3 Feb 2023

Education Specialist/Economist – Education at World Bank

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Job Description

Job #: req20984
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Education
Grade: GF
Term Duration: 4 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment
Location: Lusaka,Zambia
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s):
Closing Date: 2/16/2023 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC



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



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

Education is central to achieving the WBG’s twin goals:  it is a reliable route out of poverty through large and consistent returns to income for individuals and as a driver for economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all and learning for life”- that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. In the past two decades, the developing world has made great advances in education, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Despite these successes in expanding access to education, critical challenges remain: removing persistent educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile and conflict-affected states, and improving the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning.  In recent years, the WBG, and the broader education development community, have shifted their focus to include learning outcomes. Traditional input-driven programs have shown that they do not always lead to improved learning outcomes, so that the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive ‘systems approach’ to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs.  It also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are.  These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all.  Through high-quality analytical work, collection of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their progress in the education sector.

The Education Global Practice is led by a Global Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice, together with Regional Directors who oversee the human development program in the regions working with ten Practice Managers.

Education and the Africa Region

The WBG serves 48 client countries in the Africa Region (AFR). Clients range from low-income countries, 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 AFR countries, with most of the Region’s population living in poverty. The Bank’s strategy in AFR is focused on two pillars – competitiveness and employment, and vulnerability and resilience –and prioritizes cross-cutting approaches founded in governance and public sector capacity.

In AFR, many countries have achieved considerable progress in access to basic education. But challenges persist, namely: improving the quality and relevance of education at all levels; expanding access to early childhood development (ECD) and post-basic education; developing emphasis on science, technology and innovation; and improving skills development. Efforts are needed in each of these areas to produce a quality workforce to sustain, innovate, and expand on the current economic growth in the region.

The Education GP team in the region works with client countries – at the regional, sub-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 science and technology more effectively, and aligning skills formation with the needs of a fast growing Region, including LICs. The GP aims to not only deliver high quality products but also to build capacity in client countries through collaborative interactions with country counterparts and other development partners. 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 Education GP is comprised of four Practice Management Units in AFR.

Many of our operations and analytical products are based on approaches that: (i) assist countries in developing and implementing strategies for ensuring quality teaching and learning at all levels of education (ECD, basic education, secondary education and tertiary education), and in addressing the issues that face these countries’ disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; (ii) ensure that education systems respond to the needs of labor markets; (iii) continue to stress the focus on results; (iv) build capacity for monitoring and evaluation of reforms, and foster knowledge sharing; (v) promote innovative strategies, cross-sectoral linkages, and partnerships with the private sector and other development partners whenever relevant; (vi) develop and scale up successful strategies for regional collaboration to leverage economies of scale; and (vii) aim to strengthen governance, accountability, and transparency in the education sector.

The Education Sector Unit for Eastern and Southern Africa (HAEE1) is responsible for policy, analytical and operational work in the education sector in the sub-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, Trust Funds and Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) and using investment and results-based financing.  The portfolio spans the full spectrum of the education sector from early childhood education to higher education and research. The unit is committed to delivering high quality technical products to support education development in the Bank’s client countries, and to do so in a manner that builds capacity through collaborative interactions with country counterparts.

The Unit’s core goals are to  (i) expand coverage of early childhood development in a cost-effective manner (ii) ensure universal completion of quality primary/basic education (iii)  improve learning outcomes, particularly in reading, mathematics and science and (iv) expand access to and quality of secondary, technical, vocational, and higher education, with a focus on applied sciences, engineering and technology and strengthening the links between post-basic education systems and labor markets. The unit is also developing innovative approaches to education, including the use of digital technologies to expand access and improve quality and results-based modalities for Bank projects. It tries to achieve these goals through education sector interventions (financial and analytical) and through interventions in other sectors that influence education outcomes, as well as through partnership activities with a variety of partners.

ZAMBIA Country Context 

Zambia’s population is young and fast growing with an estimated population of 19 million expected to double every 25 years. Zambia’s poverty rate remains high, increasing to 62 percent recent years. Zambia’s human capital is lower than those of its comparator countries. It is estimated that a Zambian child born in 2018 will only be 40 percent as productive as he/she could have been had he/she received a complete education and been in full health. With rising poverty, the need to protect investments in the social sectors, including in social protection to protect the most vulnerable, and on improved investments in education and health to increase the productive capacity and earning potential of individuals is necessary.

Education plays a central role in the efforts by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) to transform its economy, reduce poverty and create jobs with education reform effort prioritized by the current government. The Government is placing great emphasis on improving quality of education, and in developing technical-scientific capability seeking to learn from international good practices to adapt global practices to the Zambian context.

Although Zambia has made great strides in education, the sector is still facing challenges in terms of access, quality, and equity. Starting as one of the countries with lowest levels of education coverage in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia achieved nearly universal primary education in 2015 with continued expansion of primary and secondary education which grew from 1.6 million students in 2000 to 4.3 million students in 2020. Despite this, access to early childhood education (ECE) and in post-primary education still remains a challenge. In addition, Zambia is experiencing a very high level of ‘learning poverty’ with low levels of learning documented through several national and international assessment. Student learning outcomes in both primary and secondary education remain very low, which requires significant efforts and interventions for improvement.

