1. INTRODUCTION

Over the last decade, countries in the East and Southern African (ESA) region have taken major strides towards the development and incorporation of life skills education (LSE) and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in their school curricula. These strides have been made to counter the threat of HIV and other STIs; help protect girls against early and unintended pregnancy; provide young people with the necessary skills to develop effective decision-making and communication skills; explore values and attitudes and raise awareness of risk reduction skills.

Evidence shows that effective comprehensive sexuality education programmes consistently increase student knowledge about HIV and other health issues, delay age of sexual debut, and increase use of contraception including condoms by young people. Effective HIV and sexuality education requires the capacity and guidance of highly skilled and motivated educators. The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (UNESCO, 2018) argues, for example, that these teachers need appropriate training, skills in the use of participatory methods and ongoing support. The UNFPA Operational Guidance for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Focus on Human Rights and Gender (2014) articulates that effective CSE calls for an explicit mainstreaming of gender throughout all aspects of CSE and a focus on sexual and reproductive rights as components of human rights. This means that young people have a right to scientifically accurate information, bodily integrity and a right to access sexual and reproductive health services.

One of the key tasks facing Ministries of Education in the region is how to conduct effective pre-service and in-service teacher training and sustain a program of on-going in-service refresher training and mentoring. Effective training first has to have an impact on the teachers themselves, helping them examine their own attitudes toward sexuality, gender and behaviors regarding HIV prevention. They need to understand the content they are teaching, learn participatory teaching skills, and gain confidence to discuss sensitive and controversial topics in a non-judgmental and rights-based manner. Teacher training needs the support of national ministries, local school management, and local communities. It should also build on teacher training efforts for countries implementing a Life Skills curriculum as interactive teaching methods are essential for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Teachers need support after the initial training and need to be willing and motivated to teach reproductive health and HIV issues. Teacher training should emphasize the need for a safe and appropriate learning environment, which reflects the learning content. This would include gender equality in the school environment and a policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation of students.

School settings provide an important opportunity to reach large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they become sexually active, as well as offering an appropriate structure within which to do so systematically over time. Teachers remain central to the process given their critical role in delivering sexuality education and with the right knowledge, skills and comfort levels for effectively delivery of sexuality education help to ensure that learners receive accurate and age- appropriate information. This information guides the learners through adolescence and enables them to make responsible decisions that impact their current and future sexual and reproductive health and overall well-being.

2. ABOUT THE CURRENT COURSE

As part of the ESA Ministerial Commitment for scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the region, UNESCO, UNFPA, Johns Hopkins University/HC3 and the Foundation for Professional Development collaborated to design and implement an in-service teacher training course on sexuality education. Ministries of education from across 21 ESA countries and the SADC and EAC Secretariats are key partners in the course. The online course is currently hosted and implemented by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) and Medical Practice Consulting (MPC) under the leadership of FPD.

This online training course on sexuality education was designed for teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who have the responsibility for teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to learners. Specifically, the online course was created to contribute to the following regional outcomes:

  • Increased number of teachers in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region who are qualified to teach sexuality education;
  • Strengthened capacity of ministries of education to provide education and training for teachers to teach sexuality and HIV education lessons in the classrooms;
  • Improved quality of school-based sexuality and HIV education programs – evidence informed and effective to reduce risky behaviours amongst school-going youth; and
  • Improved learner knowledge and health-seeking behaviours for sexual and reproductive health and rights achievement and related life skills.

This online course was developed as an accessible resource to support the training of teachers and other educators to deliver school-based sexuality education in East and Southern Africa. For many countries in the ESA region, the capacity and performance of teachers in delivering comprehensive sexuality curricula remains a significant implementation challenge. Sexuality-related topics can be culturally and religiously sensitive. Teachers may live and work in areas that require a great deal of travel and resources in order to obtain professional development and support. If teachers are to empower the young people in their care with the potentially life-saving knowledge, they will need to be competent and comfortable to deliver the information that life skills based comprehensive sexuality education offers. The course was created online to be as accessible to as many educators in the ESA region as possible.

2.1 Current course modalities

Initially, the course was administered mainly through distance learning, where teachers could take in in the comfort of their environment. But as the course was rolled out, it became clear that completion rates were significantly low, and teachers faced challenges such as lack of access to computers and internet. The modality was then tweaked, and teachers would be asked to convene in person at one place, go through some value clarification, be provided with computers and internet, be assisted with registering for the course, and also be given an opportunity for teach-backs. Currently, the course consists of three main learning components, namely the face to face component, the distance learning, and the mentorship and support supervision component

2.2 Who is this course for?

This course targets teachers and other educators across Eastern and Southern Africa who need to obtain or update their knowledge and related skills on comprehensive sexuality education, and who are actively involved or intend to be involved in the delivery of sexuality education in the region. It will also be made available for other professionals such health services providers, who require adequate SRHR knowledge to perform their job.

2.3 The overall course goal

The overall course goal is to support effective implementation of life skills based/life orientation curriculum by equipping teachers with knowledge and skills related to the delivery of age appropriate, human rights and gender-based-comprehensive sexuality education in schools through the use of ICT.

