Chief Education, Fixed Term, (P5), Kabul, Afghanistan

Job no: 561903
Contract type: Fixed-Term Appointment
Duty Station: Kabul
Level: P-5
Location: Afghanistan
Categories: Education

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, Education

Purpose for the job: Under the overall guidance of the Deputy Representative, the Chief, of Education is accountable for the development, design, planning, implementation, and management of the Education program within the country program. As Head of the Section, s/he leads a group of professional and support staff in Kabul as well as in the zonal/field offices, to develop and manage the education program in collaboration with other program sectors, and with the de facto government and key development partners. S/he is accountable for the overall quality of the program design and for ensuring that it is effectively and efficiently managed and monitored.

The Chief is responsible for managing and leading all stages of education programs/projects from strategic planning and formulation to delivery of results on strengthening national education systems to improve learning outcomes, universal access to equitable and inclusive primary/early childhood education, and renewing involvement in secondary education, especially for children who are marginalized, disadvantaged and excluded in society.

The Chief is responsible for leading, managing, and establishing the plans of action to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable program/project results, according to plans, allocation, results-based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), and UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance, and accountability framework.

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How can you make a difference?

Key function, accountabilities, and related duties/tasks

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  1. Managerial leadership
  2. Program development and planning
  3. Program management, monitoring, and quality control of results
  4. Advisory services and technical support
  5. Advocacy, networking, and partnership building
  6. Innovation, knowledge management, and capacity building

Managerial leadership

  • Establish the section’s annual work plan with the education team (in Kabul and in field/zonal offices), and set priorities and targets. Monitor work progress and ensure results are achieved according to schedule and performance standards.
  • Establish clear individual performance objectives, goals, and timelines; and provide timely guidance to enable the team to perform their duties responsibly and efficiently. Plan and ensure timely performance management and assessment of the team.

Program development and planning:

  • Lead the planning and updating of the situation analysis to ensure that current and comprehensive data is available to guide UNICEF’s strategic policy advocacy, intervention, and development efforts on education programs and to set program priorities, strategies, and implementation plans.
  • Keep abreast of national, regional, and international development priorities on education to leverage UNICEF’s position and competencies with donors, national governments, communities, and constituents to advocate and promote education initiatives and policies.
  • Lead, coordinate, and supervise the development of education programs/projects (as a full component of the CO and/or UNDAF programs as well as sector programs (or equivalent – i.e. AESTF). Establish plans of action, program goals, and results, using results-based planning methodology and terminology (RBM).
  • Oversee the timely preparation of program recommendations and related documentation for inclusion in the Country Office Programme recommendation, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s overall Strategic Plans, regional strategies, and national priorities, plans, and competencies.
  • Collaborate with colleagues and partners to develop partnership frameworks to address specific needs and leverage resources for enhancing education programs/projects. Ensure synergy, integration, coherence, and harmonization of programs and projects with UNICEF Strategic Plans and priorities, donors’ development strategies and policies, national priorities, and UN System development interventions and initiatives

Program management, monitoring and quality control of results

  • Ensure the development and maintenance of sector-relevant databases for monitoring education program implementation as well as sector progress
  • Plan and collaborate on monitoring and evaluation initiatives to establish benchmarks, performance indicators, and other UNICEF/UN system indicators, to assess and strengthen performance accountability, coherence, and delivery of concrete and sustainable results in education programs.
  • Participate in major monitoring and evaluation exercises, program reviews, and annual reviews with government and other counterparts to assess progress and to engage stakeholders to take required action and interventions to achieve results.
  • Prepare and assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths, and/or weaknesses in program and management; identify lessons learned and use the knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
  • Monitor programs and projects to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
  • Plan, approve, monitor, certify, and control the use of program resources (financial, human, administrative, and other assets) certifying & verifying compliance with organizational rules, regulations and procedures, donor commitments, and standards of accountability and integrity. Ensure timely reporting and liquidation of resources.
  • Prepare and submit program and project reports to donors and other partners to keep them informed on program progress and critical issues.

