Terms of Reference
Mapping and Best Practices Exercise
Teacher Education for Children with Disabilities
- 1. Background:
Children with disabilities are among the most stigmatized and excluded, often facing marginalization within their own family, community, school and in the wider society. In a self-perpetuating circle, social exclusion and isolation of children with disabilities leads to poor health and education outcomes (literacy can be as low as 1% for women with disabilities ), affecting chances for participation and putting them at higher risk for violence, abuse and exploitation. UNESCO estimates that 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school and that 99% of girls with disabilities are illiterate. Quality inclusive education for most students with disabilities remains elusive though there are sufficient islands of good practice around the world, at different scales, to show it is achievable. However, education is a fundamental human right and is widely recognized as a means to develop human capital, to improve economic performance, and to enhance people’s capabilities and choices. Furthermore, diversity in the classroom benefits all children by improving learning and understanding, as well as by addressing stereotypes .
Over 108 countries around the world have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a binding legal instrument with a specific provision on the right to education and freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse for persons with disabilities. Article 24 of the CRPD creates a clear obligation for governments to provide education to children, youth and adults with disabilities on an equal basis with other children, and to provide that education within an inclusive system. Article 24 requires all educators to make reasonable accommodations, provide the right support and individual programmes of study so all children with disabilities can be educated to achieve their academic, creative and social potential. In addition, Article 8 requires all schools to ‘foster at all levels of the education system, including in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect for the rights of persons with disabilities’.
The UNICEF is currently working towards sharpening the focus on the “equity” in education through multiple strategies and initiatives, existing and new. At the global level, they include the development of the bottle-neck analysis), the Out-of-School Children Initiative , Child-friendly Schooling including children with disabilities, new research on social norms and teacher’s for the marginalized, among others. Similarly, education programmes in UNICEF country offices and regional offices are working to address specific issues as they get played out within the regional, national and sub-national contexts to further promote the equity.
Equity-based approaches to education involve removing barriers and bottlenecks to education, within and outside education systems, to provide equitable educational and learning opportunities for all. This requires particular attention to excluded and marginalized children. In policy and programming, equity-based approaches to education require a more nuanced analytical foundation, based on robust data and evidence, that takes account of the multiple and interconnected factors that contribute to disparities in access and learning. Such an analytical foundation provides the basis for appropriate evidence-based measures to reduce disparities.
With support from the Australian Government, UNICEF Education is thus undertaking the Rights, Education, and Protection (REAP) project aimed at enhancing education and child protection systems to be sensitive, responsive and inclusive of children with disabilities. REAP is enabling UNICEF to strengthen its approach, as well as provide guidance to countries and implement new programmatic responses on including children with disabilities in quality education settings. The project is strategically targeting a gap in teacher education for children with disabilities as a priority for action. Including children in education will require instituting relevant teacher education and therefore through the REAP project, UNICEF has agreed to develop globally relevant guidance on teacher’s education for disabled children. This guidance is intended to cover initial teacher training, in-service training for current teachers and advanced and leadership training for principals and school leaders, as well as teacher trainers themselves. The guidance will be grounded on evidence-based theories and existing knowledge on teacher education for children with disabilities.
The work must also be grounded on the understanding that the paradigm shift underlying the UNCRPD from a traditional /medical model approach to a social/human rights model is clearly understood and reflected in education. Much of the practice towards children with disabilities is characterised as special educational needs related to the old paradigm. This new paradigm is characterised by UNESCO as the process of changing the structures, organisation, learning, curriculum and assessment of the school to fit the diversity of pupils, rather than changing the pupil to fit the school. The role of Disabled People’s Organisations is a crucial component of any effective implementation strategy of Article 24 emphasizing the UNCRPD’s development motto ‘Nothing about Us without Us’. In many parts of the world parents of children with disabilities have been the only ones to believe that their children can be educated, and have been a major catalyst for the development teacher preparation for Inclusive Education. The perspectives of these two groups need to be a central part of the perspective of this project. This work must also streamline to take into consideration emergency settings.
- 2. Purpose:
To identify a consultant to undertake a mapping, scoping and then synthesize global and regionally relevant strategies on teacher education for children with disabilities, based on analysis of the current situation, internal and external to UNICEF. Specifically, the mapping should provide a view of existing strategies, resources, tools and evidence to help UNICEF address gaps in policy level teacher education guidance for children with disabilities to stakeholders across the national, sub-national and school level context and to enable inclusive teaching and learning.
