REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST


Country: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Name of the Project: Higher Education Development Program (HEDP)
Implementing Agency: Ministry of Higher Education
Grant No: TF 0A0730
Project ID: P146184
Assignment Title Consultancy Services for the Third Party Validation (TPV) of Disbursement Link Indicators (DLIs)
Reference No: HEDP-C7
Contract Type: lump Sum
Duration of Assignment: 3 months

1. Background
Afghanistan has an under-developed higher education sector. The gross enrollment rate (GER) in higher education, at about six percent in 2014, is one of the lowest in the world. Among countries comparable to Afghanistan in terms of income per capita and/or geographical proximity, only a few countries such as Burundi, Chad, Eritrea, Gambia and Niger have lower higher education participation rates. Less than two percent of women aged 19-24 years are enrolled in higher education. This is one of the lowest proportions of women participating in higher education world-wide. The percentage of female academic staff members at public universities, at only fourteen percent, is also very small. Therefore, the higher education system needs to expand with a strategic focus on the future economic development of Afghanistan. The country requires a major increase in the number of university graduates to create a modern, well-educated workforce and the pool of qualified academic staff needs to be expanded urgently. In addition, the quality of university and governance of higher education needs to improve urgently and University teaching and learning needs to be modernized. In order to respond to above mentioned needs, MoHE launched a program in 2015 titled “Higher Education Development Program” (HEDP).
The program is a national multi-donor funded, government-led Program supported by World Bank through IDA and ARTF. The overall objective of the HEDP is to “increase access to, and improve the quality and relevance of, higher education in Afghanistan”. The HEDP will support the NHESP-II 2015-2020, which aims to develop the higher education sector by expanding enrollment, improving quality, and orienting higher education to promote the future economic and social development of Afghanistan.
2. Third Party Validation of DLIs.

According to the World Bank new financing mechanisms, the funding related to some of the activities during the lifespan of Higher Education Development Program is performance-based; they are called Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLI) which are the basis for disbursement. With this methodology, the donor does not provide financing to cover a program’s expense. Instead, it disburses money upon the delivery and verification of predefined results. In other words, this mechanism is an innovative lending instrument that ties funding directly to the delivery of results.

a) TPV Objectives:
The objective of the assignment is to facilitate verification of completion of three DLI activities implemented in the year 2018 by the Higher Education Development Program/Ministry of Higher Education (HEDP/MoHE) through a technical, independent and third-party validation. The verification will be based on the specific parameters defined under verification protocol by Higher Education Development PAD and Additional Financing project paper, Grant Agreement and Project Implementation Manual (PIM) to ascertain compliance. This consultancy shall require close interaction with MOHE and the relevant public universities at the national level. The parameters are enclosed of the ToR in annexes I and II and III.

b) Scope of work and methodology
The scope and extent of the TPV are to verify and validate the completion and achievement of three Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) in the year 2018 and submit a verification final report by 31 May 2019. The three DLIs are as following:
1. Number of female students enrolled in first year of priority degree programs at public universities (annual number).
This has to be equal or above 5,000 students by December 20, 2018. The priority degree program disciplines are described in annex I of the ToR;

2. Number of public universities with functional ICT centers for ICT based higher education in accordance with scorecard set out in the Project Implementation Manual to be 4 by December 20, 2018 (cumulative number). The scorecard for functionality of ICT is described in annex 2 of the ToR;

3. Number of universities with Internal Quality Assurance Units (IQAUs) functioning in accordance with the scorecard set out in the PIM to be 6 by December 20, 2018. The scorecard is in annex 3.

The intended study should help HEDP to:
• Verify the extent of progress on the three DLIs; (female enrollment, ICTs at four universities; and IQAUs at six universities)
• For female enrollment in priority disciplines; verify the achievement, as per MoHE and University records and reconcile any discrepancies in the records between the MoHE and University and provide one clear dataset which indicates whether the DLI has been achieved or not. The study should also provide supporting evidence of the achievement of this DLI (i.e. excel sheets which clearly indicate the first year enrollment at each university by priority discipline and other supporting evidence of achievement),
• Identify the growth rate of female enrollment in priority disciplines. This can be found from the comparison of seats reserved in priority disciplines and the net enrollment in the first semester of Dec 2018.
• Calculate the data based on the score card designed for ICTs and IQAUs, analyze the data and provide a realistic, ground based conclusion of the functionality of the ICT centers and IQAUs based on the respective score card criteria for each.
• For ICT centers and IQAUS, clearly identify which of universities have new ICT centers and IQAUs ,which are functional as per the ICT and IQAU scorecards; based on this data, clealyr state whether the relevant DLI has been achieved or not; and provide a clear rationale to support this conclusion
• Identify whether/ which the DLIs have not been achieved; indicate to what extent they have not been achieved; and provide a clear rationale to support this conclusion.
• determine the challenges on program and policy levels of DLIs verifications process and provide effective recommendations
Note:

During the data collection process, the Consultant Firm should not represent itself as an entity of the World Bank. The firm is an independent third-party agency and should represent itself as such.

