TaRL Education Manager

VVOB Zambia/J-PAL Africa

Application deadline: 5pm CET, 14 October 2019

Location: Lusaka, Zambia 


Teaching at the Right Level, an approach developed by Indian NGO Pratham and evaluated by many randomised evaluations, is an evidence-based approach to improving learning outcomes. Locally known as Catch Up, this approach was piloted by the Zambia Ministry of General Education in 2016-17. It is currently being scaled up by the government to around 1,800 schools by 2020 with the support of several partners, with the possibility of scaling to all 9,000 primary schools in Zambia in future years.

VVOB is looking for an education manager passionate about working with the government to help improve reading and maths outcomes for learners in Zambia.

This role involves working with the Ministry and its partners USAID, UNICEF, J-PAL and Pratham during the scaling process. The Education Manager is responsible for providing technical and managerial direction for the successful implementation of the intervention. He/she must build and maintain effective relationships with all people involved in the intervention, from senior government officials to international partners to VVOB team members. He/she must help all partners to adapt the intervention as implementation lessons are learnt, while maintaining its evidence-based approach.

This position is based at the VVOB office in Zambia, and the jobholder will report to both the VVOB Programme Manager and J-PAL Africa staff. The jobholder will manage a team of VVOB and IPA staff in Zambia. The role involves travel within Zambia, particularly to Eastern Province and Southern Province, as well as infrequent international travel. This position is for 18 months initially with the possibility of extension. This post is open to Zambian and EU applicants.

Responsibilities include:

Teaching at the Right Level expertise

  • Become an expert on the Teaching at the Right Level methodology and evidence base, by reading the relevant academic papers and learning from the Pratham and J-PAL teams across the world.
  • Be an active member of and contributor to the TaRL Africa team which is thinking about how to adapt the TaRL approach to multiple settings across the continent, including thinking creatively and sharing lessons about adapting the TaRL approach such that it can accelerate children’s learning at scale.
  • Work with policymakers and partners in country to build their understanding of Teaching at the Right Level, to help them think about how the global evidence can be adapted to Zambia so that the programme remains effective as it scales.
  • Guide the implementation of the training, coaching, and monitoring systems being used in the intervention, and work with all partners to adapt and improve these so that they effectively support the classroom methodology.

Technical project management

  • Responsible for project management. Take responsibility for achieving the goals of the programme.
  • Manage the VVOB and IPA Catch Up team in Zambia that supports the government, and collaborate closely with the TaRL Africa central team that is based in countries all over the world.
  • Develop a team capacity strengthening strategy to increase expertise around data and project management, institutional capacity development and programme sustainability.
  • Maintain critical relationships with government and other partners, and ensure the work of the Ministry of General Education and other partners on the programme is coordinated.
  • Provide support to the Ministry of General Education to create a scale up strategy to expand the intervention in new provinces and determine the support needed in the existing provinces.
  • Develop a technical assistance plan to strengthen government systems to accelerate the embedding process of the Catch Up intervention in the Ministry’s structures.
  • Provide strategic direction to the Sustainability Manager and the Ministry of General Education to design a sustainability strategy for the intervention.
  • Track and manage the VVOB project budget and work with the finance team to submit regular financial reports to funders.
  • Identify new funding opportunities and write proposals for the intervention in collaboration with the VVOB Programme Manager and TaRL Africa team.
  • Report on progress of the Catch Up project to the TaRL Africa team and to external partners such as USAID.

Understand the local context

  • Understand the education sector in Zambia, including key partners, and make sure that the programme is coordinated with other actors and interventions.

Education and/or Work Experience Requirements:


  • Open to Zambian and EU applicants
  • Education: A Master’s degree, preferably in education, international development, public policy, or a related field
  • Experience:
    • At least seven years of relevant work experience, preferably working to strengthen government systems and structures
    • At least three years of experience working in a developing country
    • At least three years of demonstrated leadership and management experience, including management, coaching and mentoring of staff
    • At least two years of experience in a position working closely with external stakeholders, preferably with multiple partners
    • Demonstrated ability to achieve results in bureaucratic environments
    • Experience managing budgets
  • Competencies: cooperation, continual learning and improving, and results-oriented, communication skills (listening, speaking and writing in English), reliability, 360 degree empathy, creativity in problem solving, problem analysis and judgment, delegation, coaching and guiding, strategic networking and partnership building
  • Skills
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of informing policy with evidence, including the ability to translate data and technical material for non-technical audience
    • Strong time and project management skills (planning, budgeting, report writing)
    • Flexible with a proven ability to multitask and adjust to changing circumstances
  • Willingness to travel in rural areas within Zambia


  • Experience working with governments in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Experience working in the Southern African region, preferably in Zambia
  • Experience designing and implementing monitoring systems

Experience with capacity building of organisations, teams and persons

How to Apply

Interested candidates should fill in the application form: tarl.info/apply-em by 5pm Central European Time on Monday, 14 October 2019. If you have any questions, please direct them to recruitment@vvob.be (note: applications received by email will not be considered).

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates will take a written test, go through an interview process, and will have reference checks before a final offer.