Senior Education Economist/Specialist
The World Bank
hace 9 horas


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Education iscentral to achieving the WBG’s twin goals : it is a reliable route out of poverty through large and consistentreturns to income for individuals and as a driver for economic growth.

It isalso a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in theeducation sector is to achieve learning for all and learning for life - thatis, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge andskills they need for their lives and livelihoods.

In the past two decades, thedeveloping world has made great advances in education, most notably in enrollingand keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality.

Despitethese successes in expanding access to education, critical challenges remain : removingpersistent educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living infragile and conflict-affected states and improving the quality of education sothat schooling leads to real learning.

In recent years, the WBG, and the broader education developmentcommunity, have shifted their focus to include learning outcomes.

Traditionalinput-driven programs have shown that they do not always lead to improvedlearning outcomes, so that the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need fora more comprehensive systems approach’ to education reform, investments, andservice delivery.

This approach is about increasing accountability andtargeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. It also requires strengthening the knowledgebase on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where theyare falling short, and what the most effective solutions are.

These efforts are increasingly guided by theneed to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work, collectionof evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helpingits partner countries accelerate their progress in the education sector.

The EducationGlobal Practice is led by a Global Director, who has overall responsibility forthe practice, together with Regional Directors who oversee the humandevelopment program in the regions working with ten Practice Managers.


The World BankGroup serves over 30 client countries in the Latin America and the CaribbeanRegion (LCR). Clients range from large sophisticated middle-income clients(MIC) to IDA countries to small Caribbean states to one fragile state.

After adecade of sound economic management with solid social progress, Latin Americahas reached a development crossroads.

With slower growth prospects and thethreat in the reversal of fortunes for many, the region now faces newchallenges, and improving productivity is now increasingly emerging as a keyunderlying factor to address them.

Progress on this front will be critical for higher growth and to ensurethat the social gains amassed over the economic boom of the past decade onethat expanded the middle class to more than one third of the entire populationand lifted 80 million people out of poverty- are not eroded.

Moreover, Latin America’s inequalitycontinues to be high compared to other world regions; and the recent COVID-19crisis has had a tremendous toll on the region, with the GDP expected to havedecreased by about 7% in 2020.

High qualityeducation for all is central in the pursuit of growth and equity. The Education Unit for LCR works with clientcountries at the regional, sub-regional, national and sub-national levels to address key education challenges.

  • Tocite some of the key challenges : (a) learning outcomes have tended to improve,but LCR is still facing a Learning Crisis with a learning poverty of about50% and on average,15-year-old students three years behind in reading, mathematics, and sciencewhen compared to a student in an OECD country;
  • b) learning gaps between students from better-offand most disadvantaged backgrounds are very large; (c) enrollment has continuedto increase in secondary education but completion remains a regional challenge,especially among the poorest;
  • and (d) the supply of higher education hasincreased significantly, but relevance and inclusiveness are still importantchallenges.

    These challenges have by now been strongly exacerbated by theCOVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound impact on Latin America.

    Initialsimulations estimate that the region would be faced with the second largestexpected absolute increase in Learning Poverty levels with an increase up to62.

    5%, and all other metrics, in primary, secondary and tertiary education, areevolving in very worrisome ways, especially for the most vulnerable childrenand youth (with a socio-economic gap in education achievement estimated toincrease by at least 12%).

    We are notably also expecting large increases indropouts.

  • To address these challenges and theirunderlying constraints, the unit’s educationstrategy centers on four key pillars : (a) investing in Early Childhood Education / Development;
  • b) measuring and improving teaching and learning; (c) addressing drop-outs andimproving the skills of secondary and tertiary-school age youth;
  • and (d) pursuingbest practices in governance, management and financing. This also includes the effectiveuse of ICT and learning spaces and a strong focus on inclusion.

    These pillarsare consistent with the global education practice approach and the focus onlearning poverty, as well as with the main strategic intervention areas to helpcountries cope and recover from the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector.

  • These areas of intervention are focused on : (i) enhancing the reach, use andeffectiveness of technology in education; (ii) pedagogical and managementreforms for recovery and resilience;
  • iii) safe and resilient schools; and (iv)skills for the post-COVID context. It is expected that the focus of FY22 willlargely be on helping LAC countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis on theireducation sector.

    To implement itsstrategy, the unit has a large program comprising analytical and advisory (ASA)services as well as lending operations.

    It currently has a well-performing portfolioof 23 operations across most countries of the region. The portfolio has increasingly used newlending instruments to support systemic reforms (including Investment Project Financing(IPF) with Performance Based Conditions, and the two first ever Programs for Results(PforR) in education in LCR in Brazil and Argentina).

