Connected Higher Education Specialist (UNOPS)

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Country: Denmark
Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Closing date: 11 Dec 2020

Organisational context

Established in 1950, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees. Today, UNHCR staff in more than 120 countries continue to help and protect millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people.

Education is an integral part of protection for persons of concern to UNHCR, over 50% of whom are children. The Education Unit in UNHCR’s Division of Resilience and Solutions (DRS) provides operational support, policy direction, and strategic guidance to field operations. The provision and expansion of access to higher education for refugees is among UNHCR’s protection priorities.

UNHCR and partners seek to increase enrolment of refugees in higher education from the current 3% to 15% by 2030. The objective will be achieved through expansion of opportunities for refugees to access higher education via five primary pillars that make up the 15by30 roadmap: in-country enrolment, third-country enrolment, the UNHCR tertiary education scholarship programme (DAFI), TVET and connected higher education (CHE). ‘Connected Higher Education’ refers to programmes that are facilitated through the use of information technology, thereby enabling certifiable learning not bound by geographical limitations. To date, Connected Higher Education initiatives are providing access for refugees to accredited university courses in 23 countries.

Over the next ten years, it is anticipated that CHE opportunities will expand significantly – accounting for as much as 20% of overall enrolments. This prospect of rapid expansion requires technical oversight, strategic partnership development and monitoring. UNHCR and partners are committed to cultivating greater integration of and investment in CHE across refugee contexts. Promoting practices and models that are accredited and appropriate to refugee students’ needs are central to this task.

The position

Supporting CHE pillar of the 15 by 30 goal. The position coordinates the strategic development and realization of the Connected Higher Education pillar within the 15by30 roadmap. This includes developing a multiyear strategic plan for the scale up of CHE offerings for refugees globally: working with global, regional and country level partners to identify which locations and programmes are primed for expansion with enabling policies and infrastructure, and identifying and supporting potential universities and institutions who could be partners for scale. A second aspect of this work will focus on providing support in the form of technical advice, identifying where twinning with other similarly- oriented organisations/institutions and mentorship can be effective, and collecting evidence to build the case for support of CHE models as part of the 15by30 roadmap. **

Managing UNHCR’s role in the CLCC. The Connected Higher Education Specialist will also serve as the coordinator of the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium (CLCC). UNHCR co-founded and currently co-leads the CLCC. The role allows UNHCR to promote and coordinate the scale up of CHE programmes in line with existing standards and needs, and in the context of regionalisation. The CLCC will remain a key coordination mechanism to convene partners, to collect and disseminate experiences and good practices, particularly as they relates to learner needs and changing contexts. The CHE Specialist will work as part of the CLCC core secretariat team to support the CLCC to be effective in terms of standards setting, advocacy and innovative partnerships: including supporting efforts to document and conduct joint research to demonstrate the collective impact of CLCC partners efforts.

Technical support to UNHCR regional and country teams. The position serves as a focal point for staff at all levels in the regional and country offices, providing support when called upon. Technical advice and support may cover a range of inter-connected and inter-sectoral issues as they relate specifically to CHE, including but not limited to protection considerations in programme planning and implementation, community-based design, technologies for education, safe learning environments, proposal development and fundraising.

Ensure CHE is strategically positioned within UNHCR’s overall tertiary education approach, including as a core pillar of the 15by30 roadmap. This entails:

· Working with connected higher education providers to support harmonized reporting of connected higher education programmes aligned to the 15% target.

· Providing technical support for UNHCR’s education/protection/programme staff, CLCC members and other institutions to scale CHE initiatives, adhere to quality guidelines, address challenges and, overall, expand opportunities for refugee students.

· Identifying and cultivating existing and new partners that can scale CHE opportunities including accredited degree programmes as well as the range of support services available via CHE partners and programmes.

· Collecting and disseminating evidence and information to support integration of quality connected higher education programmes into both national education systems, including for refugees, and UNHCR country programming.

· Support overall tertiary education approaches to ensure that opportunities and benefits presented by connected higher education are available and appropriate for use in the context of work with international donor and development partners, and within national development and education planning.

· Ensure alignment with UNHCR’s Education strategy, Connected Education portfolio, and the continuity of opportunities across the educational continuum and with opportunities to transition to work.

