role during the recovery and post-initial crisis period. It should differentiate between new social dialogue processes in context of previous or ongoing social and policy dialogue. Particular to COVID-19 and the complicated evolution of the global pandemic, this will cover the period in which education providers transition to widespread use of distance education and the planned return to school in some countries.

In relation to top-down approaches, the research should examine greater planned or lack thereof social dialogue processes and impacts on teachers’ responses after the initial crisis to enhance efforts to ensure learning continuity and remedial actions. The research could examine social dialogue and how is shaped teacher leaders and teachers’ involvement individually and in teams to recognise gaps in pupil’s knowledge and devise means to address these. It could also further consider how social dialogue informed teachers’ role to ensure the health and safety of returning children, themselves and other staff. Another major consideration could encompass greater system level responses developed to ensure that teachers have the knowledge, skills, support and access to networks to help them deal with their own psychological and socio-emotional well-being, reduce work-related and personal stress, and in turn help others.

Another key area of interest would be the role of teachers’ voices related to the assessment of their own needs for capacity building efforts and the acquisitions of new skills including ICT, blended, remote and hybrid learning methodologies, better classroom management and leadership skills to meet the rapidly evolving needs of teachers to perform their duties. It could also include social dialogue’s role for teachers and their representatives to advocate for better access to much needed ICT tools and connectivity. Lastly, it should examine the social dialogue processes involved in the successful negotiation of changing working conditions including total working hours, flexible scheduling, staggered classrooms, safety protocols and the incentives to assume additional responsibilities and/ or address difficult work routines. In addition to top-down responses, ongoing bottom-up social dialogue originating from teachers working with district offices and other education authorities should also be examined.Social dialogue for building longer-term resiliency

The research will finally examine the role of social/ policy dialogue in planning medium- to longer-term approaches to build more system resilience and mitigate shocks for achieving key learning objectives and expected educational outcomes including SDG4. The research should make clear delineation between previous dialogue and new dialogue that will occur given the shift in educational priorities due to COVID-19 related setbacks. 

Given the centralized role of Ministries, social dialogue around longer-term planning should examine top-down approaches in particular. While organic bottom-up approaches might seem less applicable given the Ministry-driven nature of long-term planning, instances of grassroots social dialogue that may have applicability for longer term sustainability are also relevant to consider.

In anticipation of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and further school closures, the research should examine the role of social dialogue in the following longer-term response areas including:

  • Enhanced teacher education and continuing professional development to empower teachers with knowledge and skills to ensure the continuity of learning including distance and online teaching, remedial education, differentiated instruction, and emerging fields of education; this could include social dialogue between Ministries, teacher unions as well as with tertiary institutions to develop more effective pre- and in-service training for teachers;
  • Anticipated needs for access to ICT and its potential application to drive education during emergency crisis contexts; 
  • Increased professionalization of teaching by enhancing career structures to ensure professional learning needs are met, performance is assessed and appropriate support provided including appropriate incentives to ensure a sustainable workforce over time; 
  • Measures to protect teachers’ and students’ health, safety and psychological well-being; and
  • Deployment strategies ensure adequate staff are available, which is also aligned with protecting teachers’ rights, working conditions, and social and economic security.

Scope of Work

The research will include both developed and developing countries across different regions including at least three low to lower-middle income countries from at least two different geographical regions. The paper should also include one upper-middle- or high-income country for comparison. Some review of the literature of past epidemic responses (e.g. Ebola in Western Africa) would be important to shed light on past lessons learned to shed light on the current context.

The technical proposal should describe the approach and methodology to be undertaken and any additional research questions to be considered to deliver the assignment. The proposal should specify the scope of the literature review and research, proposed methods of data collection for addressing the above areas, and how the information will be analyzed for generating insights for future policy and planning at various levels of the system, such as government, teacher education institutions, district-level, school leaders, teacher unions, etc. The added value of the proposed research and analysis to identifying knowledge and creating recommendations around social dialogue to build more resilient education systems will be a critical factor in evaluating proposals.

