The Global Partnership for Education is the world’s premier partnership and fund focused entirely on basic education in developing countries. Partners include over 65 developing country nations, over 20 donor governments, as well as multilateral development agencies, private sector and civil society and teachers’ organizations. The Board of Directors is GPE’s governing body, which sets policy and strategy and determines funding.
The Global Partnership for Education coordinates and leads a global effort to deliver quality education to all children, prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable. GPE supports developing country partners to strengthen education systems through quality sector plans that drive equity and learning outcomes. It then mobilizes funding to help implement the plan. It has allocated over US$5 billion in grants to date.
With over 100 staff, the GPE Secretariat is hosted by the World Bank with the majority of staff based in Washington, D.C. and a small but growing team in Europe. The Country Support Team (CST) is the Secretariat’s primary interface with developing country partners. The team is divided into three regional teams, each led by an Education Program Manager. The regional teams are comprised of Senior Country Education Specialists (‘Country Leads’) who each lead on the relationship with and support to a portfolio of countries. They are supported by a group of education and monitoring specialists. The Secretariat currently has a vacant Senior Country Education Specialist post. The primary role is to support partners in the achievement of GPE’s three country level strategic objectives in assigned countries. These are (1) to strengthen education sector planning and policy implementation; (2) to support mutual accountability through effective and inclusive sector policy dialogue and monitoring; and (3) to ensure that GPE financing efficiently and effectively supports the implementation of sector plans focused on improved equity, efficiency and learning.
Duties and Accountabilities
The successful candidate will report to an Education Program Manager under the CST Manager. As “Country Lead,” the Senior Education Specialist will be the lead interlocutor of the Secretariat with government, coordinating agencies, grant agents and development partners in 4-6 assigned member countries. As such, she/he will promote the Partnership’s goals and objectives, collaborating closely with partners in developing countries to facilitate access to and monitor the use of GPE resources, including support to the development, implementation and monitoring of education sector plans. Country Leads work closely with colleagues in the CST and with the Education Policy & Performance (EPP) Team to ensure relevant, quality support to countries; contribute to learning and knowledge around GPE’s strategic goals, objectives and operational model; and identify and manage risks related to the implementation of the GPE Strategic Plan and financial support. Key responsibilities include the following:
- Serve as relationship manager to lead GPE Secretariat’s engagement in an assigned group of countries;
- Build and sustain strong, positive working relationships with stakeholders in assigned countries, including the Developing Country Partner government, coordinating agency, grant agent and other development partners including civil society representatives;
- Ensure consistency in Secretariat messaging and requests to assigned countries and ensure these are adapted to country context and dynamics;
- Ensure effective support – adapted to specific countries’ political economy, needs and capacity – is provided to the government and local education group in each country for which lead responsibility is assigned.
Support to Sector Analysis, Design and Implementation of Sector Plans
- Develop knowledge of the education sector in assigned countries to identify bottlenecks and solutions for reaching GPE strategic goals and objectives, and engage in dialogue with country level partners on these;
- Support governments and their development partners in sector analysis, the development of education sector plans or transitional education plans, strengthening of education monitoring and information systems, joint sector reviews and other sector exercises and analyses;
- Work closely with local education groups (LEGs), comprising the government as well as national and international stakeholders in education, to achieve improved cooperation and harmonization at country level in line with the international aid efficiency agenda;
- Promote and support government counterparts and local education groups to integrate domestic financing discussions in sector monitoring processes, using data and inputs as well as GPE guidance for effective and efficient use of financial resources;
- In close collaboration with Results and Performance sub-team and CST monitoring staff, facilitate compilation of sector data for GPE’s results framework from assigned countries;
- Engage with colleagues and partners to use GPE’s Results Framework analytics to identify and implement priority actions and strategies to achieve progress on GPE’s country level priorities.
Support to GPE Program Development, Monitoring and Implementation Processes
- Inform partners about and provide guidance on GPE’s grants/funding mechanisms, in particular the GPE funding model, its requirements and quality standards and grant application processes;
- Closely work with the EPP team’s quality assurance unit to provide upstream quality support to grant applications;
- In close collaboration with risk, finance and monitoring colleagues, assess risks through the GPE Operational Risk Framework, develop risk management plans and liaise with grant agents on implementation monitoring; facilitate compilation of reports and data for annual portfolio reviews and results reports, and engage with external evaluations of the use of GPE funds.
In addition to the responsibilities above, the Senior Country Education Specialists participate in other areas of GPE Secretariat work, including:
- In close collaboration with the EPP team, contribute to thematic work and to identify and promote good practices and innovations in education policy design, planning, and progress;
- Engage in committees and workgroups to strengthen GPE’s operational work, including through procedural consistency and rigor and the development and enhancement of standard operating procedures, guidelines and tools;
- Closely work with the Secretariat’s Front Office to promote partnership goals, including identifying opportunities and ensuring quality of briefing materials for meetings between Board Chair/CEO and high-level developing country partner representatives;
- Closely work with the External Relations Team to ensure communication on progress towards Partnership goals, including contribution to webpages, blogs and other communication materials;
- Participate in other Secretariat-wide activities.
- Master’s degree in education, economics, international development or a relevant related field with at least eight years relevant experience (or equivalent combination of education and experience);
- At least eight years of relevant experience, including at least 3 years working in a developing country; experience in fragile contexts of particular value;
- Expertise in two or more of the following areas: Financing and management of education systems, education planning, education in fragile contexts, girls’ education, learning, inclusive education, teacher development, or other areas relevant to the work of the Global Partnership;
- Experience with cross-cultural dynamics, political sensitivity, strong negotiation skills;
- Willingness to work in a complex environment and travel frequently to support country level processes;
- Strong analytical, writing and facilitation skills;
- Ability to work independently and under pressure and to work effectively in teams;
- Ability to communicate and write competently in English;
- Working proficiency in French, Spanish, or Arabic is desirable;
- Enthusiasm and commitment to the mission of the Global Partnership for Education.
- Country Strategy - Recognized proficiency in playing a central role in and making substantive contributions to the strategy formulation process and related products.
- Country Operations Knowledge and Application - Ability to provide high quality advice to teams on the appropriate use of policies, procedures and instruments.
- Stakeholder Engagement - Ability to advance and make substantive contributions to the country dialogue.
- Project Design for Impact and Sustainability - IL - Contributes to the design of projects and programs, based on an understanding of the country and sector context.
- Sector Dialogue - IL - Able to conduct a dialogue with partners on familiar topics, with a narrow scope, based on a solid understanding of the sector.
- Operational Policies Application to the Project Cycle (fiduciary, disbursement, safeguard and Governance and Anti-Corruption policies) - IL - Possesses a strong understanding of procurement and disbursement policies; knows what issues might arise and who to involve in problem resolution.
- Knowledge of Fragile and Conflict-affected Contexts - Applies to operations and analytical tasks a substantive understanding of fragility, conflict and violence, including polarization of state-society relations, diminished client capacity, relevance of partnerships, etc.
- Lead and Innovate- Develops innovative solutions with others.
- Deliver Results for Clients- Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.
- Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries- Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across the organization and brings differing ideas into the forefront.
- Create, Apply and Share Knowledge- Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside the organization to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.
- Make Smart Decisions- Recommends and takes decisive action.
Poverty has no borders. Neither does excellence. This is why we continually search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe. 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.