Share this Job

Senior Project Officer (Spotlight)


Post Number : ED/PA 191

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Multiple (Dakar, Nairobi, New York, Paris or Washington D.C.)

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Project Appointment

Duration of contract : 1 year

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 06-DEC-2021 (Extended)


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism




Duration of Contract: One (1) year with the possibility of extension subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds.




The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative, and evidence-based annual report that monitors progress towards the global education goal and targets adopted by the UN in September 2015. The Report is developed by an independent team and published annually by UNESCO; it is widely recognized as an indispensable reference tool for global education policy leaders.


In collaboration with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the GEM Report is launching the development of a Spotlight report series – a country-focused peer learning and accountability tool on education. Building upon and strengthening existing education sector processes at country level, the Spotlight report aims to place easily understood, evidence-based and compelling diagnostics in the hands of education leaders and advocates. The series will put the spotlight on education progress, in terms of access, equity, quality, learning and finance in primary and lower secondary education in up to 40 countries in Africa as measured by two global indicators: the completion rate and the percentage of children achieving minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics. Unlike other GEM Report products, the Spotlight report series will be produced annually, focusing on a dozen countries per year, of which four each year would be analyzed in greater depth.



Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Education, and the direct supervision of the Director of the GEM Report, the Senior Project Officer will take responsibility for supporting the strategic development of the GEM Report Spotlight series – a new GEM Report project focused on completing and learning in primary and lower secondary education in Africa. The incumbent will be responsible for the following major activities:

Long Description

1) Lead the project implementation and monitoring


  • Organize and facilitate Spotlight governance meetings and updates, ensuring recommendations are incorporated into the project workplan. 
  • Identify risks that threaten the delivery of results and mitigating actions to manage these.
  • In collaboration with ED/HR, manage the recruitment and selection process of project staff.
  • Manage and guide the project staff. 
  • Communicate regularly with the GEM Report team on project progress.
  • Represent the project and communicate its vision and objectives.
  • Prepare the necessary project reporting documentation.


2) Manage effective partnerships with national, regional and global organizations and mechanisms


In collaboration with the GEM Report Director:

  • Establish communication channels and collaboration arrangements with national partners, especially in the focus countries, notably with the government and parliamentarians but also with the research community, civil society and local development partners, where possible through the Local Education Group, to ensure the relevance of project activities, feed relevant information into the project workplan and report content, and promote the policy areas championed by the Spotlight series into the national policy dialogue and decision making processes.
  • Establish communication channels and collaboration arrangements with key continental and regional organizations to promote the policy areas championed by the Spotlight series into continental and regional policy dialogue processes. 
  • Establish and maintain programmatic and operational communication channels with the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education and the United States Agency for International Development and other international development partners to ensure the relevance of project activities and feed relevant information on their country-level activities into the project workplan and report content.


In collaboration with the Senior Communication and Advocacy Specialist: 

  • Develop a tailored national, regional and global engagement and advocacy approach. 


In collaboration with the Team Lead (Partnerships and Operations): 

  • Contribute to GEM Report’s resource mobilisation and operations strategies.

Long Description

3) Develop the content of the Spotlight report 


  • Finalize the identification of countries to be covered in each edition of the Spotlight series based on opportunities for change, political context, presence of effective policy leaders and advocates, country-level partnership opportunities and entry-points/opportunities to facilitate country agency and regional representation.
  • Finalize the analytical research framework, report structure and writing style for the Spotlight series. 
  • In collaboration with the Senior Policy Analyst (Monitoring) and key education data partners (e.g. UIS, World Bank, PAL Network, IIEP etc.), ensure the latest data available informs the analysis presented in the Spotlight series. 
  • In collaboration with the GEM Report Director, lead on the development of the outline and draft of the Spotlight continental and country reports.
  • Identify experts to be contracted for country-level analysis in countries of focus and manage the timely delivery of good quality outputs.
  • Manage the process of sharing the country reports with governments. 
  • Facilitate the establishment of the Technical Review Group, ensuring excellent technical expertise of education issues in Africa, geographical knowledge and gender balance.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)
Building partnerships (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Managing performance (M)
Strategic thinking (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in education, development studies, economics, sociology, social policy, or other related social science discipline. 


Work Experience

  • Minimum 10 years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience engaging in national and international education planning processes (e.g. education sector analysis, education sector planning, GPE or other major donor country programme) and/or education programming.
  • Experience working in Africa and collaborating with a diverse set of national authorities, partners and donors using data and evidence to inform education system priorities. 


Skills and competencies 

  • Excellent understanding of the state of basic education in Africa, with proven knowledge of at least two of the following three areas: 1. financing, including knowledge of the public and international financial management and policy cycles; 2. quality, including teachers; and 3. data analysis and visualization skills. 
  • Strong analytical research thinking, with understanding of existing education frameworks. 
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex data and research findings to specialized and non-specialized audiences, including an ability to place recommendations in context.
  • Strong networking skills and demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment.
  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated ability to participate and lead teams through complex, ambiguous and novel tasks.
  • Demonstrated ability to be work independently and effectively, with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.
  • Commitment to maintain GEM Report’s editorial independence, while satisfying UNESCO administrative requirements.
  • Excellent analytical and drafting skills in English or French.



  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English or French.





Work Experience

  • Experience in producing high quality analytical reports on education.



  • Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).


UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.