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The World Bank Economics logo

The World Bank
Washington, DC - United States
S: Competitive

Background / General description:

Education is central to achieving the World Bank Group's twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty because it has significant impacts on incomes of individuals and it can drive economic growth and help make it more inclusive. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve "learning for all, learning for life”—that is, to ensure that all children and the working-age young and adults acquire the skills and knowledge they need for a fast-changing labor market and longer working lives. The developing world has achieved great advances in education in the past two decades, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school with more gender equality. Yet these successes in expanding access to education have highlighted the twin major remaining challenges: how to remove the educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile states, and how to improve the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. There is broad agreement in the education development community of the need to double up the focus on learning outcomes. Because traditional input-driven programs often fail to promote learning, the WBG's education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive systems approach to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach involves increasing capacity for service delivery, and accountability for learning results to ensure that inputs and resources deliver value for money. It also requires strengthening the knowledge base of what works to achieve education results, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions can be. These require investing early; investing smartly; and investing for all.

Through high-quality analytical work, collection and curation of evidence, and practical know-how technical and policy advisory support in these three areas, the WBG, with the lead of the Education Global Practice (GP), is helping its partner countries accelerate their educational progress and tackle the learning crisis. The Education Global Practice is led by a Senior Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice. The Senior Director is assisted by the Director, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Practice. A group of regional Practice Managers leads and manages the GP staff and programs. The Education Global Practice Management Team consists of the Senior Director, the Director and Practice Managers (PMs) for nine units.

GEAK supports WBG education teams across the globe to deliver better results by strengthening education systems in several key areas, namely: Early Childhood Development, supporting schools towards learning (e.g., curriculum , instruction), learner assessments of foundational cognitive and socio-emotional skills as well as technical skills, teacher policies, school governance, management and service delivery, financing and implementation capacity to achieve learning results at scale, skills assessments and workforce development, tertiary education, and adult learning. To this end, it manages three closely-linked programs: (a) The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), (b) The Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF), and (c) The Results in Education for All Children fund (REACH).

The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) is an initiative to produce comparative data and knowledge on education policies and institutions, with the aim of helping countries strengthen their education systems systematically. SABER evaluates the quality of education policies against evidence-based global standards, using new diagnostic tools and detailed policy data collected for the initiative. The SABER country reports give education stakeholders—from administrators, teachers, and parents to policymakers and business people—a diagnosis of a country's education system policies orientation toward promoting Learning for All. In SABER, the detailed data-gathering and analysis are organized by "domain", or areas of education policymaking within an education system. These include cycles of the system (such as Early Child Development (ECD) and Tertiary Education), types of quality resources and supports (such as Student Assessment and Teachers), areas of governance, finance (such as EMIS and School Finance) and service delivery, and other cross-cutting topics (Education Resilience and Equity & Inclusion).

The unit is seeking an Economist based in Washington DC to work on a variety of analytical and operational tasks. The Economist will report to the PM of the GEAK unit and work with the broader Education GP team to support knowledge generation, sharing, and learning, as well as the continued development of innovative knowledge tools, products and operational solutions in the areas referred above.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3 year term appointment.

Duties and Accountabilities:

The Economist is expected to:
• Support knowledge generation, sharing, and learning, the development of innovative knowledge tools, products and operational solutions, and work with regional teams of the Education Global Practice to facilitate that country programs and projects in education are informed by good practices and experiences globally;
• Provide technical support on designated areas of the GEAK work program, including in tools development, survey design and implementation, data analysis, report writing, presentations, pipeline development, policy dialogue, progress reporting and quality control.
• Support the creation and deployment of knowledge for incubation of innovative operational solutions in the education Global Practice, with hands on technical support to regional unit teams in the preparation, approval, implementation, and evaluation of relevant World Bank projects and policy advisory in education.

• Provide significant contributions to global or regional flagship studies, forge strategic partnerships and alliances to contribute to the WBG corporate knowledge agenda in education.
• Coordinate education related work in a designated area of the GEAK work program within the World Bank, across regional departments, relevant Global Practices, and other units as appropriate.
• Support as appropriate core business functions of GEAK, including coordination of team members/consultants, fiduciary oversight and over all trust fund management in collaboration with the RM staff and Trust Fund administration.
• Contributes to the development of policy briefs, the design and delivery of learning events, workshops and other forms of knowledge exchange within the WBG and among member countries and other partners.
• Support the GEAK team in the liaison with international partners (including the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, bilateral agencies and foundations), representing the GEAK unit in various fora (internally and externally), and in resource mobilization.

Selection Criteria:

Specific Selection Criteria:
• Master's degree or Ph.D. (preferred) in economics, economics of education, public policy or other relevant related field, and a minimum of 2 years of relevant and substantive policy research, development policy and/or operational experience, combined with a solid broad knowledge of the role of education in economic development and the World Bank's strategic directions.
• Solid technical knowledge and experience in at least one of the core areas of focus of the education GP, namely: Early Childhood Development, curriculum, instruction, learner assessments of foundational cognitive and socio-emotional skills, teacher policies, school governance, management and service delivery, education financing, implementation capacity to achieve learning results at scale, pre-employment training, and adult learning.
• Strong analytical and quantitative skills, and solid experience with rigorous micro data analysis of household surveys in education or other social sectors.
• Ability to convey orally and in writing complex technical ideas to a non-specialist audience, and engage in substantive policy dialogue with clients and stakeholders.
• High levels of energy, initiative, innovative drive, resourcefulness and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements. Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to internal and external client requests, and set priorities for self and others.
• Relevant experience with policies and interventions in the education sector, and familiarity with World Bank's operations and business processes.
General Competencies:
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
• Analytical Decision Making – Strong quantitative skills, experience with large datasets, demonstrated capacity to analyze and interpret empirical evidence, and ability to deduce clear policy advice.
• Drive for Results - Demonstrated ability to multi-task and to effectively carry out multi-disciplinary analyses and a diversity of tasks within a rapidly changing and demanding environment on short deadlines.
• Demonstrated combination of analytical rigor and practical and solution oriented approaches; understanding of the political economy of reforms.
• Excellent Policy Engagement Skills - written and oral - to engage decision makers around analytical findings. Leads in the sharing of best practice and knowledge. Excellent oral and written communication skills.
• Superior client orientation and inter-personal skills with proven ability to work cooperatively with multi-disciplinary country teams and staff and managers at all levels.
• Lead and innovate- Develops innovative solutions.
• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries- Communicate own perspective and be respectful of diverse perspectives.
• Make Smart Decisions- Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.
• Proficiency in English, meaning the ability to work (converse, read and write) in the language (French desirable);

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in race, gender, nationality, culture, and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

Job summary


The World Bank


Washington, DC, United States







Job Type:





12th July 2017

Apply By:

2nd August 2017

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