  1. Course objectives

By the end of the online course, the teachers and educators should be able to:

  • Provide accurate information and knowledge on sexuality education, its importance and benefits;
  • Acknowledge how personal values, beliefs, biases can influence the teaching of sexuality education and the importance of not asserting one’s beliefs and biases onto learners;
  • Use the knowledge and skills acquired to deliver an effective life skills-based sexuality education in participatory, culturally sensitive and age-appropriate ways; and
  • Demonstrate the willingness to teach on different CSE-related content.

2.5 Course duration

The online course can be accomplished in about 40 hours depending on the pace of the participant which is an equivalent of 4 -5 days. Participants are however not allowed to undertake the course for more than 3 months from the time they have been enrolled on the course.

3. RATIONALE FOR REVISING THE COURSE

Two reviews commissioned by UNESCO revealed some gaps in both the content and the design of the course. It is based on the findings of the reviews that a revision of both content and design is required. Below are the main recommendations from the aforementioned reviews:

  1. Course Content Gaps
  1. There is a need to focus on topics such as gender discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, and harmful traditional practices. As with all curricula, CSE must be delivered in accordance with national laws and policies.
  2. The significance of peer pressure in adolescents’ lives needs to be strengthened as it influences adolescents behaviour.
  3. Gendering of behaviour and disability, and how these impact on body image and relationships is necessary
  4. Coon body image and sexuality needs to be strengthened
  5. Expansion of relationships beyond intimate relationships focusing on family and other societal relationships in life as it relates or links to adolescents’ sexuality education curricula
  6. Adolescents rights, values and responsibilities to be strengthened in the course content.

3.2 Course Design Gaps

  1. The course needs to outline the prerequisite skills and tools for the targeted audience of the course.
  2. The design of the course needs to be in sync with the pedagogical approaches to be used in the facilitation of the course in the blended learning environment
  3. Revision of course content to ensure that it is creative and engaging ensuring content is broken down into manageable multimedia
  4. Knowledge shares feature to be strengthened to ensure that it allows for deeper reflection in the learning process

The above gaps identified from content and course design perspectives make it critical that the current course content be reviewed to strengthen the CSE online course. This process will require that the consultant (subject expert) continuously liaises with the IT expert developing the online platform. This will facilitate the seamless content and online LMS for effective learning. The revision of the online CSE content will further allow for upgrading the course content, assessments and learning methodologies to ensure that the course can be accredited.

4. ABOUT THIS ASSIGNMENT

This assignment is building on the work of the UNESCO and UNFPA on the existing online course on CSE, and a lot of work that has been done on teacher training in the region; not least among them, the development of a regional in-person teacher training manual and resource pack. Recognizing the importance of well-trained teachers in the effective delivery of sexuality education at classroom level the UN partners wish to update the current online CSE course to incorporate new knowledge and evidence, and utilization of recently developed resources. The partners wish to strengthen the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education curricula through a confident and well-trained teaching force through high quality pre and in-service training programme.

UNESCO and UNFPA are seeking a qualified consultant to work with a UN recruited IT consultant and update the existing content of the CSE online course. Specifically, the consultant shall:

  1. Update the existing in-service training course on comprehensive sexuality education that draws on the revised International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education(ITGSE), and the in-person teacher training manual, among other resources;
  2. Develop course content that can be converted into an online course and prepare the appropriate support materials.
  3. In liaison with the IT expert, the consultant shall:

  • come up with learning objectives, instructional methods and activities, storyboards, content, subject matter knowledge, lesson outlines structure and flow, and media assets. down the content into timed sessions and activities to be uploaded on the online learning platform
  • provide guidance to the IT expert on balancing the course between taking an asynchronous learning and synchronous learning approaches to allow for cohorts that give motivation to the learners and ensuring interactivity.
  • Transform the course content presented in large text form to ensure that it is more interactive
  • devise means of presenting critical content on the learning platform and avoid or reduce on too many outward links for the learners.
  1. Develop learning and assessment activities that adequately access learners’ level of understanding of the course content and the ability to apply learned concepts. The assessments should meet the mini standards that allow for CSE online course accreditation in the different countries where the course will be offered.
  1. Recommend quality sources of information to use and pedagogy to support learning activities, the duration and sequence of the activities, technology or technologies for the electronic and online activities, and other tools required for non-electronic activities.

5. DELIVERABLES

  • An Inception report capturing the CSE online course outline, expanded activities and deliverables of this assignment.
  • Course curriculum and content, which include learning activities, assessments and relevant resource materials; and an indication of required teaching aids such as videos.
  • Process report on the consultant’s responsibilities to provide content guidance to the IT expert on five items outlined above.
  • A report compiling course assessments that are in-line with key competencies required in the accreditation process for the defined level of accreditation.

6. HOW TO APPLY

To apply, send your CV, an outline showing similar assignments successfully completed, a breakdown

of fees and timelines for the assignment to d.cheta@unesco.org by 29 May 2020.

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