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Consultancy to support the review of the Life Skills Education (LSE) Curriculum


  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Lilongwe
  • Grade: Consultancy - International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Labour Market Policy
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
  • Closing Date: 2024-06-22


Parent Sector : Field Office

Duty Station: Lilongwe

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : 1 year

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 24/06/22


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



UNESCO seeks the services of an international consultant to work with a local consultant and the Ministry of Education (MoE) of Malawi to support the review of the LSE curriculum for primary and secondary schools. The consultant will review the outcomes at each stage of the curriculum review and provide feedback to the local consultants.


Through the generous support of the governments of Sweden and Norway, UNESCO is implementing the O3 Programme which aims to improve sexual and reproductive health, as well as gender and education outcomes for adolescents and young people. Under the UNESCO O3 Programme, Malawi is one of the Programme Accelerated Countries (PAC) which will allow for an accelerated scale up of the current CSE programme in Malawi under the following objectives:

1. Secure and sustain strong political commitment and support for adolescents and young people’s access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services across sub-Sahara Africa;
2. Support the delivery of accurate, rights –based and good quality comprehensive sexuality education programs that provide knowledge, values, and skills essential for safer behaviours, reduced adolescent pregnancy, and gender equality
3. Ensure that schools and community environments are safer, healthier, and inclusive for all young people
4. Strengthen the evidence base on comprehensive sexuality education and safer school environments.

On delivery of accurate, rights-based and good quality CSE programmes that provide knowledge, attitudes and skills essential for safer behaviours, reduced adolescent pregnancy and gender equality. UNESCO is supporting the Ministry of Education (MoE), through the Directorate of Quality Assurance Services (DQAS) and the Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) to carry out a review of the LSE curriculum. UNESCO will also support MoE to address identified gaps to ensure that CSE topics are aligned to the revised International Guidance on Sexuality Education produced by the United Nations in 2018.

Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) is a Government parastatal organization that became operational in 1982. The Institute fulfils a social function of ensuring that education in Malawi is of high quality. Its mandate among other things is to design, develop, evaluate, monitor and support the implementation of the school curricula for primary, secondary and primary teacher training colleges. MIE also provides continuing professional development to teachers in schools and colleges in order to ensure that teachers are able to implement the curricula effectively. It also provides professional development for education personnel in order to ensure that education provided in Malawi responds to the current and future needs of the society.

As MIE is mandated to improve quality education in Malawi, it ensures that it integrates emerging and cross-cutting issues that are related to improving the quality and relevance of education such as HIV and AIDs, drug and substance abuse, moral decadence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mental health and environmental degradation. To fulfil this, the Institute continuously reviews curricula for schools and colleges in order to make the curriculum relevant to needs of the Malawian society.

Long Description

Background Information

Young people in Malawi continue to face many demands and challenges in their everyday life as they grow up. Some of these include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV & AIDS, drug and substance use and abuse; early and unintended pregnancies, sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage – challenges which are made worse by prevailing harmful cultural traditions. These problems are exacerbated when the young people are not equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills that can enable them to overcome the various challenges in their lives.

The in-school Life Skills Education (LSE) was first introduced in primary schools and primary teacher training colleges in 1996/1997 academic year in response to challenge of the HIV and AIDs pandemic as an intervention. It was first introduced in Standard 4 because statistics indicated that this was the terminal class for most children. Apart from that, most issues to do with reproductive health as well as other interventions were directed to the upper classes (Standards 5 to 8) of primary school. After successful piloting of LSE in Standard 4, the subject was introduced to almost all classes of primary school, that is, Standards 2 to 8. In 2001, the MoE introduced LSE in secondary schools as a non-examinable subject.

The current LSE curricula for primary education was reviewed in 2007 while the one for secondary education was reviewed in 2015. The review mainstreamed the best practices from the primary and secondary school LSE intervention and was rolled out in all the secondary schools. A Situational Analysis for Primary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges conducted in 2019 revealed gaps in mainstreaming of content on disability and sexual and reproductive health rights, among other issues.

