UNESCO IITE is seeking an individual home-based consultant in the Republic of Mauritius to conduct the rapid assessment and case study of the development and implementation of inclusive open and distance learning solutions for students with disabilities
The UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) jointly with UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) is carrying out a research project on ‘COVID-19 and inclusive open and distance learning solutions: a rapid assessment of the development and implementation of inclusive open and distance learning solutions for students with disabilities served by inclusive, special schools and resource centers’. The research is conducted to contribute to the achievement of the Global Programme Supporting Disability Inclusive COVID-19 Response and Recovery at National Level funded by the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD). This global programme leverages the experience of nine UN agencies, organizations of persons with disabilities and broader civil society to support countries and other global initiatives to incorporate a strong disability inclusive perspective to COVID-19 response and recovery.
COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities in access to educational opportunities of marginalized populations, especially students with disabilities. While UNESCO member states have addressed these inequities through a range of open and distance learning (ODL) solutions, emerging evidence indicates that these solutions have rarely been inclusive of students with disabilities.
At the school level, teachers have a crucial role in ensuring learning solutions are inclusive of students with disabilities. During the pandemic, this role has become even more essential in light of the pandemic’s negative effects on student’s learning.
The UNESCO IIEP-IITE multi-country research project is aimed to increase understanding of the range and reach of current ODL solutions and the barriers to their development and implementation, which is important for informing upcoming national education recovery initiatives; and to capture school teacher experiences, opinions, attitudes and knowledge related to the development and use of ODL solutions within the respective work environments.
According to UNESCO, ODL is a broad term that embraces online learning, e-learning, distance education, correspondence education, external studies, flexible learning, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) movement.
For the purposes of this study, ODL will be defined as learning that incorporates the following main features:
- Teacher-learner separation by space and time (or both);
- Two-way communication and group communication (network);
- The use of media and technology;
- More personalized educational experience.
ODL includes remote learning, as it refers to learning that incorporates the principle of the separation of the learner and teacher in space and/or time, with these main features:
- Teacher-learner separation by space and time (or both);
- Two-way communication and group communication (network).
Scope of work
With due and acute regard to equity and inclusion in teaching and learning, and bearing in mind the predicaments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consultant shall carry out in Mauritius the rapid assessment of the development and implementation of inclusive open and distance learning solutions applied by inclusive, special schools and resource centers (where applicable) as a solution to addressing the negative effects of COVID-19 on learning for students with disabilities, as well as conduct case study on open and distance learning opportunities for students with disabilities.
For the success of the rapid assessment activities, the Consultant shall conduct 25 phone or and online interviews, each with teachers in inclusive, special schools and resource centres (if applicable), that provide services for students with special learning needs. Interviewees shall be carefully selected based on their contributions to the theme of this research project: inclusive open and distance learning. This will require in-depth local knowledge of districts with inclusive and special schools that have applied inclusive ODL as a solution to addressing the negative effects of COVID-19 on student learning. Interview questions should be agreed with the research project lead consultant in advance. The interviews should be recorded and transcribed.
In particular, the Consultant shall:
- Select and gather background and contact information on informants. Prepare and submit the list of informant contacts, including positions, places of work and rationale for informant selection, to UNESCO IITE by December 15, 2020.
- Adjust the interview protocol provided by the research project lead consultant, to reflect the local context and translate it from English into French or other local languages as needed. Deliver to UNESCO IITE the adjusted (and translated into local languages (if applicable)) interview protocol by December 16, 2020.
- Develop the interview schedule, based on pre-interview conversation with each informant. Submit the interview schedule to UNESCO IITE by December 16, 2020.
- Upon the receipt of UNESCO IITE’s approval of the interview schedule, conduct and transcribe phone/online interviews.
- Analyze questionnaires and prepare draft report based on research questions. The report shall shall be no less than 35 pages (font – Calibri; font size – 12; line space – 1.5) and contain findings, illustrated with diagrams and photos, conclusions and recommendations on improving the actual status of ODL for students with disabilities in order to support the upcoming national education recovery initiatives. The report shall include the following materials:
- Adjusted interview protocol to reflect local context;
- Interview protocol translated into local language(s) (if applicable)
- List of informant contacts including positions, places of work and rationale for informant selection;
- Phone interview schedule;
- Transcribed interviews;
- Analysis of interview responses in line with research questions.
The draft report shall be provided to UNESCO IITE for consideration and review by January 11, 2020. The Consultant shall make changes in the report based on the feedback provided and submit to UNESCO IITE the final report by January 15, 2020.
- Arrange focus group discussions and interviews with different stakeholders (minimum 10) for identifying advanced experience in the country on open and distance/remote learning for students with disabilities during the Covid-19. Submit the results of the discussions and interviews to the UNESCO IITE by December 23, 2020.
- Develop a case study on open and distance/remote learning opportunities for students with disabilities, prepare the draft case study materials (at least 15 pages, font – Calibri; font size – 12; line space – 1.5) and deliver them to UNESCO IITE by January 20, 2021. The case study materials shall include identified emerging practices in inclusive ODL at special schools for learners with disabilities, challenges and opportunities for implementing ODL by special schools and resource centres during the COVID-19 pandemic, potential of ODL solutions to reach students with disabilities and to mitigate COVID-19 negative impacts on the student learning. The case study should include a package of photo and video materials (to be agreed by a Consultant for educational use by UNESCO). The photo and video materials should illustrate the identified opportunities and emerging practices in inclusive/special education ODL during the Covid-19. Based on the feedback received, make changes in the report (if required) and submit the final case study materials to UNESCO IITE by January 26, 2020.
- Participate in an interviewer training session and team meetings which will be arranged by the research project lead consultant jointly with UNESCO IITE and take place during the period from December 2020 to January 2021.
- At the final project meeting, the Consultant shall deliver to the participants two PPT presentations – one on findings of the conducted rapid assessment (duration 10 minutes) and another on the results of a case study on the development and implementation of inclusive ODL solutions, applied by inclusive and special schools for students with disabilities (duration 10 minutes), and actively engage in the follow-up discussions. The PPT slides should be submitted to UNESCO IITE in advance.
Submission requirement for deliverables:
The language of the deliverables is English.
The rapid assessment and case study materials must be prepared in English and compiled in full compliance with the UNESCO Style Manual for the presentation of English-language texts: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141812e.pdf, and in a tone that is reader-friendly for its intended audience, i.e. educators and policy-makers.
The format of images: JPEG, PNG, SVG. Image resolution should be not less than 4000×3000 pixels.
The format of videos: MPEG-4/H.264. Video recording should be carried out with a maximum level of quality, in full HD 1080p (minimum) or UHD 4K (desired).
Supervision and reporting:
The work under this consultancy will be supervised by UNESCO IIEP and UNESCO IITE.
Requirements to the candidate:
The candidate should hold at least a Master’s degree in education or social sciences. She/he should have proven experience in the education of persons with special needs and/or inclusive education, the necessary ICT competencies, and be fluent in the English language.
Interested candidates must submit their proposals in English to UNESCO IITE by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, by 9 December 2020.
A proposal should include:
- Сandidate’s latest Curriculum Vitae;
- Description of contemplated activities;
- Proposed budget in USD.
Please note that upon selection only successful candidates will be contacted.