Consultancy – Public financing of adult learning and education

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  • Contract
  • Hamburg

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: [[remote]]


Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 20-JUN-2024


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



 I. Background

The Marrakesh Framework for action

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is located in Hamburg, Germany, and is one of UNESCO’s eight education Institutes. UIL supports Member States in the field of lifelong learning with a focus on learning ecosystems, skills for life and work, and inclusive learning. It pays special attention to UNESCO’s Global Priorities Africa and Gender Equality. Within UNESCO’s broad educational mandate, the mission of the Institute is to promote the recognition of and create the conditions for the exercise of the right to education and learning. The Institute undertakes research, capacity-building, networking and publication on lifelong learning. UIL responds to the concerns of all UNESCO Member States, giving priority to least developed countries.

Long Description

The Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA), titled “Harnessing the transformational power of adult learning and education”, was adopted at the 7th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA 7), in June 2022. It is a commitment by UNESCO Member States and a roadmap for the promotion of adult learning and education (ALE) over the next 12 years – towards 2030 and beyond. It recognizes ALE as a fundamental human right in the context of lifelong learning, an important promoter of inclusion and a prerequisite for social and ecological justice, health and well-being, change and transformation. A mandate has been given to the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning to monitor the implementation of the MFA every 4 years, through the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE).

Following the adoption of the Recommendation on Adult Education (RALE), in 2015, The UNESCO Member States committed “to increasing public funding and resource mobilization for ALE and to preventing regression in existing budget allocations” (page 12).

Long Description

Current knowledge on public spending in ALE

It is important to acknowledge and celebrate progress on ALE financing. However, we should remain aware of the four critical factors that influence both ALE financing and our understanding of it. First, ALE funding can often be embedded within budgets for general education. The budget for ALE tends to be comparatively small, as education ministries tend to focus on compulsory education for children and youth, as well as higher education. Second, when ALE is embedded within other non-education ministries its spending tends to be absorbed into other programmes such as social policy and protection, labour market support, or health.

Long Description

Third, most sources of funding for ALE reflect government spending and not that of other stakeholders (including self-financing by adult learners), which means that the level of investment tends to be understated (UIL, 2009). Fourth, even if ALE spending has increased overall, it has not increased in all countries, nor per capita, and not at the rate of international commitments made in the BFA. CONFINTEA V recommended that Member States should ‘seek investment of at least 6% of GNP in education, and working towards increased investment in adult learning and education’, a commitment that was confirmed at CONFINTEA VI (UNESCO and UIE, 1997; UIL, 2010, p. 7). Even allowing for the fact that many countries are unable to provide figures, only 22 (15%) in GRALE 5 reported that at least 4% of public education spending was allocated to investment in ALE. There is considerable progress to make in achieving the level of investment required for ALE to realize fully its contribution to the SDGs.

The picture, though, is not altogether clear. In spite of the undertaking in 2015 to ‘mobilize and allocate sufficient financial resources to support enhanced and successful participation in adult learning and education’ (UNESCO, 2016, p. 10), many countries simply do not know what they spend on ALE, let alone have robust information on sources of non-governmental funding. In GRALE 3, 24 countries reported not having figures available on education expenditure, while 19 did not respond to this question (UIL, 2016, p. 45). In GRALE 4, 14% of participating countries could not provide information on whether there were changes to ALE spending as a proportion of public education spending (UIL, 2019). According to the results of GRALE 5, only 25% of UNESCO member and associate member states have provided an up-to-date and accurate percentage of national public education expenditure devoted to adult learning and education.

Purpose of the consultancy

The project intends to improve our knowledge of the public financing of youth and adult education to monitor more adequately the UNESCO Member States commitments included in the Recommendation on Adult Education (RALE, 2025). The overall goal is to design a sound and systematic methodology to collect the needed data for estimating the percentage of public education spending devoted to adult learning and education in all countries. To this end, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is seeking a senior consultant to support the work of the UIL Monitoring Cluster with the development of an informed, comprehensive and applicable methodology, that will be implemented by the national adult education institutions of the UNESCO Member States, to estimate the public spending going to ALE.


