Senior Economist/Senior Education Specialist

World Bank Group

Sydney, Australia


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Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions and thirteen Global Practices (GPs) to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


The 14 GPs are: Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social Protection and Labor; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; and Water. The 5 CCSAs are: Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Gender; Jobs; and Public-Private Partnerships. The new operating model is part of a broader internal reform aimed at delivering the best of the World Bank Group to our clients, so that together we can achieve the twin goals of (1) ending extreme poverty by 2030, and (2) promote shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.

The Global Practices specifically will:

Define Strategic Direction: (i) define strategic priorities to deliver solutions and achieve results based on country and regional demands and interactions and global priorities; (ii) define/implement integrated resource strategies, (iii) engage in selected, high priority partnerships, and (iv) establish robust monitoring and reporting systems.

Develop and Deploy Expertise Globally: (i) lead the development and delivery of solutions to clients by deploying the right technical staff where and when needed; and (ii) invest in developing technical talent.

Deliver Integrated Solutions: (i) deliver operations, while Regions ensure fit for purpose; (ii) develop public-private integrated solutions that draw on GPs, CCSAs, MIGA and IFC; and (iii) hold the “Concurrence” role in all project/AAA approval steps, ensuring that all technical quality, safeguard and fiduciary requirements (if applicable) are met.

Capture and Leverage Knowledge Effectively: (i) ensure knowledge is used effectively to deliver solutions to clients; (ii) assign staff roles and accountabilities in creating, capturing, sharing and using knowledge’ (iii) reward knowledge sharing and learning, in performance management and career development; and (iv) develop knowledge base around key development challenges and solutions sets.


Education is central to achieving the World Bank Group’s twin goals: it is a reliable route out of poverty because it has large and consistent returns to income for individuals and because it can drive economic growth. It is also a prime vehicle for promoting shared prosperity. The main challenge in the education sector is to achieve “learning for all, learning for life”—that is, to ensure that all children and young people acquire the knowledge and skills they need for their lives and livelihoods. The developing world has achieved great advances in education in the past two decades, most notably in enrolling and keeping children in school and in approaching gender equality. Yet these successes in expanding access to education have highlighted the major remaining challenges: how to remove the educational barriers faced by the poorest people and those living in fragile states, and how to improve the quality of education so that schooling leads to real learning. The WBG and the broader education development community are increasingly shifting focus to learning outcomes. Because traditional input-driven programs often fail to promote learning, the WBG’s education strategy highlights the need for a more comprehensive systems approach to education reform, investments, and service delivery. This approach is about increasing accountability and targeting results, as a complement to providing inputs. And it also requires strengthening the knowledge base on education, to highlight where systems are achieving results, where they are falling short, and what the most effective solutions are. These efforts are increasingly guided by the need to invest early; invest smartly; and invest for all. Through high-quality analytical work, collection and curation of evidence, and practical know-how in these three areas, the WBG is helping its partner countries accelerate their educational progress

The Education Global Practice is led by a Senior Director, who has overall responsibility for the practice. The Senior Director is assisted by two Directors, who serve as the Chief Operating Officers of the Practice. The Education Global Practice Management Team, which is the group that leads and manages the GP, consists of the Senior Director, two Directors and nine Practice Managers.


The East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region comprises of more than 20 countries, including Middle-Income Countries, Lower-Income Countries, and fragile states (EAP has the second highest number of fragile states amongst all the Bank regions). The Region is characterized by generally rapid growth, both sophisticated and low capacity borrowers, and some highly dynamic sectors. In the education sector, while many of the countries in EAP have achieved much in terms of getting their children to attend school at basic levels, they face ongoing challenges regarding the need to provide access at post-basic levels, improve the quality of schooling at all levels and enhance the relevance of education for the workplace.

EAP Region’s education strategy is consistent with the Bank’s own education sector strategy, with focus on following areas: (a) to strengthen education systems by helping develop institutions that enhance accountability, build information for effective decision-making through M&E and assessment systems and benchmarking; (b) to tailor our approach to country circumstances, specifically by responding to fast-growing countries’ requests to engage in upper secondary and higher education, skills development and vocational training, as well as to those from fragile and small states still trying to complete the EFA agenda; and (c) to use multi-sector approaches, such as conditional cash transfer programs, to achieve educational outcomes. Moreover, since the region includes countries which are low-income or fragile states, as well as middle-income countries where loan financing is not the main priority, the Bank must combine its financial support with world-class demand-driven policy advice that uses its global knowledge base.

