AFRICA HIGHER EDUCATION CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE PROJECT

TERMS OF REFERENCE: CONSULTANCY FOR THE VERIFICATION OF IMPROVED TEACHING & LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

BACKGROUND

The Association of African Universities (AAU)

The Association of African Universities is the organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among higher education institutions in Africa.  It represents the voice of higher education in Africa on regional and international bodies and supports networking among institutions of higher education in teaching, research, information exchange and dissemination.

The Association was founded in Rabat, Morocco on November 12, 1967 in response to recommendations of a September 1962 UNESCO conference. With an initial membership of 34, the Association now has 380 members drawn from 46 African countries, cutting across language and other divides.  Over the nearly 50 years of its existence, the Association has provided a platform for research, reflection, consultation, debates, co-operation and collaboration on issues pertaining to higher education.  Through its varied programmes it has established and increased its role in the five sub-regions of Africa and thus possesses a unique capacity to convene higher education institutional leaders and policy-makers from all parts of the continent and on key issues related to African higher education and development.  In addition, the Association provides leadership in the identification of emerging issues and support for debating them and facilitating appropriate follow-up action by its members, partners (including other regional institutions such as UEMOA, CAMES etc.) and other stakeholders.

In pursuit of its objectives of promoting higher education in Africa, the AAU, with financial support from its members and funding partners undertakes programmes and activities that respond to topical issues and challenges in African higher education. To ensure that its interventions are relevant to the needs of its members, the AAU holds a General Conference once every four years, and a Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP) biennially to take stock of its programmes and make recommendations, as well as deliberate on emerging issues in African higher education.

The ACE Project

To accelerate growth, productivity and progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the region needs investment in the production of well-trained human capital, which remains both qualitatively and quantitatively woefully inadequate in Africa. To address this need, the World Bank together with an African Working Group designed the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project. The objective of the Project is to promote regional specialization among participating universities within areas that address particular regional development challenges and strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research.

The ACE Project follows a regional and a disciplinary approach. The three disciplinary fields involved are Agriculture, Health and STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics). This approach is necessary to focus on specific developmental needs around three of the major applied sciences; and in order to integrate stakeholders of various levels, ensure spill-over throughout Africa and attract a critical mass of expertise from within Africa and internationally. It also ensures economies of scale for less endowed neighboring countries, to become ACEs. The ACEs were selected through a rigorous, merit-based and transparent process involving reviewers from parts of North America, Europe and Africa. There are 22 ACEs located in higher education institutions in eight of the nine participating countries in West and Central Africa (Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo), which are at various stages of project implementation.

THE GOAL OF THE DLI CONSULTANCY

The Investment Project Financing (IPF) model of World Bank is used to finance the ACE project activities, implying that funds are disbursed to the ACEs based upon the satisfactory achievement of agreed, pre-specified programme implementation progress and performance results, otherwise called the disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs). A results-based financing approach is used here since it increases focus on delivery of results and the ACE Project is the first project to apply the DLI approach to a regional project.

The DLIs include the education and research results achieved in the form of increased number of regional students; reaching education quality benchmarks; published research; number of internships and external revenue generation. Others include quality, efficient and timely procurement and financial management, as well as improved teaching and learning environment.

Each DLI has a unit disbursement price per unit of result achieved. The ACEs are reporting the achievement of the DLIs, which need to be independently verified before. The verified results are costed and disbursed to the ACEs.

The overall objective of this assignment is to visit the sites of the ACEs that have reported achievement of the DLI on improved teaching and learning environment (civil works and major equipment procurement), and to verify the milestones whose formulation were approved by the World Bank and have been reported as completed by the ACEs.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ASSIGNMENT

The Implementation plan of each ACE describes four (4) main milestones for improving teaching and learning environment based upon the specific activities undertaken by the ACE. Each ACE is expected to show evidence of the achievement of the milestones such as: signed contract for rehabilitation of a building; signed contract for delivery of specified laboratory or learning equipment; halfway or completed rehabilitation work; delivered and installed laboratory, learning equipment, or furniture; students and researchers in laboratory and using the equipment.

Each ACE has different milestones approved by the World Bank and which will be provided to the Consultant as a reference. Below are examples of a set of milestones common to the ACEs, as well as guidelines for their verification:

  1. Signing of building contract, evidence includes (i) signed copy of contract with bill of quantities (ii) certificate that Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) were adhered to (iii) relevant procurement procedures from agreed Procurement Manual (PM) has been followed (iv) Building contract has to be on the website of that ACE.
  2. x percent completion of building construction, renovation or rehabilitation, evidence includes (i) certification of x percent completion of construction by an architect/engineer acceptable to The Bank.
  3. Laboratory equipment purchased or supplied contract signed/invoice with certification of procurement, relevant procurement documents are available for post-procurement audits.
  4. 100 percent completion of building and 80% of equipment installed and in-use by faculty and students. Evidence includes photos and checklist of all equipment contracted with a status and location of purchased equipment. All equipment has to be entered into asset catalogue of the university.

 

REQUESTED SERVICES AND MAIN TASKS

The services required will mainly involve field visits to individual ACEs and investigating the reported achieved milestones (in relation to what the World Bank approved in the DLI 2.8 formulation of the specific ACE), report writing, and presentation of findings to the AAU/WB.