Duties and responsibilities

Supporting CHE pillar of the 15 by 30 goal.*

· Contribute to the overall development and evolution of the 15by30 roadmap, specifically addressing questions such as core priorities and longer term aims, budget needs, timelines for scale.

· Address technical queries and continue to develop tools and processed to support harmonized project planning, implementation, quality assurance, policy development, and reporting.

· Support the refugee college guidance counselor programme expansion in 2-5 countries, including proposal development, KPI setting, support to country and partner implementers, and monitoring outcomes.

· Support countries and regions to identify potential university and institutional partners positioned to provide or to scale CHE opportunities.

· Support development of CHE content for global fundraising campaign to secondary and tertiary education.

Managing UNHCR’s role in the CLCC

· Serve as the coordinator of the CLCC, working as part of its core secretariat team to support the effective operation and functioning of CLCC.

· As CLCC coordinator, manage communication with the CLCC membership, lead on global communications about the CLCC, design and lead annual meetings and regional/country roundtables, organizing joint research amongst members on the impact of CHE and the CLCC, and support the overall functioning of the CLCC.

· Promote timely, harmonized reporting among CLCC members.

· Guide joint research, collect and build best practices reference documents to support scale by new and emerging CLCC partners where it aligns with UNHCR country and regional priorities within the 15by30 Roadmap.

· Represent UNHCR and CLCC at relevant fora related to tertiary education and Connected Higher Education.

Technical support to UNHCR regional and country teams

· Ensure that consistent and technically sound advice and recommendations are given globally, including through drafting of guidelines and specialized training of staff.

· Advise regional teams and field operations on request, on new advances in CHE, and on how to effectively plan, monitor and report on Connected Education programme activities.

· Ensure synergies between CHE programmes and broader Connected Education efforts at the primary and secondary level, along with digital work and employment opportunities.

· Ensure that the growth of connected higher education aligns with Programming for Protection protocols. Provide technical advice, including on how to ensure protective applications of technology within educational provision.

· Foster and ensure inter-sectoral linkages with child protection, SGBV, gender, community-based protection, comprehensive solutions and livelihoods, among others.

I. Monitoring and Progress Controls

· CHE pillar of the 15by30 roadmap developed in alignment with other pillars and overall considerations for demand, scalability, funding, and recommendations to balance and represent CHE degree programmes versus support programmes.

· Materials to support roll out of the CHE pillar produced. May include considerations/guidance for scale, twinning framework, fundraising proposals and other areas of CHE programming developed.

· Deliver CHE component of tertiary education task team, which may include leading a CHE working group, monitoring progress on GRF pledges, etc.

· Oversee inception, implementation and monitoring of refugee college guidance counselor programme.

· Support regional 15by30 workshops; conduct 2-3 policy CLCC round tables, likely in conjunction with 15by30 workshops and engaging regional bureaux.

· Close coordination with regional bureaux and country offices maintained in order to identify partners potentially poised for scale, supporting readiness assessments, identifying emerging opportunities or innovations, supporting conduct research and fill knowledge gaps or learn from good practices.

· Annual CLCC meeting successfully planned and led, along with quarterly virtual meetings.

· CLCC 2021 yearbook produced, along with regular programme updates shared on the CLCC website.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required


● University degree in, Education, Education Technology, Refugee Studies or a related field. At least 8 years of experience in progressively responsible functions in education (6 years with Advanced University degree)

Work Experience

● Field experience in higher education programme implementation and coordination

● Demonstrated ability to form new partnerships

● Knowledge of Ed Tech programming

● Familiarity with INEE standards and implementation

● Training and coaching skills/facilitation of learning, and in particular of Human-Centered-Design

● Experience supporting tertiary education programming for vulnerable populations

Key Competencies

● Knowledge of refugee protection principles and framework

● Excellent computer skills and knowledge of MS applications

● Excellent knowledge of English (written/oral/comprehension)

● Excellent drafting and writing skills in English

● Knowledge of a second UN language is a plus


The successful candidate will be working at Copenhagen Headquarters, Denmark.


The UNOPS Individual Contractor is until 31 December 2021 with a starting date as soon as possible.

Working 100% (full-time)

How to apply:

Interested applicants should submit their letter of motivation, Personal History Form (PHF) and CV to indicating DRS/2020/027; First Name/Last Name, Connected Higher Education Specialist in the subject of the email.

Personal History Forms are available at PHF Form / Supplementary Sheet.

Applications without PHF Form will not be considered.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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