    The unit has a strongemphasis on bringing the best global evidence to inform its products andservices for its clients, and in working strategically with clients to generateknowledge where the knowledge base is still nascent.

    lt produces innovative andprogrammatic ASA work, with analytical and just-in-time components, which ishighly valued by our MIC clients, while also including a strong program ofimpact evaluations embedded in client engagements (operations or ASA).

    The unitalso prides itself in its thought leadership through the preparation ofrigorous regional studies to shed light on policy relevant issues in the region(teachers, school dropout, higher education, system and school management forexample).

    We also stepped-up opportunities toshare our work with the rest of the Bank through the new Tuesday Talks andseveral BBLs and webinars, and, more recently, our monthly COVID-19 dashboards.

    Morespecifically, the unit has a large program of services to support improvementsin the quality, relevance and equity of ECE, basic, secondary and tertiaryeducation.

    This includes several operational and analytical projects and tasks thatseek to support clients in the implementation of programs and policies toimprove the quality and management of teachers and school leaders, measurelearning outcomes and use the information from these assessments to improvequality, reduce drop outs, particularly at secondary school, and provide highquality teaching and curriculums to build the range of foundational, higherlevel cognitive or technical as well as socioemotional skills that are requiredfor successful and productive citizens, use technological solutions foreducation and smart learning environments, and strengthen school based and educationsystem management and accountability.

    These areas ofintervention have positioned the unit very well to supportcountries to address the COVID-19 crisis, translating into comprehensive just-intime advisory support, re-purposed ASAs, projects’ restructurings and newoperations (among others, in Haiti, Nicaragua, Guyana, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil) to support the design andimplementation of comprehensive sector response plans, innovations inmulti-modal and hybrid teaching and learning, and more broadly the coping,managing continuity and building back better phases of the COVID-19 response.

    Movingforward, we have several new projects in the pipeline, including in Uruguay,Colombia, Peru and Brazil, with a strong focus on recovering from the pandemic,and there is potential to do much more.

  • More specifically inColombia, we have a very comprehensive engagement articulated around 4 keypillars : (a) a solid and long-standing engagement in higher education, currentlyimplemented through a project under supervision;
  • b) an outstanding analyticaland technical agenda through cutting-edge ASA; (c) a Reimbursable Assistance (RAS)engagement both at the national and sub-national level;
  • and (d) the on-goingpreparation of a new education project in basic education. The higher education project under supervision the Access and Quality in Higher Education Project PACES aims at improvingthe quality of tertiary education in participating institutions and to increasethe enrollment of students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds inquality programs.

    The project, which is performing satisfactorily and still hasover two years of implementation, supports an innovative student loan program.

    The ASA and RAS agenda has focused on severaltopics, from management and governance reforms, to socio-emotional skills,school feeding, evaluating promising new programs, just-in-time policy notes and the development of an innovative educationmanagement and information system (the Monitor Escolar) which can collect real-time data, among other elements, on schools’ andstudents’ conditions.

    The RAS program has been a flagship in LatinAmerica for its duration, level of government engagement and quality. As Colombia and the team have been ramping uptheir response to COVID-19, this has laid the ground for the preparation of a Programfor Results operation which focuses on the recovery from the devastatingimpacts of the crisis.

  • The program has three results areas : (i)evaluation of learning outcomes; (ii) pedagogical support for teachers tostrengthen basic competencies of students in basic education;
  • and (iii)supporting local government in implementing remedial programs, socioemotionalskills programs and drop-out prevention programs through the implementation offull day schools.

    Both the pedagogical support and the support to localgovernments are targeted to the most disadvantaged children, schools and localgovernments.

    The work in Colombia also entails significant contributionsto cross-sectorial studies and operations Systematic Country Diagnostics(SCDs), Flagships, Development Program Financings (DPFs), etc.

    The Colombia CountryManagement Unit (CMU) also includes Mexico and Venezuela. The staff located inColombia will be expected to also support as needed the education sectorengagement in Venezuela.

    In light of the above, theunit is seeking a Senior Education Specialist / Economist, based in Colombia, to leadand / or co-lead the education policy dialogue, portfolio and ASA / RAS engagement inColombia, and lead the engagement in Venezuela.

    The selected candidate willreport to the Practice Manager for the LCR education unit (HCLED) and isexpected to work in close collaboration with the CMU, the other members of theeducation and Human Development team, and colleagues in other Global Practices (GPs)based in Colombia.

