Senior Education Economist/Specialist – Education at World Bank

World Bank

JOB DESCRIPTION

 

Description

 

Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. 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, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. 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

Western and Central Africa (AFW) Region

We need the best and brightest talent focused on Sub-Saharan African countries in order to harness the potential and innovation happening across the continent. Africa is a continent on the move, with a young population and a growing market of nearly 1.2bn people. We are committed to making the Africa regional teams into leading innovation hubs.

Yet, these vast opportunities are tempered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, which have Africa only reaching forty percent of its estimated potential. Moreover, conflict, food insecurity, population growth, and the disruptive forces of climate change threaten to curtail or even reverse the progress that has been made over the past decades. 

In Western and Central Africa, the World Bank is a leading partner with a growing portfolio of 350 projects totaling more than US$38 billion in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water, and sanitation – all to support job creation, gender equality, poverty reduction, and better lives. Across the continent, the World Bank’s program has nearly doubled over the last 10 years. By 2030, about 87 percent of the world’s extreme poor are projected to live in Sub-Saharan Africa, so this is where our mission to end extreme poverty and to promote shared prosperity will be achieved. 

Are you ready to make an impact? We are looking for dedicated professionals to join our innovative and diverse team to improve people’s lives and help countries build back better after COVID.  

Western and Central Africa (AFW) Region: 

https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/western-and-central-africa

The Human Development (HD) Practice Group (PG)

Human development is at the core of the World Bank’s strategy to improve people’s lives and support sustainable development. The Human Development research program spans education, health, social protection, and labor.

Education Global Practice  

Education is a human right, a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. It delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income and is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. For more information: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education

Country Management Unit Context

The AWCC1 Country Management Unit (CMU) covers the countries of Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. The Bank has been actively working in the human development sectors for many years through lending operations, analytical work and policy dialogue. While the Bank has a growing program in each of these countries’ education sectors, the ROC portfolio is large and is instrumental in contributing to the country strategy for improving access to basic services in underserved areas and increased employability and earnings. ROC has made a progress in basic education enrolment over the last 15 years. Yet, despite significant improvements, the education sector still faces a number of challenges, including low completion rates in primary education, low transition rates to secondary education, and persisting gender, spatial and income inequities. Furthermore, the quality and relevance of education remains a pressing concern — with around four out of five children under the age of 10 unable to read and understand a simple story.   Education outcomes are likely to have further declined as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the related school closures.

Education also plays a key contributing role in the development strategies for the other countries covered by the AWCC1 CMU. For example, in the Central African Republic, education is playing a key role in moving the country beyond its history of conflicts and instability by providing youth with education and skills training that will help them contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous society. In Gabon, the new Country Partnership Framework highlights human development as one of the transformational priorities for the country, with a particular focus on improved technical and vocational education as a way to upskill Gabonese youth and connect them to better jobs and employment opportunities outside the oil sector. Upcoming projects will prioritize further enhancements to the country’s technical and vocational education system to better equip Gabonese youth to access or create blue and green economy jobs, which are a key part of Gabon’s development future.

HAWE3 Unit

The Education GP team in the AFW Region is divided into two units (HAWE3 and HAWE2), each covering three CMUs.  HAWE3 covers nine countries mapped to three Country Management Units (CMUs): (i) Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, (ii) Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone; and (iii) Nigeria. Clients range from low-income countries (LIC), 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 AFW countries, with most of the Region’s population living in poverty.  Despite the progress achieved in education, the AFW countries face major challenges with high level of learning poverty and out-of-school children, significant disadvantages adolescent girls face in terms of secondary education opportunities, and the low quality and limited relevance of skills programs for youth entering the labor market. 

The Education GP team in the region works with client countries – at the 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 teaching and learning of science and technology at all levels, and aligning skills formation with the needs of a fast-growing Region, including LICs. 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 HAWE3 Unit is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in the AFW region. The unit currently has a portfolio of regional and country projects and programs, analytical and technical assistance activities financed through IDA grants and credits, IBRD loans, Trust Funds, and using investment, including results-based financing (including Program for Results (PforR) operations).  The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood development (ECD) to basic education, from secondary to technical and vocation education and training and to tertiary education, including the regional higher education projects.

Recent analytical and advisory work includes the preparation of an AFW Regional Education Strategy to improve education outcomes – specifically, reducing learning poverty, improving secondary education opportunities for girls and increasing opportunities for youth to acquire market-relevant skills. The operationalization of the regional strategy will require Bank Education teams to closely work with the relevant governments in developing their country-specific targets and implementation plans to achieve set those targets. 

Education Sectors in the Cameroon Country Management Unit

The RoC has made progress in the education sector – including on the first phase of the implementation of the revised education sector strategy (2021-2030) which focuses on sustainable approaches to increasing equitable access to quality education, improve the quality of training, and increase the effectiveness of the overall education system.  The Government has further developed its capacity to collect, analyze and use data, by improving data collection and developing the education management information system (EMIS) and building a biometric teacher enrollment system (to include volunteer, community and finalist teachers) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Service.

