Call for Applications - Research Consultants Team (EN)

Nora Henter


 

TERMS OF REFERENCE

 

Research Consultants Team for the

Assessment of the Strengthening Education Civil Society Organisations’

Evidence Based Practice Initiative

 

Background information  

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

  

The Education Support Program (ESP), of the Open Society Foundations, and its partners support activism, research, policy, and practices that promote education justice. Education justice involves addressing the unequal distribution of resources to achieve more equal outcomes in education achievement and promoting the right of non-discrimination in education access. The program's central issues and activities include supporting the renewal and rebuilding of education systems in post-conflict countries, promoting equal education and inclusion for marginalized groups, strengthening critical thinking and education quality, and helping civil society play a progressive and engaged role in the education reform process. The program implements its strategies and programs internationally with particular focus given to Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and South East Asia.

  

ESP initiated, in 2010, the Strengthening Education Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) Evidence Based Practice Initiative. The principal aim of the initiative has been to contribute to the development of CSO organisational capacities to collect, organise and analyse the information describing their education inclusion programme outputs, outcomes and impact at school and classroom and school levels. As a result, a number of 11 organisations received grants to develop comprehensive, robust methodologies and related instruments (e.g. field work plans and research reporting tools, etc.) of data gathering protocols and strategies related to their own programmes. The Initiative has three principal components:

  

1.    Key research on the role of service delivery education CSOs in producing systematic, validated sources of data on education integration and efforts to tackle education discrimination and the marginalisation of vulnerable groups;

2.    Developing and testing information-collecting protocols that boost organisational capacities to understand and improve outcomes and impacts of interventions on the inclusion of marginalised children and youth;

3.    To raise awareness among key education policy, research and practitioner stakeholders on the importance of systematic documentation on CSO education service delivery – validating education CSO work as reliable source of social knowledge.

 

Objectives of the Evaluation 

The aim of the evaluation is to provide systematic insight into the achievements and barriers encountered in seeking to realise the primary aims of the initiative, i.e. to improve the ability of CSOs to produce valid sources of systematic social data. Therefore, the evaluation will focus on information about:

1.    The extent to which the initiative has advanced the analytical skills and research strategy development capacities of education service delivery CSOs that benefited from the programme;

2.    Whether there is an increased disposition of education service delivery CSOs to adopt comprehensive data gathering protocols and strategies to systematically collect data emerging from their service work; and,

3.    The type of learning among education service delivery CSOs in regards of evidence on the efficiency of different approaches to lead to expected outcomes and results.

  

Additionally, the evaluation should examine whether the application of the data methodologies developed by the CSOs to collect contextual information from specific interventions of their own has produced systematic knowledge on:

4.    How are social and learning outcomes and social skills linked to educational integration?

5.    What are the principal obstacles to successful school and classroom inclusion for students with disadvantaged background?

6.    What problems does national policy on educational inclusion pose for students with disadvantaged background?

 

The Purpose  

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

(1) Provide an in-depth assessment of the process and outcomes of the organisational data gathering and information strategies development by the 11 organisations;

(2) To undertake an assessment of the 11 research reports developed by CSOs, which includes the findings of the methodology testing, an assessment on the way in which these findings are related to the general literature; and,

(3) To identify ways forwards on how the adoption of similar methodologies at CSO levels could mitigate data scarcity on educational and social integration at school level.

  

The assignment will also include a combination of data collection methods, including but not exclusively:

(1) Individual interviews with CSOs representatives, and joint focus group dis-cussions, both organised along the final project meeting to be held in Istanbul July 27-29, 2011.

(2) Desk review of existing documents developed as part of the current initiative, which include: (a) the expression of interest package of CSOs to engage in the initiative; (b) individual action plans of all 11 CSOs; (c) the elaborated organisational data gathering and information strategies; (d) developed methodology and testing results; and (e) project reports (interim progress reports and final reports).

(3) Desk review of existing studies and assessment relevant to the topic of the Initiative.

 

The Evaluation Research Team

  

The evaluation research team will consist of two members, and the specific split or responsibilities will be detailed in the joint application submitted by prospective researchers according to the specific qualifications and competences of team members.

 

Required Qualifications

The candidate team should fulfil the following qualifications:

(1)   Abilities and adequate experience of conducting similar research (focus groups discussions and in-depth semi-structured interviews), and analysis of texts;

(2)   Excellent understanding of both qualitative and quantitative survey and data collection methods;

(3)   A university degree in relevant field (education, social sciences, etc.);

(4)   Proven knowledge in civil society works; and,

(5)   Excellent knowledge of English, both written and spoken.

 

Deliverables

The principal expected deliverables of the work include:

(1)   A report of the focus group discussions and individual interviews with representative of the engaged CSOs, as well as relevant OSF staff;

(2)   Assessment report of the outcomes of the organizational data gathering and information strategies of the 11 engaged organisations, contextualising them in the wider debates of the relevant literature; and,

(3)   A lessons learned and ways forward policy brief on how to expand on this stream of work, if the case.

 

The Proposal Submission Process

For teams that are interested in submitting offers for this assignment please send the following:

a.      Details of similar work undertaken including information on the purpose of the assessment, year when assignment completed, and possibly copies of the final products;

b.      CVs of key staff that will be involved in the assignment;

c.       The contact information for 2 persons who can provide reference of similar work;

d.      Research plan (5 – 6 pages) outlining the approach to such an assessment (demonstrate understanding of the themes addressed, research methodologies proposed, a work plan of key activities and time frames, identify key challenges and proposed solutions; and,

e.       Provide a detailed budget which includes: consultancy fee/honoraria; communication costs; transport costs; and other envisioned costs.

 

Honorarium

Consultants shall be remunerated on the basis of $300-400 per day for up to 20 days for each consultant, depending on seniority and prior experience in undertaking similar work. This is estimated to include up to 8 days of planning, collecting and developing report on focus group discussions, 7 days for the synthesis report, 3 days for formulating the policy brief, and 2 days to deliver consultancy reports to an ESP event. The total work shall not exceed this limit. Logistical and business costs shall be met by ESP.

  

Proposed timeframe

Assessment and reports are expected to be realised in the July – September 2011 period according to the following schedule:

  • Applications submitted by June 20, 2011;
  • Selection process ends by June 22, 2011;
  • Initial discussion (via teleconference) with project management  between June 22-24;
  • Review of the documentation of the Initiative and wider literature (July 20-27);
  • Participate at the Initiative’s closing meeting in Istanbul (July 28-29) and organize focus group discussions, write up the report (deliverable 1 above) by August 15; and,
  • Review of final reports of the grantee CSOs and writing up the Assessment Report along with the Lessons Learned and Ways Forward policy brief (deliverables 2 and 3 above) by September 5, 2011.

  

The tentative start date of the work is July 20. Additional terms of reference for international consultant positions required for the implementation of the foreseen activities may be developed by ESP and discussed with the contracted consultants as required during project implementation in response to stakeholder interest and evolving project needs.

 

Contact

Nora Henter

Open Society Institute

Education Support Program

Oktober 6. u. 12, 1051 Budapest, Hungary

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/esp, http://access.educationdevelopment.org/

Email: nhenter@osi.hu

Tel: +36 1 882 3151, Cell: +36 30 555 8112, Fax: +36 1 882 3823

 
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Administration

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.