The World Bank works with the GRZ to support education reforms in the sector aligned to national priorities in a multi-dimensional manner. The education GP manages education projects, financed by IDA and by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). Support from the Bank is focused on improving learning outcomes with a focus on the quality of education, access, equity, and efficiency of the system as the country continues to expand access. Support spans from ECE through higher education and includes both lending and non-lending activities, including analytical and advisory work focused on skills development. As the grant agent for a GPE financed operation, the World Bank also plays a critical role in the area of collaboration and coordination with cooperating partners active in Zambia particularly now, as the country is eligible for the next round of GPE financing.

The Education Global Practice HAEE1 Unit is seeking a highly motivated Education Specialist/Economist with strong conceptual and analytical skills, solid knowledge and understanding of education development issues, an understanding of education challenges in Zambia, excellent communications skills both verbal and in writing. Knowledge and experience with World Bank operations are highly desirable.

The selected candidate will report to the Education Practice Manager for the HAEE1 unit. While based in Lusaka, Zambia, the selected candidate is expected to work with multi-sectoral country office colleagues and the Country Management Unit (CMU) under the day-to-day guidance and supervision of a Senior Education Specialist based in Lusaka.

Specific responsibilities include:

• Operations: Support the design and supervision of operations as a critical team member, and take the lead on certain aspects of education sector or multi-sectoral operations, including the full range of Bank instruments. Provide day-to-day implementation support for the on-going portfolio including timely follow up and coordination. Provide timely advice and support to clients in implementing projects.
• Policy Dialogue and Building Client Capacity: Engage and be part of 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.
• Technical Advice on key issues in the sector and strategic directions for the country’s education development: Bring relevant international experience and research to assist in developing local solutions,
on issues such as strategies to improve teacher quality, basic education, secondary education/TVET, quality improvement and financing of higher education, early childhood education and use of ICT in education and public private partnerships.
• Analytical work and Non-Lending Services: Support 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. Contribute to producing “just in time” notes of high quality as well as 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.
• Leadership:  Work closely with the Practice Manager and education task team leaders responsible for education in Zambia  and the CMU and other GPs to identify new business, including innovative financial products, technical advisory services and other services, as required.
• Partnership:  Work constructively with partners, including bilateral and multi-lateral donors, UN agencies, NGOs and partners from the South, and private sector partners. Contribute to alignment and coordination around country led priorities including in relation to requirements around GPE financed operations.



Duties and Accountabilities:

• Contribution to education sector analytical work: Participate in analytical work and provide high quality customized analytical and advisory services linked to country circumstances (including relevant lessons from international experience) on wide range of issues and policies related to education. Skillfully manipulate large datasets, such as school census and national learning assessment data, summarizing findings clearly and drawing out policy recommendations. Contribute to activities such as impact evaluations, economic analysis of education operations, public expenditure reviews, and other education analytical work.

• Support of operations: In consultation with the TTLs, handle operational matters on a day-to-day basis. In this context, she/he would participate in the full cycle of project preparation, implementation support, and evaluation. She/he will support mission preparation and contribute to mission objectives, including inputs to mission aides-memoire and implementation status reports (ISRs). She/he will support monitoring and evaluation of project development objectives and implementation progress, intermediate outcomes, and results-based financing/disbursement linked indicators.  The main objective is to help ensure the effectiveness and timely implementation of projects, including close follow-up on project implementation progress and alleviation of bottlenecks.

• Support to human development (HD) and other country analytical work: Provide education sector input to regular Bank products and outputs, e.g. HD-wide analytical tasks, CMU tasks. Collaborate with other HD operations. Liaise with HD staff on integrated HD inputs and activities.

• Support to ad hoc requests and briefings:  Respond to ad-hoc information requests on education from internal and external parties. Draft briefings for management on education sector in general and specific topics as required.


Selection Criteria


• A minimum of a Master’s Degree (preferably PhD) in economics, education (economics of education, education policy, etc.), public policy, or a related field;
• A minimum of 5 years of experience in the education sector;
• Strong analytical and technical skills, 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 and proven ability to work with government agencies, and with partner organizations;
• Excellent interpersonal skills, with a proven ability to work in a team and intercultural environment with minimal supervision;
• High levels of energy, initiative 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 priorities for self and others;
• Relevant experience with policies and interventions in the education sector, familiarity with World Bank’s operations and business processes will be a plus;
• Excellent communication (oral and written) skills to convey complex technical ideas to a non-specialist audience, and lead substantive policy dialogue with clients and stakeholders;
• Fluency in written and spoken English;
• Willingness to travel, as required by the different tasks.

Key Competencies:

• Integrative Skills: Demonstrates strong integrative thinking and ability to support project teams in developing an integrated point of view around development challenges;
• 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 process and the role of own sector of expertise in that process; finds relevant information/data and examines similar policy questions in multiple regions;
• 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: 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; and
• Education Sector Knowledge and Experience: Possesses strong analytical and technical skills, including an understanding of the core education data sets, indicators, tools for analysis of these data, and the use of evidence for education policy.


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.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.

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Method of Application

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Closing Date : 28th February, 2023.


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