SENIOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION POLICY ADVISER
Yerevan | Armenia
Open until filled
Job ID: 2019-1737
Job Area: Implementation and Management Solutions
Clearance Level: Not applicable
Are you passionate about driving programs focused on foreign assistance? Do you want to be part of an organization that offers meaningful assignments and opportunities to expand your skills and expertise? At Dexis, you will experience a corporate culture of inclusiveness, fairness, and trust. You will be given the means and mentorship needed to succeed, and your creativity will be rewarded.
The purpose of the Education Support Initiative (ESI) is to recruit, hire and maintain technical, professional, operational, and support staff that supply services to the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Education Office and education sector. It includes full-time positions as well as short- and medium-term consultants.
Background on the need for the Short-Term Consultancy
The principle of inclusive education, “Education for All,” is on Armenia’s political agenda. The amendments to the Law on General Education defined the conditions for expansion of the inclusive education (IE) system and transformation of special schools to pedagogical support centers by 2025. The 2016 – 2021 Action Plan and Schedule of the Government of Armenia (GOAM) details the steps of integration of all children from special educational institutions to mainstream education. Currently, Armenia has nearly 246 inclusive schools. Yet, the analysis of the data from communities shows a considerable mismatch between the number of children registered with disabilities and those attending schools. There are different reasons for this, including the school accessibility. The new leadership of the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) prioritizes improvement of the general education quality at all levels and access for all children.
USAID has been supporting the MOES efforts to ensure inclusiveness and equality for all children under the GOAM’s Child Welfare Reform. The reforms seeks to close targeted special educational institutions, reintegrate de-institutionalized children into family environments, and mainstream children with special educational needs and/or with disabilities into inclusive education with need-based pedagogical-psychological support. With USAID’s direct assistance, the MOES will adapt the physical environment necessary to provide inclusive education to children with special educational needs and/or with disabilities in the target communities.
The USAID/Washington-funded MEASURE Evaluation activity supports country leadership to advance its national efforts on behalf of children with inadequate family care that are in line with the United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. The activity has strengthened the capacities of government and civil society partners, including the MOES, to implement a structured assessment of national care reform systems and strategies using a standardized framework, identify gaps and continuing needs in care reform, develop plans to address priority needs, and to establish indicators and systems for regular assessment of progress and monitoring of results against country plans for care reform. It supported the GOAM to conduct a self-assessment of the child care reform in line with the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care. In FY 2018, USAID launched the Community Level Access to Social Services (CLASS) activity, which promotes state institutionalization of the community-based social worker’s role and contributes to capacity strengthening and cooperation of key social protection stakeholders at local and regional levels. It helps strengthen the workforce of community social workers to ensure early identification of vulnerable children, supporting child well-being, and preventing and responding to abuse, exploitation, neglect, and family separation.
Over the past years, USAID’s partnership with GOAM, and the consortium of local and international organizations resulted in the following key accomplishments:
- The legal and regulatory framework is refined to strengthen the inclusive education system.
- Six special educational institutions in Syunik and Lori provinces closed.
- The de-institutionalized 346 children from these institutions reside with their biological families and attend mainstream schools in Syunik and Lori.
- Over 5,500 principals, teachers, teachers’ assistants, and the personnel of the newly established pedagogical support centers in Lori and Syunik received training on inclusive education principles and best practices.
- Today, six pedagogical support centers operate in those provinces to support inclusive schools in their geographical area.
- The public funds previously used to sustain the closed institutions have been redirected to mainstream education services and support centers.
The improvement of pre-service teacher training curricula and educational programs, sharing experiences and practices became possible within the partnership between the University of Minnesota and the Yerevan State Pedagogical University, supported by State Department. Yet, the introduced practices in pre-service teacher training programs need to be institutionalized in the country’s pedagogical universities to support and complement the ongoing reform efforts.
All of these steps are important but not sufficient for inclusive education. Inclusive education means having one inclusive system of education for all students, at all levels, with the provision of supports to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Inclusion involves a profound cultural shift to ensure that all children, as well as staff, parents and other members of the school community, feel valued, welcomed and respected.