Advisory services and technical support

  • Coordinate and ensure the availability of technical experts (with Regional Office/HQ) to ensure timely support throughout all stages of programming and project implementation and provide technical advice to key de facto government officials, NGO, UN system, and other country office partners on strategies and best practices to influence approaches and policies, and to support social, economic, political, and legal development planning, implementation and delivery of results on education programs and related issues.
  • Participate in strategic discussions to influence policy and agenda setting for combating all forms of discrimination against children by advising on and advocating strategies and approaches to promote universal access to equitable and inclusive education for children in the country

Advocacy, networking, and partnership building 

  • Ensure trust with the local and national de-facto governments, to be able to implement projects smoothly in the current volatile and constraint environment
  • Build and strengthen strategic partnerships with UN system agency partners, donors, internationally recognized institutions, NGOs, funding organizations, research institutes, and the private sector to reinforce cooperation and/or pursue opportunities, leverage funds, promote goals and achieve sustainable and broad results on education programs.
  • Design communication strategies, implementation plans, and activities for maximum communication impact and outreach to promote awareness, establish partnerships for sustainable results, and support fundraising for UNICEF and Country Office programs on education.

Innovation, knowledge management, and capacity building

  • Promote critical thinking, innovative approaches, and good practices for sustainable education programming initiatives through advocacy and technical advisory services.
  • Keep abreast, research, benchmark, introduce and implement best and cutting-edge practices in education and management. Institutionalize and disseminate best practices and knowledge learned.
  • Lead the development of policies and procedures, and introduce innovation and best practices to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programs and projects.

Impact of Results:

The strategic and effective advocacy, planning, and formulation of education programs/projects and the achievement of sustainable results, contribute to the achievement of goals and objectives to improve learning outcomes and universal access to quality, equitable, and inclusive education in the country. Achievements in education programs and projects in turn contribute to maintaining/enhancing the credibility and ability of UNICEF to provide program services for mothers and children that promotes greater social equality in the country.

Technical Competencies:

Technical competencies must be demonstrated in most of the following areas:

• In-depth understanding of the overall global development context, including issues such as poverty, conflict and the impact of these factors on education and vice-versa; and inter-sectoral approaches to address such issues in collaboration with other sectors (including Social Policy, Child Protection, Nutrition, WASH, Health and Communications within UNICEF).

• Extensive knowledge of global developments in education and international engagement strategies, including the application of the equity lens and child/human rights perspectives to programming.

• Strong ability to undertake policy dialogue: translation of analytical findings and evidence into development programs and policy discussions around equity and learning with partners, including government, development partners, CSOs, and academia in relevant areas.

• Strong education sector planning knowledge/ability, including the range of modalities for delivering education, linkages between different sub-sectors (e.g. ECD, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Inclusive Education), cost-effectiveness and efficiency issues, key institutional structures, components, and processes, as well as governance issues.

• Strong education and policy sector analysis capacity, including an understanding of the core education data sets and indicators; tools for analysis of equity; determinants of student access and learning; budget, costing, and financial management in education systems; political economy; and education policy and strategic planning.

• Rigorous program management capacity in education, including program design, costing, monitoring and evaluation (including areas like classroom assessment, standardized learning assessment, examinations, impact evaluation), and reporting. 

  • Strong ability to engage with partners e.g. Sector Wide Approaches, Global Partnership for Education, Education in Emergency Clusters, Education Provider Forums, Delivering as One, Inter-sectoral partnerships such as in ECD, as well as networking with other key partners
  • Strong understanding of gender and inequity issues in relation to education and development and the application of gender/equity analysis to policy and planning in education.• Good understanding of policies and strategies to address issues related to resilience for CO and RO-based posts and where relevant: risk analysis and risk management, education in conflict situations, natural disasters, and recovery.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in education, economics, psychology, sociology, or another relevant technical field
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience in program planning, management, and/or research in education at the international level is required. Experience working in a developing country is an asset.
  • Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergencies is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

Core Values

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Accountability

Core Competencies

  • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (2)
  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (3)
  • Works Collaboratively with others (3)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (3)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (3)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (3)
  • Drives to achieve impactful results (3)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (3)

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to including everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable eligible females highly are encouraged to apply.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

UNICEF only considers educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at

* The successful candidate for this emergency recruitment MUST be available to commence work within 31 days of receiving an offer.

Advertised: 10 May 2023 Afghanistan Standard Time
Deadline: 17 May 2023 Afghanistan Standard Time

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