Main duties and responsibilities

Under the overall authority of the Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), and overall supervision of the head of the UIL Monitoring Cluster, the individual consultant will have the following main responsibilities.

Building on the definitions providing by the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education, stating that ALE “comprises all forms of education and learning that aim to ensure that all adults participate in their societies and the world of work” (RALE, UIL, 2015, p.6), the consultant will:


  1. Prepare a literature review, in English, based on the sources and materials available in the scientific literature taking stock and comparing existing methodologies that could be used for estimating public spending in Adult Learning and education. The literature review will propose a clusterization of approaches and/or methods for estimating public spending in specific areas, preferably closely related to education matters, that could be adopted for estimating the public spending in Adult Learning and Education. In few text boxes, it will showcase how the results obtained with the most promising methodologies. The articles, books or resources consulted for the literature review will be presented in a final section, using the Harvard refence style.
  2. Develop a proposed research strategy for estimating the public spending in Adult Learning and Education. It will draw on the lessons learnt from the literature review, and on the characteristics of the ALE sectors to justify which methodology(ies) are the most promising and what should be steps for implementing a one-year research that should end-up with a sound methodology. The consultant may propose differentiated approaches for each UNESCO region, if appropriate.
  3. Based on UIL feedback, revise and finalize the document for a research strategy on estimating the public spending devoted to ALE as a share of the national public education budget. The final product will be in English, and will be approximately of 40 pages.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)
Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.


  • Advanced university degree in economics, statistics, education, social sciences, development studies or any other related fields.

Work experience

  • At least 10 years of relevant work experience in the field of education statistics, education research, or any other related field.
  • Previous work experience in education projects, especially on youth and adult education in Developing countries.
  • Familiarity with Adult learning and education sector in different countries.
  • Proven experience in designing and coordinating international comparative research.


  • Excellent research skills.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Competent computer skills for MS Office package processing, presentation, online collaboration and data analysis.
  • Excellent independent working skills.


  • Fluency in English (both written and spoken).

Deliverables and timelines

The consultancy is expected to be of 35 working days starting on 1 July and ending on 30 September 2024, at the latest. The consultant is required to submit to UIL the editable versions (in English) of the deliverables within the duration of the contract. The identified dates below may be revised and include a summer break.

estimated duration
Develop an outline of the document and a first bibliography
5 working days
Draft a first version of the literature review
15 working days
Draft a final version of literature review and the research methodology
15 working days





Payment procedures and terms
Payment No
Upon submission to and approval by UNESCO of the following work
Last date for submission
Outline and initial bibliography
5 July 2024
First draft of the Literature review
26 August 2024
Final draft of the literature review and Research strategy (about 40 pages).
16 September 2024


Proposal Requirements and Submission

Submission of Application 
Interested individuals are invited to submit the application and requirements through the UNESCO Careers website.


Interested candidates should click on “Apply Now” and download and complete the Employment History form (Word document) in ‘Employment History Form / My Documents’.


Interested candidates should submit the following required information:

  1. An updated Curriculum Vitae (CV) indicating how your qualifications and experience make you suitable for the assignment.
  2. Short Approach to work (maximum 3, A4 pages) identifying the specific components of these TORs and how the intended objectives/outputs/delivery shall be addressed and including specific hyperlinks or attachments of relevant examples of equivalent or comparable assignments.
  3. Financial proposal that states the total compensation as a lump sum in US dollars, together with a breakdown according to the time-on-task or per output. No travel is expected for this assignment.

UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the proposals for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements. From those proposals deemed suitable in terms of the criteria in the Terms of Reference, UNESCO shall select the proposal that offers the Organization the best value for money. 


The complete application shall be submitted on or before 20 June 2024 (Midnight Paris time). Please note that only pre-selected candidates will be contacted.

Queries of a technical nature about these TORS may be directed to: [email protected]


Thank you for your interest in this UNESCO call.


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 recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as 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. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities 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.

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