In ROC, the Bank has an active and growing education portfolio. The Bank supports the Education Sector Support Project (PRAASED) and the Skills Development for Employability Project (PDCE), approved in April 2016 and September 2013, respectively, with the PDCE receiving additional financing in 2020. The PRAASED aims to improve the education outcomes of primary and lower secondary school children and to increase the effectiveness of select management systems, while the PDCE aims to improve job and entrepreneurship skills for vulnerable urban youth in order to improve their labor market insertion and earnings. The Bank is also supporting skills development activities in the context of the Additional Financing to the Lisungi Emergency COVID-19 Response Project (led by Social Protection). The ROC education team also contributes relevant analysis and inputs to cross-sectoral activities, reports, and strategic documents. The World Bank is also active in knowledge generation on key issues in the education sector in ROC.

The Bank’s education portfolio in Cameroon includes: (a) an International Development Association (IDA)-financed Education Reform Support Project (ERSP), approved in May 2018, which aims to improve equitable access to quality basic education, with a focus on selected disadvantaged areas, featuring results-based and performance-based financing modalities; (b) an IDA/Global Partnership for Education (GPE)-funded Additional Financing to ERSP; and (c) an IDA-financed Skills Development and Secondary Education Project, approved in July 2020. The World Bank is also active in knowledge generation on key issues in the education sector in Cameroon. Analytical work includes (i) support for the development of the national education sector strategy, (ii) development of a contextualized teacher framework, (iii) early childhood development ASAs, and (iv) a “read at home” initiative. In collaboration with other human development GPs (SPJ and HNP), the Cameroon education team is also working on the Human Capital Project and contributes relevant analysis and inputs to cross-sectoral reports and strategic documents.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), the World Bank’s work is aligned with the 2020-2029 Education Sector Plan. Given CAR’s history of conflicts and instability, the ESP aims to rebuild the education system through its four strategic axes: (a) increasing equitable access to education and training; (b) training, recruiting, and deploying a large number of teachers throughout the country; (c) improving the quality of education; and (d) reforming the governance of the sector and increasing funding for the education system. The World Bank supports the CAR Ministries of Education through the CAR Emergency Basic Education Support Project and the Education Sector Plan Support Project. It is also involved in the implementation of the Human Capital and Women and Girls’ Empowerment Project (Maïngo), as well as the Investment and Business Competitiveness for Employment Project.

The Gabon education portfolio is currently focused on youth skills development, with some emerging analytical work on basic education. The Skills Development for Employability Project (PRODECE) aims to improve the effectiveness of vocational training, short term skills development, and entrepreneurship programs in key growth sectors in Gabon. Planned analytical work will analyze existing learning data as well as collect new data in order to better understand key drivers of learning outcomes in the country’s basic education system. Gabon’s new Country Partnership Framework highlights human development as one of the transformational priorities for the country, with a particular focus on improved technical and vocational education as a way to upskill Gabonese youth and connect them to better jobs and employment opportunities outside the oil sector. Upcoming projects will prioritize further enhancements to the country’s technical and vocational education system to better equip Gabonese youth to access or create blue and green economy jobs.

The World Bank’s engagement in Equatorial Guinea is nascent. While the country does not have any active projects with the World Bank, Reimbursable Assistance Services (RAS) and Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) are active. The education sector contributes to this analytical work through the preparation of the Digital Economy Report for Equatorial Guinea, which will have a specific pillar on digital skills. The report will analyze the status of digital skills in the country, identify gaps, and propose solutions, both in terms of expanding the availability of digital skills and creating a more robust enabling environment for digital skills to grow. This is aligned with the country’s central development challenge, which lies in transforming its oil-producing economy into a more diversified one, which will require strong digital skills. In addition, the Country Economic Memorandum, under preparation, will also strongly focus on human capital, including education. These priorities are aligned with the country’s Strategy Plan for Sustainable Development 2020-2025, which aims to eradicate poverty and includes “value people, knowledge, and innovation as drivers of growth” as one of its aspirations.

The selected candidate will report to the Practice Manager for HAWE3 and is expected to work in close collaboration with the Country Management Unit (CMU), and the other members of the education and Human Development team, colleagues in other GPs based in the Republic of Congo and in Cameroon, Gabon and the Central African Republic. In addition, also work with other team members based in Washington DC working on the different programs.  