The Senior Education Specialist/Economist is expected to focus mainly on the Pacific Island Countries, though work in other EAP countries is also possible depending on business priorities. The Education GP currently has a small but growing portfolio in the Pacific, with two lending operations under implementation in collaboration with other GPs (with Social Protection in Tonga and with Health in Republic of the Marshall Islands) and two projects under preparation in Tuvalu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. However, the education portfolio is expected to grow, with several countries having indicated they will seek further support from the World Bank under the IDA 19 funding window, in part based on recently-completed technical assistance in early childhood development and learning in the early grades and the launch of the Human Capital Project. In addition, resources for technical assistance are expected to increase with the financing support of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The selected candidate will be based in Sydney, Australia. He/she will work closely with the Program Leader responsible for education in the CMU (based in Sydney), with the Country Management Unit for the Pacific Islands, and with colleagues in Washington DC and other countries offices working on the Pacific Island program. He/she will report to the Education Global Practice Manager for the EAP region (based in Washington D.C.).


  • Lead the education policy dialogue in the Pacific Islands to develop a program of work providing technical assistance and financial support to national government clients.
  • Provide high quality customized analytical and advisory services (including knowledge and convening services) linked to country and department circumstances, working closely with colleagues in the Education Global Practice to bring the best international experiences to bear on addressing the client country’s education challenges.
  • Provide hands on technical assistance to clients deploying high quality practical knowledge through solutions and nuts and bolts implementation;
  • Build and lead a high-quality team that works across the Pacific Island Countries, to bring international practice in a cost-effective way and develop operations customized to the Pacific Island context.
  • Work closely with colleagues from other global practices working on the Pacific Islands on multi-sectoral financial and lending products (e.g. Macroeconomics and Fiscal GP on public expenditure issues, or Poverty and Social Protection GPs on addressing inequalities in opportunity, health and social protection on service delivery issues, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation GP and Social Protection and Jobs GP on skills and labor force productivity issues).
  • Forge strategic partnerships and alliances (with multi-lateral and bilateral development partners and with regional and national non-profit organizations and think tanks), to increase the overall value of the Bank program in education in the Pacific Islands.
  • Participate in the Education GP, including in team meetings, sharing knowledge of the program in the Pacific Islands with GP colleagues, representing the GP at events, and providing peer review to tasks in other countries

Selection Criteria

  • Advanced degree (at least a Master’s degree; Ph.D. preferred) in economics, education policy or social sciences.
  • Recognized and highly regarded professional with at least 8 years of relevant experience in shaping education and/or social policy and in project/operational work.
  • Strong intellectual leadership and analytical ability related to education policy issues in one or more education subsectors (especially early childhood and basic education).
  • Demonstrated combination of analytical rigor and practical and solution- oriented approaches; understanding of the political economy of education reform.
  • Experience in managing technical teams /consultants to prepare analytical work and operational/project support.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are essential. Strong in written and oral expression, including public presentation.
  • Significant experience and demonstrated ability to manage teams and to conduct effective policy dialogue with government officials at all levels and with leaders of education and social sector institutions and to collaborate with partner organizations.
  • Up-to-date knowledge and solid understanding of broad development issues including those related to the link between education and inclusive growth and productivity. Solid understanding of the articulation between levels of education and with labor markets and innovation systems.
  • Demonstrated experience in education and social research, such as impact evaluation of education and training policies, and experience with quantitative analysis of education data.
  • Strong client orientation and excellent interpersonal skills. Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively within and across institutional boundaries, and geographical locations, to inspire commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as member of a multicultural team.
  • High levels of energy, initiative and flexibility in quickly adjusting to changing work program requirements. Ability to juggle numerous competing demands and priorities, respond quickly to internal and external client requests, and set priorities for self and others.


  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills - Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.
  • Operational Experience, both as a member and leader of task teams, across a range of Bank operational products, and at different stages of the project cycle, for IBRD countries is highly desirable, and required for internal candidates
  • Education Knowledge and Experience - Possesses experience in designing and managing challenging education or social projects, and policy-relevant analytical work. Able to independently formulate country-relevant solutions to complex sector problems, taking into account cross-sectoral linkages.
  • Integrative Skills - Understands relevant cross-sectoral areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations.
  • Lead and Innovate - Develops innovative solutions with others.
  • Deliver Results for Clients - Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across WBG, and brings differing ideas into the forefront.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.
  • Make Smart Decisions - Recommends and takes decisive action.
  • General Economic Knowledge and Analytical Skills - Possesses Cross-country knowledge in economic specialty and demonstrates ability to link the macro, institutional, and micro-level behaviors; able to support findings/policy recommendations with credible analysis and tools.

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


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