In October 2018, the MOES requested USAID’s technical assistance to support with strategic thinking and effort to build up an equitable and improved inclusive education system. This fits in with larger USAID support to the MOES deinstitutionalization efforts and strengthening of inclusive education system under the GOAM’s Child Welfare Reform.
Objective of the Short-Term Consultancy
USAID’s short-term technical assistance (STTA) for inclusive education will provide key programming support to the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES). The STTA will provide policy guidance and programming advice to improve the quality of inclusive education and to ensure ‘inclusion’ and not simply ‘integration’ for children with special educational needs and/or with disabilities and with learning difficulties
Specific tasks include:
- Development of a Strategic Vision Paper: the Paper will include strategic level vision for the IE reform implementation and be the basis for the policy development for the GOAM.
- Development of a Roadmap: the roadmap will provide the needed steps and timeline to accomplish the policy recommendations.
The STTA will advise the Minister/Deputy Minister of Education and Science and/or their designate, share analyses and strategies on the inclusive education programming. The Senior Education Policy Advisor will mainly work independently ensuring that tasks are achieved in a timely manner. S/he will report to USAID/Armenia’s Activity Manager of the direct assistance to the MOES, while sharing updates and copies of produced deliverables with DCHA/DRG’s Empowerment and Inclusion (EI) Division and E3/Education’s Disability Inclusive Education division, which together lead much of USAID’s work on children in adversity and disability inclusion.
Senior Education Policy Advisor’s Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conduct a rapid assessment of the education sector, including desk review of the existing policy papers, sector-related program reports, studies and evaluations and any other supporting documents that may be available, within the first four weeks of STTA.
- Consult with the MOES, and other stakeholders as relevant to understand current context and progress of inclusive education reform in Armenia, the approach being put forward, national and local resources and priorities, lessons learned.
- Identify challenges facing the existing education system to mainstream children with disabilities, and propose for discussion reforms and/or approaches to strengthen the system.
- Provide recommendations on a strengthened approach to build up an equitable and inclusive education system suitable to the Armenian context. Address the MOES issues of concern for the reform implementation throughout the whole continuum of the process.
- As appropriate, present to the MOES, and other stakeholders the evidence-base for the recommended strategic approach to strengthening inclusive education and raise their awareness of the issues relevant to effective mainstreaming of children with disabilities to inform a feasible, technically sound approach.
- Advise the MOES and the Mission on international good/best practice in mainstreaming children with disabilities.
- Provide recommendation for inter-ministerial coordination and collaboration , including the services families and the children need to enable school attendance (including but limited to after-school care services).
- Develop the strategic vision paper for the IE reform implementation, which will be the basis for policy development for the GOAM.
- Present the draft strategic vision paper to USAID and the MOES.
- Revise and finalize the vision paper based on feedback from USAID and/or the MOES.
- Develop a roadmap with the needed steps and timeline to accomplish the policy actions to ensure quality education for all children.
- Present the revised/finalized strategic vision paper and the roadmap to USAID and the MOES.
The Advisor will based in at the MOES and work with the assigned Deputy Minister of Education and Science in charge of IE reform implementation and coordination.
- The ideal candidate would have at least 10 years of experience in disability and inclusive education, policy guidance and strategic planning in the mainstream and higher education.
- The ideal candidate must be able to provide some in-country support, with flexibility of virtual/remote support.
- The ideal candidate would be available from March 2019-August 2019.
- Relevant experience in the Eastern European and CIS region.
- Relevant experience in the international education development sector.
Are you looking for a company that offers meaningful program assignments and opportunities to develop professional skills and expertise? At Dexis, staff are empowered to be part of the decision-making process and collaborate with colleagues and management across the company to satisfy our clients. We create transparency in our operations with our clients and employees; and we offer our people opportunities to grow and challenge themselves in meaningful ways. Dexis follows a "find a way or make a way" business directive, and we’re paving the way for innovative management solutions in the global development and security assistance arenas worldwide. As a Dexis employee you will be challenged, empowered, and mentored. That’s how Dexis goes "all in.” How will you?
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Only those applicants who meet the above criteria will be contacted for interview.
Dexis is an equal opportunity employer offering employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, citizenship, physical or mental handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran of the US Armed Forces.
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