Beyond the selected countries under examination and given its potential applicability to the current crisis, a review of key literature surrounding the role of social dialogue in teacher responses during past pandemics/ epidemics (e.g. the Ebola virus in sub-Saharan Africa or other widespread illnesses or health crises) leading to school closures or other significant transformations of teaching and learning conditions should be conducted. This should include responses guided by a social dialogue dimension as well as where social dialogue might have been lacking for failed to contribute towards effective decision-making to generate collaborative and effective teacher responses between governments, teachers and their representatives.Outcome of the Research

The research outcomes should inform improvement to the delivery of inclusive and equitable, quality education enshrined in Sustainable Developments Goals 4 including target 4.c on teachers by unpacking the role played by effective social dialogue. The report will provide detailed information on the mechanisms, steps and practices required to support social dialogue as well as recommendation for countries, teachers’ associations, CSOs and other stakeholders to review, adapt and implement in their own contexts. It will include not only recommendations to ensure progress is achieved in regards to the short- and longer-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in terms of how it will impact ongoing sector reforms and longer-term building of stronger and more resilient education systems. The reports’ findings will be reviewed for publication and will published on the TTF Knowledge Hub and UNESCO platforms. Output, Deliverables, and Indicative timeline

The final report should be 8,000-10,000 words, excluding appendices. The final report should include an executive summary, table of contents, literature review, description of the methodology, results, discussion and interpretation of findings, recommendations for policy-makers and references.

All sources must be properly cited and follow international academic standards and ensure that no copyrights are violated. The final report must follow the guidelines specified in the UNESCO Style Manual with respect to uses of terminology, spelling, abbreviations, references, etc.

In line with UNESCO’s overall gender mainstreaming strategy, the contractor is expected to integrate a gender perspective in all activities and apply gender analysis and mainstreaming concepts whenever feasible. 

The deadline for the final report is no later than 15 May 2021.

Deliverables and Suggested Timeline

  • Finalized research study proposal (including research framework, draft table of contents, bibliography, and timelined workplan) (+15 days after contract signature)
  • Draft outline & literature review report and research tools (+ 1 months)                                          
  • First draft of final report (with complete literature review and preliminary analysis) (+ 3 months)
  • Final report: First submission for internal review (+ 1 month)
  • Final report: Second submission reflecting comments for external review (+15 days)

UNESCO reserves the right to publish final reports as is, or to develop a synthesis report combining two or more reports on a given topic. UNESCO also reserves the right to refuse to publish any report.

UNESCO will provide technical feedback to each deliverable submitted and hold regular meetings at key milestones to discuss progress and next steps. This would include time for reviewing and validating any data collection instruments. The first draft of the final report will be reviewed internally and the second draft will be reviewed externally. As per UNESCO guidelines, the final report will be subjected to external reviews prior to publication.REQUIREMENTS


Academic and professional requirements

  • Advanced post-graduate degree (Master’s or higher) in education, social sciences, international development, and other related field.
  • A minimum of 5 years of professional experience as a researcher and/or analyst in one of the following areas of expertise: education data analysis, learning measurement and assessment; social dialogue teachers, teacher labour rights and working conditions, educator training.
  • Proven record of research, projects and publications in one or more of the fields of social and policy dialogue, teacher policy, teacher education and professional development, pedagogy, ICTs for pedagogy, educational development, and other related fields.
  • Proficiency in qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
  • Professional experience in developing countries.
  • Prior relevant experience in a UN agency or organization is an asset.


  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively within a complex and multicultural environment, proven interpersonal and communication skills, strong technical assessment and analytical skills, and ability to organize and coordinate multiple tasks, and deliver the result within specified timelines.

Language requirements

  • Fluency in both written and oral English is a requirement.
  • Knowledge of another official UN language would be an asset.




Reference: Teachers Task Force for Education 2030 – Social Dialogue

Request to submit a written proposal for a work assignment with UNESCO

UNESCO is inviting written proposals from Individuals for the work assignment described above.

To enable you to prepare a proposal for this assignment, please review carefully the Terms of Reference above

Your written proposal should comprise:

  1. A Technical Proposal consisting of:
    • an up to date curriculum vitae in UNESCO format,
    • an approach and methodology for the assignment, including a work plan in line with the Terms of Reference.
  2. The amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars or in Euros only for the period 15 November 2020– 15 May 2021 as a monthly fee.

Although not envisioned as necessary, please include any costs for travel (transportation + daily per diem) to Paris as a separate budget line.

Your proposal and supporting documents must be in English.

UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the proposals for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements. From those proposals deemed suitable in relation to the criteria set forth in the Terms of Reference, UNESCO shall select the proposal that offers the Organization best value for money.

Your proposal should be submitted by e-mail no later than close of business (18:00) on 5 November 2020. E-mail proposals should not exceed 5MB.

The e-mail should be addressed to

Peter Wallet 

It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that his/her proposal is received by the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in this UNESCO assignment; and we look forward to receiving your proposal.COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)Accountability (C)Communication (C)Innovation (C)Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)Planning and organizing (C)Results focus (C)Teamwork (C)For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.SELECTION AND RECRUITMENT PROCESS

No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.Footer

UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

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