Duties and Accountabilities 

In the light of the above, the World Bank seeks to hire a Senior Education Specialist/Economist to lead analytical work and operations in the Cameroon Country Management Unit’s (CMU) education portfolio and related activities. The candidate will work primarily in the RoC as well as the other countries of the CMU. The selected candidate will be expected to engage in high quality policy dialogue with government counterparts and stakeholders on key issues in education and skills development, provide timely and quality implementation support to the governments on the lending operations, lead or co-lead the preparation of new lending programs, and lead or co-lead analytical work. The candidate will further develop and support new business areas of engagement, including partnering with key stakeholders to attain results. The candidate must have: (a) strong education technical expertise and integrity; (b) ability and agility to identify areas for policy and/or institutional reforms that could be addressed through DPOs or results-based approaches; and (c) engage with other global practices to enhance Cameroon’s development trajectory

The selected Senior Education Specialist/Economist will be based in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, and report to the Education Practice Manager for HAWE3. 

The main responsibilities include: 

• Operations: Design and supervise operations, both as leader and as member of team, in the education sector or multi-sectoral operations, tapping into the Bank’s full range of lending instruments (including investment project financing, result-based financing, etc). Provide implementation support for the on-going portfolio. Provide timely advice and support to clients in implementing projects and help to build capacity of the Ministries of Education.

• Policy dialogue and building client capacity: Conduct sectoral policy dialogue with clients at the highest levels, on a range of complex issues at different levels of education. Identify and nurture opportunities for participating in the broader policy dialogue in the country especially in so far as they impact on education or where the education sector can contribute. Build client capacity to use findings of policy research/ analytical work for developing new policies. 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, on issues such as strategies to expanding access to quality primary and secondary education, girls education, improving the quality and relevance of skills development, use of digital technology in education, and public private partnerships.

• Analytical work and non-lending services: Design and lead the preparation of “cutting edge” technical products that respond to critical policy questions identified by the client and which have an impact on policy and operational design on issues and policies related to education and training (including education finance, policy dialogue, governance, teacher policies, national large-scale assessments of student learning achievement, quality assurance systems, and skills development.  In addition, the successful candidate is expected to lead/contribute to activities such as impact evaluation, feasibility study, economic analysis of education operations, public expenditure reviews and other education sector work. Produce “just in time” notes of high quality as well as lead longer analytical reports.  Work on cross-sectoral teams to contribute to products such as public expenditure reviews and implementation of decentralization. Contribute to the country diagnostics and other core analytic work. Contribute to the unit’s analytical work by generating “think pieces” and synthesis papers. Provide education sector input to regular Bank products and outputs, e.g. HD-wide analytical tasks, CMU tasks. Liaise with HD staff on integrated HD inputs and activities. 

• Leadership: Work closely with the Practice Manager, the education team, the CMU and other sectors to identify, develop and support new business areas of engagement, including innovative financial products, technical advisory services and other services, as required.

• Education and human development sector work: Provide education sector input to regular Bank’s products/outputs (e.g. HD sector briefings and memos, background reports, project performance reviews, etc.).  Liaise with HD staff on integrated HD inputs and activities.  Respond to ad-hoc information requests from internal and external parties.  

• Partnerships: Work constructively with Local Education Group (LEG), partners, including bilateral and multi-lateral donors, UN agencies, NGOs, and private sector partners. Contribute to alignment and coordination around country led priorities.

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 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The ideal candidate will combine excellent team work and client dialogue skills, excellent technical skills, 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 operational skills to provide effective implementation support for the Bank’s growing portfolio. The candidate should have:

• Education: A minimum of a Master’s Degree (preferably PhD) in economics, education (economics of education, education policy, etc.), public policy, or a related field;
• Experience: A minimum of 8 years directly relevant work experience in education; and demonstrated expert-level knowledge of education policy.  Experience in World Bank operations as demonstrated through TTL-ship and or being core member for lending operations. Demonstrated experience on education policy, including ECD, primary and secondary education, skills development and tertiary education. Experience working clients to build capacity and engage in dialogue on education service delivery. Experience working with development partners.  Knowledge of the GPE processes is plus.
• Strong analytical/technical skills: Analytical and economics skills (e.g., education, labor economics), education policy analysis, including an understanding of the core education data sets, indicators, tools for analysis of these data, and the use of evidence for education policy;
• Strong client orientation. Ability to support policy dialogue, including Ministries of Education, and Ministry of Finance, and other stakeholders.
• Excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills. Demonstrated ability to lead teams. Excellent interpersonal skills, with proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively in a team and multicultural environment, with minimum supervision.
• 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 and communication skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and 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.
• Willingness to travel, as required by the different tasks.

Competencies

In addition to the above, the successful candidate is expected to demonstrate the following competencies
• Education knowledge and experience: Possesses 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 and produce user-friendly written outputs.
• Policy Dialogue Skills: Possesses political judgment, diplomatic acumen, and negotiating skills; applies cross-country development knowledge to discussions with clients and development partners; anticipates needs and requests in the field and develops/offers relevant tools to clients.
• 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 in education.
• 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

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

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