Education Specialist, The Asia Foundation (TAF), Closing 1 Sep 2014

Project Title               : All Children Read project

Title                            : Education Specialist

Status                         : Consultant

Location                     : Dili, Timor-Leste (travel to districts)

Duration                     : 40 days

I.                    BACKGROUND

The Asia Foundation (TAF) is currently implementing a 24-month, program to improve children’s literacy in Timor-Leste by developing innovative and relevant reading materials for primary school students and reading and teaching aids for teachers and parents.

Timorese children are at a significant disadvantage for obtaining basic literacy and numeracy skills; many children spend years in primary schools without learning to read. The Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) promotes Portuguese and Tetun as the official languages, yet most children entering school do not speak these languages. Children must navigate multiple, often unfamiliar, official languages, which differ greatly from languages spoken in the home and by their teachers. As a result, children are not able to understand and learn from their teachers. Teachers also have limited skills and teaching materials at their disposal.

TAF believes that education in Timor-Leste is at a critical juncture that holds the opportunity for ground-breaking and desperately needed progress. TAF will work in partnership with Alola, a not for profit, non-governmental organization operating in Timor-Leste that has extensive experience in education for primary school students and has sound expertise in training teachers and producing early literacy resources.

The Fundasaun Alola Education and Literacy Program focuses on building capacity and expanding opportunities for women and children to access quality education in Timor-Leste. The program is comprised of three core programs: the Scholarships Program which offers long-term, comprehensive support to disadvantaged female students at secondary school and university; the Teacher Training Program, concerned with providing training and support to teachers across Timor-Leste in educational curriculum and methodologies; and the Mobile Library Program, which produces teaching tools for Timorese classrooms, tailored for children learning in the Timor-Leste context.

In 2008, with a view to improving the access of Timorese children to appropriate literacy resources, the Education and Literacy Program developed a series of Tetun language readers for children, along with bilingual classroom teaching aids in Tetun and Portuguese. The Program has further facilitated the publication of three international children’s picture books into Tetun with a view to providing a range of Tetun-language materials. This agenda of resource development has continued through 2012 with the production of 14 early literacy readers in three mother-tongue languages and the facilitation of a large scale literacy pack project which provided 75 Tetun-language children’s books to each Primary School across Timor-Leste.

In 2013, the program will look to expand its provision of Pre-Primary and Primary Teacher Training to ensure a greater number of teachers are versed in early literacy and numeracy strategies and skills to make use of related resources and facilitate learning using the children’s home language.

In addition to working with Alola Foundation, the program is also working with Institutu Mary Mackillop on Parents educational outreach. Under this initiative, the program seeks to engage parents’ further involvement in children education through empowering them with a set of relevant skills to enable them to help their children at home. Academic nurturing is central to improving children literacy outcomes. This activity complements the project’s other activities and ensure that they reach their intended goals and objectives.

II.                  Summary of Assignment:

TAF is seeking to hire a qualified education expert with expertise specifically in early grade reading.  The consultant will be expected to perform a final evaluation to the project.  The evaluation will seek to identify the impact that the tools and trainings developed under this project has had in the project sites, by using relevant available baseline data on early grade reading in Timor-Leste and data from the project’s mid-term evaluation, as well as assessing the impacts of parents educational outreach activity on perceived or real change in children education.  The consultant will present the key findings in a final report submitted to TAF and in a workshop organized by the Foundation at the end of the year which includes a series of recommendations for future considerations.

The consultancy is based in Dili, Timor-Leste with travel to at least four districts covered by the project.

The Consultant(s) is required to perform the following tasks:

-          Conduct interviews with all the teachers who participated in the training program at least from four districts (Dili, Liquica, Manatuto, and Aileu);

-          Conduct interviews with parents participated in parents educational outreach conducted by Institutu Mary Mackillop

-          Conduct stakeholder interviews and discussions about the project which include TAF key staff, Fundasaun Alola and Institutu Mary Mackillop’s key staff, Care International on their education baseline survey, and relevant staff at the Ministry of Education

-          Liaise with Alola Foundation and Institutu Mary Mackillop (as sub-grantees of the Project) to assess the impact of the learned teaching skills in literacy and numeracy strategy together with using resource in terms of changed perceptions and skills in teachers and parents, and increased use of materials as teaching resources;

-          Assess levels of improvement in literacy among children whose teachers and parents have undergone training using CARE baseline education survey to measure the impact of this project.

-          The consultant is to assess the teacher training program curriculum and the parents educational outreach activities, the effectiveness of the methodologies of teacher training and the usefulness of the resource packages in the enhancement of Children’s literacy and numeracy absorption.

III.             Deliverable

-          The consultant is expected to produce an Evaluation Report at the end of this assignment which will include assessment on the effectiveness of teacher training and resource packs on children’s cognitive ability to absorb basic literacy and numeracy skills. In addition, the report should also contain recommendations on strategies to improve the project activities and the expected impact it will have on children’s cognitive ability to absorb basic literacy and numeracy skills.

-          The consultant is also expected to present the findings of the evaluation to relevant stakeholders at a half-day workshop organized by the Foundation in early December 2014.

IV.             Supervision

The Consultant(s) will report to Mario Pinheiro as the focal point for the project.  All reports and authorizations will be signed off and authorized by the Country Representative.

V.                Duration

This consultancy services is for 40 days.  The expected date for the start of the assignments is on September 9, 2014.  Details of M&E are as follows:

1.      Week 1 and 2 (10 working days):

Working closely with the Asia Foundation, Alola education team and Institutu Mary Mackillop, the Consultant will conduct a desk review on the ACR objectives and activities. The Consultant will have access to existing documents, methodologies and resource packages that has been developed by Alola Foundation. Based on desk review, the Consultant develops questioners for evaluation to targeted schools. 

2.      Week 3-6(20 working days ): Field work

The Consultant to conduct M&E to target schools in Liquisa, Manatuto, Dili and Aileu.

3.      Week 7-8(10 working days ): Reporting

Building on from the result of the Mid-term evaluation of the project, the Consultant is required to submit its M&E report to the Foundation. The report should contain analysis of education tools develop by Alola Foundation, the teaching methodologies, how the teachers use the tools during the teaching processes, what is the impact of tools and teaching methodologies introduced by the teachers and recommendation for the improvement.  In addition, the report should also examine the effectiveness of Parents Educational Outreach conducted by Institutu Mary Mackillop. The report should be less than 75 pages.


VI.               Qualification

Candidates for the position must have at least a Master’s degree in early education, with more than 5 years in early grade reading and literacy.  Experience working in developing country, especially in Timor-Leste is highly desirable. Have good understanding of Timor-Leste Education sector, Tetum or Bahasa Indonesia is desirable.

Preference will be given to candidates who reside in Timor-Leste. Women are highly encouraged to apply. Applicants are required to submit their RESUME with at least three referees and an application letter to be considered for this job. The application will be addressed to Mr. Mario Filomeno da Costa Pinheiro with “Consultant for Final Evaluation” as the subject line by hand delivery or through email to

Application is closed by Monday September 1st, 2014. Only short-listed candidates will be acknowledged for further process.
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