Call for Submissions: UNICEF Learning Think Piece Series

Call for Submissions: UNICEF Learning Think Piece Series

Deadline: November 26, 2017

Have a cutting-edge idea to improve education in Africa? Submit a UNICEF Think Piece. The UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Office is commissioning a series of Think Pieces that aim to promote fresh and cutting-edge thinking on how to improve the quality of education in the ESA region. These Think Pieces aim to broaden expertise, stimulate dialogue and encourage new ways of thinking to address the major educational challenges facing the region.

Whilst the Think Pieces will be rooted in evidence, they are not intended to be research papers, evidence briefs or literature reviews; instead, they are meant to be short, engaging and provocative pieces that stimulate debate and challenge the status quo.

This Think Piece series will cover a variety of topic areas, including:

  1. Improving classroom practice
  2. Teacher performance
  3. School improvement
  4. Accountability and system reform
  5. Inclusion and disability
  6. Parents and caretakers
  7. Reforming curriculum
  8. Learning assessment systems
  9. Education in emergencies
  10. Life skills
  11. Pre-primary education
  12. Gender and equity

Aim of the Think Pieces

  1. To stimulate new debate and reflections in advancing quality education and learning
  2. To support UNICEF ESA colleagues’ work in-country (education sector analysis, planning, policy development, writing proposals)
  3. To ensure that all UNICEF ESA work is underpinned by an aim to reform education systems to focus on learning.

What makes a good Think Piece

  • Robust thinking: demonstrated through a conceptual framework, Theory of Change or clear elucidation of the debates or issues.
  • A clear stance: demonstrated through what an author thinks is/isn’t working and why.
  • Fresh ideas: demonstrated through suggestions as to what needs to change, what should be different or what direction should be taken.
  • Links to learning: all critiques, suggestions and ideas should be underpinned by an aim to improve learning.

Although the concise nature of the Think Pieces will limit the degree to which authors can demonstrate some of these characteristics, these points provide an outline for what the pieces should look like as well as criteria for evaluation.


  • UNICEF will publish the Think Pieces over the course of 2018 with full accreditation to the author(s) and their organisations.
  • Authors will be asked to write a 4 to 6 page Think Piece with an accompanying abstract.
  • Authors will be asked to develop a reading/reference list associated with their Think Piece.
  • Authors will also be asked to develop a 1-hour Webinar to present their Think Piece and stimulate discussion amongst colleagues from the 21 UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa country offices.
  • Authors will receive a $4000 remuneration package for the delivery of the Think Piece, reading list and webinar.
  • The Think Pieces will be disseminated via the UNICEF website and other media channels under the Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.


  1. Individuals as well as pairs or groups are eligible to submit a proposal
  2. Authors should have salient experience working in education systems in sub-Sharan Africa and/or other developing country contexts
  3. Although not a prerequisite, authors should be recognized within the development community as leading in their field

Authors can be of any nationality and can be academic professionals, practitioners, consultants or staff of donors, NGOs or other organizations involved in development. UNICEF particularly welcomes applicants from Africa and the Global South.


  • Please download the Call for Proposal Information Pack for instructions on how submit a proposal here.
  • Please submit your proposal and CV to: [email protected]. Any questions or concerns can also be sent to the same email address. Deadline for submission is Sunday 26th November 2017 (5pm GMT).

Successful authors will be notified by Friday 22nd December 2017. In instances in which proposals from the same theme have received matching scores by the evaluation panel, brief interviews will be scheduled with authors.

For more information, visit UNICEF Learning Think Pieces.