The Consultant(s) shall undertake the following tasks at the ACE site:

  • Verify evidence of signed building contract (including copy of bill of quantities and ESMP certificate);
  • Verify and certify the extent and quality of civil works. This will include:
    • Verifying the percentage completion of building construction, rehabilitation or renovation;
    • Studying and commenting on the quality of materials used. For example, the quality control mechanisms used for building materials like – concrete / bricks / electrical wires etc.
    • Verifying whether the costs indicated/reported by the ACE are within reasonable range of the quality and extent of work undertaken on site.
    • Verifying that each completed building is being put into its intended use.
  • Verify whether the purchased laboratory equipment reported by the ACE is what is on the site with the necessary documentation (invoices, certificates, etc.);
  • Verify whether all the purchased and installed laboratory equipment have indeed been installed and are in use.
  • Verify that the ACE has a checklist of all equipment purchased with status and location of all equipment as well as all equipment entered into the asset catalogue of the university;
  • Write a report based upon the findings noted above of the verification mission, attaching relevant documents and submitting the report to AAU/World Bank within one week after the site visit. The AAU/World Bank will provide questions/feedback/comments within 5 days of receiving the report
  • Finalize the report, incorporating the feedback/comments from the AAU/world Bank within 3 days of receiving the comments. See the Annex for suggested template to be submitted along with report.

 

DURATION OF THE SITE VISIT

The visit to each ACE is expected to be undertaken in two working days. The consultant may be required to spend additional day(s) where necessary and after official clearance by AAU.

The consult may be requested to visit several ACEs in the region to verify improved teaching and learning environment subject to satisfactory performance and availability of milestones to be verified.

MANAGEMENT OF THE ASSIGNMENT & DELIVERABLES

The assignment will be overseen by the RFU and World Bank, while the coordination and supervision of the assignment will be under the responsibility of the ACE Project Coordinator and the M&E staff of AAU and World Bank.

The Consultant shall produce reports from his/her verification missions. The Consultant shall submit all the deliverables to ACE Project Coordinator.

LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS

The AAU shall provide necessary travel arrangements including providing a round trip economy class ticket; and facilitating visa and accommodation arrangements for the Consultant for all travels related to this assignment, as well as local transportation to and from verification sites. The AAU will also cover accommodation costs and provide a daily subsistence allowance (per current World Bank rates) for the duration of any ACE-related event.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE AND DESIRABLE REQUIREMENTS

Consultant’s Profile:

The Association of African Universities now invites eligible consultants to indicate their interest in providing the Services. Interested Consultants should provide information demonstrating that they have the required qualifications and relevant experience to perform the Services. The Consultant should have:

  • At least BEng degree in Civil (Structural) Engineering (with at least five years post qualification experience), or BArch degree in Architecture (with at least five years post qualification experience) or in a related relevant field;
  • Strong experience as a civil works and/or equipment  verification consultant or related service for a proven number of assignments;
  • High integrity, kind assertiveness and able to withstand pressure
  • Proven knowledge on African higher education institutions (including universities, research institutions and regional organizations);
  • Practical experience of working in Africa and of working regionally;
  • Experience of working in multi-stakeholder contexts;
  • Excellent oral and writing skills, in English or French.

The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to paragraph 1.9 of the World Bank’s Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants [under IBRD Loans and IDA Credits & Grants] by World Bank Borrowers [January 2011 Guidelines edition as per legal agreement] (“Consultant Guidelines”), setting forth the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest.

A Consultant will be selected in accordance with the Comparison of CV method as set out in the Consultant Guidelines.

Further information can be obtained at the address below during office hours i.e. 0900 to 1700 hours].

 

HOW TO APPLY

Application letters should be sent electronically to the address below latest by January 31, 2017.

Applications should comprise:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae describing applicant’s professional experience and qualification for the position.
  • Two (2) reference letters, one of which should be from the candidate’s supervisor in his/her current place of work, if an employee.

 

The application letters and supporting documents of candidates should be submitted by e-mail to:

The Secretary General

Association of African Universities,

African Universities House,

Aviation Road Extension,

P.O. Box AN 5744,   

Accra-North, GHANA

Tel: (233) 21 774495/761588

Fax: (233) 21 774821

Email:  secgen@aau.org

Website:  www.aau.org

ANNEX

The Table 1 below is a suggested template for civil works (building construction, renovations and rehabilitation) with checklist to be verified by the consultant and submitted along with the report. Please note that all verification should be in line with what the World Bank approved for each of the ACEs in their DLI 2.8 formulation.

Table 1

Verification (Yes/No)
ACE/

University

Summary description of  Civil works Milestone Milestone number Contract signed & on ACE website Bill of

Quantities is available and acceptable

ESMP Certificate is available  

 

Percentage

Completion is as reported

 

If completed, is building being used for the intended purpose

1 YY 80% completed construction of building 2

The Table 2 below is a suggested template for equipment purchase and installation (includes furniture) with checklist to be verified by the consultant and submitted along with the report. Please note that all verification should be in line with what the World Bank approved for each of the ACEs in their DLI 2.8 formulation.

Table 2

Verification (Yes/No)
ACE/

University

Summary description of  major equipment purchase/ installation Milestone (based on DLI 2.8 formulation) Milestone number Invoices/

Certificates available

Acceptable Equip. installation Evidence of Equip. in use Checklist of all equip. purchased (with status & location)  

 

Equip. entered into asset catalogue of university

1 YY Equipment purchased, installed and in use 4