In 2020 and 2021, curriculum audits for LSE for primary and secondary levels were conducted revealed more gaps in content related to mental health, cyber security and school bullying, violence and staying safe, skills for health and well-being, relationships, values, rights, culture and sexuality, sexual and reproductive health among others. These audits were premised on the revised International Technical Guidelines for Sexuality Education (ITGSE). In addition to this, through interactions with the existing curricula, it was observed that there is redundancy of content across the standards because the scope and sequence of the existing LSE curriculum was not properly done. It is against this backdrop, that the need to revise the LSE primary and secondary curricula to align it to international standards and make it more inclusive and effective is urgent.

Long Description


Malawi regards Life Skills Education (LSE) as one important subject for empowering youth with the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes in dealing with challenges to promote positive health and social behaviour that can lead to the prevention of health and social problems in their families and communities at large. It also equips them with the necessary life skills for developing the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, creative and spiritual growth which are essential for their healthy living as individuals, and members of families and society.

In 2018, UNESCO produced the revised International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE) to include emerging issues in comprehensive sexuality education. The LSE curriculum in Malawi was first implemented in 2001 and since then, more issues related to comprehensive sexuality education have become known. In 2019, UNESCO conducted a situational analysis of CSE in primary schools and teacher training colleges in Malawi, which used a mixed methods approach and included use of the Sexuality Education Review and Assessment Tool (SERAT) to collect and analyse data.

The SERAT used in the study revealed that while LSE has clear public health objectives that include reducing new HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early and unintended pregnancy (EUP), and GBV, it has weak features on cognitive, affective and skill-based objectives.1 It also revealed that the programme falls short on effective behaviour, as it emphasizes abstinence and does not provide details on the knowledge and skills needed to address gender-related issues, and avoid concurrent and multiple sexual partnerships. It also does not address puberty in enough depth. The programme places emphasis on cultural sensitivity and age-appropriateness but does not link it to evidence and public health data in Malawi, which shows that there are increasing rates of HIV incidence, teenage pregnancies, child marriage, GBV and school dropout among young people.

It is against this background that the Ministry of Education, led by MIE has embarked on the revision of the LSE curriculum and address the gaps identified through SERAT and the curriculum audits. It is expected that the review of the LSE curricula will make it responsive to the aspirations of the Malawian society and aligned to regional and international standards.

Long Description

The consultancy

UNESCO is supporting the Malawi Ministry of Education to revise the LSE curricula for primary and secondary schools. To this end, UNESCO will engage a curriculum specialist in-country as a local consultant and an international CSE expert to support the LSE curriculum revision process. These terms of reference (TORs) are for the international CSE expert.

Main objective
The main objective is to support the revision of the LSE curricula for primary and secondary schools in Malawi to make them responsive to the aspirations of the Malawian society and align them to regional and international standards.

Specific objectives
The following are the specific objectives of the consultancy:
1. To conduct a literature review on LSE curricula development and implementation globally and regionally to inform the curricula revision for primary and secondary schools in Malawi.
2. To support the development of the core elements and scope and sequence charts for the primary and secondary school level LSE curricula.
3. To support the development and validation of the LSE syllabi for primary and secondary school levels.
4. To support the development of LSE assessment guidelines and framework for primary and secondary school levels.

Scope of Work
UNESCO seeks to engage an international consultant to do the following:
1. To work with the local consultant to conduct a literature review on LSE curricula development and implementation globally and regionally to inform the curricula revision for primary and secondary schools in Malawi.
2. To review and provide feedback to the local consultant on the core elements and scope and sequence charts for the primary and secondary school level LSE curricula.
3. To review and provide feedback to the local consultant on the LSE syllabi for primary and secondary school levels.
4. To review and provide feedback to the local consultant on the LSE assessment guidelines and framework for primary and secondary school levels.

NB: The international consultant may be required to participate in meetings with the Curriculum Coordinating Committee (CCC) to support the presentation of feedback on the curriculum review products.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Accountability (C) Communication (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • Master’s degree in a related field (Public Health, Health Education; Education (Curriculum Development); Development)

Work Experience

  • Extensive professional knowledge and at least 10 years’ experience in developing Sexuality Education programmes particularly CSE curriculum development for the formal education sector.

Experience in developing CSE programmes for the East and Southern Africa region.


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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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