    Duties andAccountabilities :

    The Sr. Economist / Education Specialist based in Colombia is expectedto :

  • Lead and / or co-lead the education policy dialogue in Colombia, continuing to explore new opportunities for strategic, operational, RAS and analytical engagement, with a strong focus on recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and building back better.
  • Forge strong partnerships with other partners and strategic stakeholders to carry the dialogue forward.

  • Lead and / or co-lead the preparation and supervision of the education portfolio at various education levels (which, so far, includes an IPF and a PforR)
  • Lead and / or co-lead high quality customized analytical and advisory services, including the RAS program, analytical reports, impact evaluations, and just-in time TA, in several areas.
  • EMIS, education sector financing and management, strategies for teacher mentoring, remedial education, socio-emotional skills and to address dropouts, and higher education, are all areas in high demand both in our advisory and operational engagement.

    Providing guidance on innovative and cutting-edge strategies and approaches to effectively respond to the COVID crisis on education will be critical.

  • Contribute to the CMU and other GPs led cross-sectorial tasks (SCD, Flagships, DPFs, etc)
  • Lead the education engagement in Venezuela (largely through cross-sectorial work)
  • Mentor and advise more junior staff and consultants in operational and analytical roles
  • Serve, as needed, as focal point in critical areas for the unit (and the GP).
  • Selection Criteria

    The ideal candidate willcombine excellent client dialogue and team management skills, outstanding technical skills and a capacityto translate analytical findings into policy and innovative Bank operations tohelp clients recover from the pandemic, shift policies in new directions and / orpilot new approaches, and strong operational skills to provide effective leadershipand / or implementation support to the education portfolio.

    The candidate should have :

  • Advanced degree (Master’s or PhD) in economics, education, business or related fields Experience :
  • A minimum of 8 years directly relevant work experience in education; and demonstrated expert-level knowledge of education policy.
  • Excellent client skills and sustained track record of leading policy dialogue and developing business in education in middle-income countries.
  • Outstanding technical skills, and in-depth knowledge in at least some of the key education sector areas mentioned above would be a plus.
  • Ability to translate analytical / technical skills and products into new programs, policies, and operational innovations and results.

  • Excellent operational skills to be able to effectively lead or co-lead operations and teams through all the stages of project preparation and supervision
  • Proven track-record of leading and / or working well with teams
  • Track record of delivering high impact operations / interventions across education levels based on solid evidence
  • Track record of delivering high quality analytical and advisory services
  • Solid experience working with development partners
  • Fluency in English and Spanish
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to internal and external client requests, and set realistic priorities for self and others
  • High levels of energy, initiative, and flexibility. Proactive attitude to challenges and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements
  • Competencies :

    In addition to the above, the successful candidate is expected to demonstratethe following competencies

  • Education knowledge and experience : Possesses technical skills,including an understanding of key core education issues with regard to quality,relevance, and equity at all levels.
  • Has familiarity with analytical resources,data sets, indicators, tools for data analysis, and the use of evidence foreducation policy.

  • General economic knowledge and analytical skills : Possesses ademonstrated track record of working with economic and sectoral data andanalytical and produce user-friendly written outputs.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills : Possesses political judgment, diplomatic acumen,and negotiating skills; applies cross-country development knowledge todiscussions with clients and development partners;
  • anticipates needs andrequests in the field and develops / offers relevant tools to clients.

  • Knowledge and experience in development arena : Understands policy makingprocesses; distills operationally relevant recommendations / lessons for clients;
  • understanding of political economy issues as well as a good grasp of governanceissues in a federal setting additional asset.

  • Integrative skills : Demonstrates strong integrative thinking and abilityto support project teams in developing an integrated point of view arounddevelopment challenges.
  • Analytical Services and Advisory (ASA) policy, strategic and technicalanalysis for country / sector Issues : Provides inputs to key ASA documentsby analyzing relevant issues, soliciting input from others, and using data andfacts to support conclusions and / or position.
  • Written and verbal communication : Delivers informationeffectively.
  • Client orientation : Takes personal responsibility andaccountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs,working to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success.
  • Drive for results : Takes personal ownership and accountability to meetdeadlines and achieve agreed-upon results, and has the personal organizationskills to do so.
  • Teamwork (collaboration) and inclusion : Collaborates with otherteam members and contributes productively to the team's work and output,demonstrating respect for different points of view.
  • Knowledge, learning, and communication : Actively seeks knowledgeneeded to complete assignments and shares knowledge with others, communicatingand presenting information in a clear and organized manner.
  • Business judgment and analytical decision making : Analyzes factsand data to support sound, logical decisions regarding own and others' work.
  • Povertyhas no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differencesand we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgroundsfrom around the globe.

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