Consultant for Education Landscape Study

Location: Remote
Deadline: April 16, 2021

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization that improves lives, expands opportunities, and helps societies flourish. We work with innovative leaders and local communities to build effective institutions, advance policy reforms, improve international cooperation, and drive sustainable and inclusive development. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, the Foundation’s work across the region focuses on five core program pillars—good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations. The Foundation’s work in these areas is informed by eight key strategies that define and distinguish our role as a trusted partner, facilitator, and innovator: nurture leadership, inform public policy, strengthen institutions, expand access to information, mainstream gender, leverage technology, forge strategic partnerships, and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Since 1954, the Foundation has implemented a wide variety of education-related programs as a part of program pillars and strategies defined above.

Terms of Reference

The Asia Foundation seeks a consultant to perform a landscape study that identifies emerging issues in education in Asia and the Pacific that draw on the Asia Foundation strengths and align with the interests of donors. The duration of the consultancy shall not exceed 90 days. The consultant will examine education through the lenses of social/human development, public policy, and related fields; collaborate with Foundation staff to gain an understanding of the Foundation’s institutional and programmatic strengths; and research public and private donor interests. The consultant will produce a report that suggests potential niche areas for the Foundation moving forward, and which recommends two to three new concepts or existing approaches that the Foundation could fund to establish proof of concept or scale. Specifically, the consultant’s report will:

  1. Briefly identify key challenges in Asia and the Pacific related to human capital development, particularly as it relates to inclusive economic growth, differentiating between different countries and levels of economic development.
  2. Map current institutional competencies based on the Foundation’s current and recent programming, and in-house expertise. These include human capital development, education policy reform, education governance, education in Islamic contexts, private sector partnerships, local language children’s book publishing and reading ecosystems, and TBD based on the mapping exercise.
  3. Draft a framework of policy and program directions supporting niche programming areas that are mission-appropriate, relevant in many of the Foundation’s country contexts, draw on the Foundation’s assets and
    competencies, and distinguish the Foundation from other organizations. Niche areas for exploration
    include, but are not limited to:

    •  Education programming related to human development, human capital, and equity, i.e., how
      current education outcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers,
      including:

      1. Inclusive education: Greater investment in inclusive materials
        and early reading programs that build skills and increase opportunities for children of all
        socioeconomic and ethnolinguistic backgrounds, abilities, and genders.
      2. Secondary and higher education and mentoring opportunities for girls and women.
    • Approaches to education policy reform issues and successful efforts employed by the Foundation, related to
      the ability of countries to advance to higher levels of development.
    • Contribution of the private sector to education in countries the Foundation operates in, specifically by
      affordable private schools and technology companies.
    • The future of work and skills development for the digital age and 4IR.
  4. Map focus areas of key international organizations engaged in education-related programming with an emphasis not only on competitors but also potential strategic partners that may complement the Foundation’s strengths and weaknesses in the niche areas discussed.
  5. Map the priorities of key funders in the human capital development and education space, with emphasis on the niche areas identified. This should include bilateral and multilateral funders as well as private foundations, and a special focus on new private aid players investing in emerging issues.
  6. Based on the mapping and analysis of strengths and opportunities identified in #1-5 above, recommend two to three new concepts or existing approaches that the Foundation could fund to establish proof of concept or scale.

III. METHODOLOGY
The research methodology will include a desk review of relevant internal and external documents, and
interviews with the Foundation staff involved in education programs in the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific and the Foundation Resource Development staff, as well as select external informants, and check ins with the Education
Working Group or its representative at key junctures prior to drafting the report and before the final
report is delivered.

Deliverables

  • Summary list of niche and target areas for consideration by the Foundation’s Education Working Group.
  • Draft written report.
  • Internal webinar presentation to Foundation’s Education Working Group to table the draft report and gather feedback.
  • Final report including executive summary, analysis of #1-5 (above), proof of concept recommendations (# 6, above), and appendices as appropriate.

Qualifications

  • At least 10 years of relevant technical experience in education programs in the area of international development with an emphasis on human capital development, education policy, and governance.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with and knowledge of international organizations engaged in education-related programming.
  • Experience with and knowledge of key funders in human capital development and education.
  • Candidates must have an advanced degree (or a bachelors degree with 6-8 years of experience) in a field relevant to the Terms of Reference.
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills including interviewing with tact.

HOW TO APPLY

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and CV by April 16, 2021 to [email protected] with the position title listed in the subject line. The Asia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, EOE/M/F/D/V. No phone calls, please.