The work must be grounded on the understanding that the paradigm shift underlying the UNCRPD from a traditional /medical model approach to a social/human rights model is clearly understood and reflected in education. Much of the practice towards children with disabilities is characterised as special educational needs related to the old paradigm. This new paradigm is characterised by UNESCO as the process of changing the structures, organisation, learning, curriculum and assessment of the school to fit the diversity of pupils, rather than changing the pupil to fit the school. The role of Disabled People’s Organisations is a crucial component of any effective implementation strategy of Article 24 emphasizing the UNCRPD’s development motto ‘Nothing about Us without Us’. In many parts of the world parents of children with disabilities have been the only ones to believe that their children can be educated, and have been a major catalyst for the development teacher preparation for Inclusive Education. The perspectives of these two groups need to be a central part of the perspective of this project.
- 3. Expected results:
The consultancy will first map existing UNICEF and partner programmes, in particular, 1) Regular teacher education and the components that address children with disabilities and, 2) Special teacher education programmes that target teachers of children with disabilities who are not mainstreamed.
Literature review, scoping and programming needs assessment
UNICEF is in a very unique position with regards to field experience and the ability to disseminate knowledge widely, and will greatly benefit from a global “Review of the Literature” sub-divided into Regions. Drawing upon a wealth of global, regional and country information on best-practices and field application on Teacher Education for Inclusive of Children with Disabilities Education, develop a compilation of literature with recommendations on the subject of teacher education for children with disabilities. Consultant will identify general global strategies as well as strategies specific to each region and make recommendations. CEE CIS is leading in this regard, and other UNICEF offices have already done extensive reviews as a starting point. For this the below actions are needed:
To undertake scoping (internal and external) of capacities, institutions, agencies and resources on teacher education for children with disabilities.
- a. Identify and review key documents on the subject (including information/documents from different regions and covering strategies across the life-cycle: pre, primary and secondary),
- b. Review UNICEF’s institutional priorities and strategies for education, child protection and ECD (Early Childhood Development, and specific country/regional experiences related to education and children with disabilities, to better understand the context and institutional focus in which UNICEF is working to promote/ implement inclusive teacher education.
- c. Compile information on the various strategies and activities of agencies and/or institutions that are working on teacher preparation for children with disabilities.
- d. Analysis of potential partners, listing their strengths and weaknesses.
- e. Survey of external and internal stakeholders’ capacities and resources including HQ, regional and country offices’ (specific CO’s, to be determined), UNICEF capacities, tools and resources in relation to work on teacher education. Conduct conference calls and interview the relevant Governments entities, Partners and NGOs appropriate.
- f. Consult (where possible electronically and by telephone) with key members of the former Inclusive Education flagship/network (formerly housed by UNESCO) to understand the expectations and concerns relating to the education capacity assessment and policy/strategy development.
- g. Develop a series of PPP presentations to UNICEF based on findings and analysis of scoping exercise to be used in future programme planning meetings concerning the subject.
- h. Analyze findings and results accounting for the capacity of the institutions and agencies to identify and map potential partners for UNICEF to develop future programmes.
- i. Create a list of vetted names/profiles of individual and institutions for an electronic networking list with external and internal partners.
- j. Present the methods and findings of the scoping exercise to Global, Regional and Country UNICEF colleagues in a webinar/other electronic/communications means and based on exercise provide recommendations for a multi-year (according to the REAP project timeline) Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) on Training of Trainers for Regions.
- 4. Start date: April 23, 2012 End date: December 15, 2012
Duty station: New York and Home Base
Total days: 150 days anticipated
- 5. Cost and Timeframe:
- 6. Key competences, technical background, and experience required:
In addition to a strong background on teacher education for Inclusive Education, the Consultant should be familiar with other cross-cutting issues related to disability, gender, human rights, civil society partnerships and participation, internet and communication technologies ICTs, and an understanding of education in emergencies.
To gain an in-depth understanding of how UNICEF and partners works on country and regional levels, what are the main entry points for these efforts (CFS and other similar models), how to link-up with and/or build on other UNICEF MTSP areas (ECD, child protection, health, etc.).
- Advanced degree in teacher education for children with disabilities, inclusive education, and curricular planning
- Expertise in global educational program design and management with an emphasis on research and evaluation
- Prior experience working directly with various countries on issues related to teacher preparation for inclusive education (experience working with priority countries in multiple regions is an important asset)
- Familiarity with the rights-based approach and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Understanding of UNICEF’s Education programme and priorities; country experience an asset
Qualified candidates are requested to submit a cover letter, CV and P-11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.html) to
with subject line “Teacher Education for Children with Disabilities” by April 13, 2012. Please indicate your daily/monthly rate and availability to undertake the terms of reference above. Please note that the selected consultant will not receive additional funds to cover living expenses while in New York. Applications submitted without a daily rate will not be considered.
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 The consultant should have an understanding of UNICEF’s priorities and focus at country levels to be able to complete his/her assignment and prepare appropriate recommendations.