When engaging in data collection at the universities, the Consultant Firm must coordinate with the University Operations Coordinators at all stages of the data collection process.

The consultant/firm will deliver the following task with the specific deliverables:
S.No Description of task Expected Deliverable
1 Identify methodology for the implementation of the TPV and develop the verification instruments/survey methods, (e.g. Secondary data source evaluation, verification questionnaire and etc).
• Implementation Strategy
• Data collection tools for all target audience (tools for key informant interviews, questionnaires and etc.)
2 Develop a comprehensive schedule for activities and all associated logistics required for successful completion of the project within the agreed timeline.
• Implementation plan with timeframe for all required activities.
3 Conduct a secondary study that include thorough review of all project documents and drawing and analysis that will also form the basis for the complete design of the study and development of verification questions. The documents can be Project Implementation Manual, Project Appraisal Document, ICTs related documents, female enrollment data source of MoHE for Dec 2018 and any other helpful document around those three DLIs.
• A brief report of the study identifying key areas of focus and fine tuning the overall objectives of the study.
4 The developed methodology, evaluation instruments/data collection tools, activities schedule, defined sample population and analysis of the secondary data should constitute a comprehensive inception report. After the approval of the plan by HEDP management and technical team, the consultant has to carry out the verification study and complete it within the agreed timeline.

Note: Inception report can’t be deemed as a reference throughout the report. The ToR should be prioritized if anything is not acceptable to HEDP.
• Inception Report
• Revised Implementation Plan (only if some areas with the timeframe are revised, otherwise the developed implementation plan would suffice)
5 Organize and conduct field data collection in both local languages (Pashto and Dari) with both men and women. In addition, data collection on gender segregated basis will provide a balance impact study of the program.
• Translated versions (into Pashto and Dari) of the developed data collection tools
6 Once the data has been collected, consult with OMST and relevant departments of the MoHE to clarify data discrepancies etc. • Cross checking and validation of the data
7 Prepare a draft final report (In English) with the following elements (but not limited to)
a) An Executive summary (1 page)
b) Methodologies (a separate methodology for each DLI) (1 page)
c) Result of the analysis according to the terms of reference (10 pages)
 General findings,
 DLI wise analysis
 Comparative look at the findings,
d) Problems encountered ( 1/2 page)
e) Lessons learned (1/2 page)
f) Conclusion (1 page)
g) Recommendation for HEDP (put in Annex)
h) Annexes presenting the data collection during the Study
i) Archive materials: complete survey, questionnaires, interviews and groups meetings documents including the list of interviewees and databases (Excel, SPSS or Access)
• TPV Report (draft)
8 Prepare and present a comprehensive final report in English, after incorporation all the comment and feedback given by the review committee members of MoHE, HEDP and World Bank.
• Assessment Report (final)
9 •

3. Timeline for activities
The TPV study will have to be delivered in three phases during 3 months.
I. Phase one, secondary data collection and desk review:
The consultant/consultancy can access appropriate documents and data available with HEDP including Project Implementation Manual (PIM), Project Appraisal Document (PAD), Female enrollment lists available with MoHE, Program M&E progress reports and any other supporting documents.
This activity is expected to start upon the commencement of the assignment and be completed within three weeks. Using the secondary data, the consultant will provide a complete inception report that would include a detailed plan and methodology on overall project implementation; identify knowledge areas that need clarification; and present methods to be used in data collection. This will also include the presentation and discussion of questionnaires which will be presented as part of the inception report.
The consultant/consultancy will select an appropriate sample size that is statistically significant for the study, wherever applicable. The actual data collection can be performed at the end of secondary data collection. After the approval of the inception report, HEDP will review and discuss necessary changes with the consultant for a period of one week. However, the consultant has to carry out massive consultation with the relevant units and field staff of the clients throughout the process.
Secondary data collection and research design as estimated will take a maximum period of one month both for the consultant/consultancy and approval by technical team in HEDP.

II. Phase two, field research and primary data collection:
An in-depth TPV study will be conducted to obtain the required information from the targeted key informants, sampled groups and beneficiaries.
The primary data can be collected from University’s deans, head of departments, ICT managers and employees and employees, ICT beneficiaries, technicians, ICT users, female students in priority disciplines, MoHE relevant department staff, universities’ relevant staff and HEDP staff. In addition, the consultant is obliged to seek any other reliable and useful sources for the verification of DLIs.
The field activities will start after the HEDP approves the inception report and this is estimated to take a maximum period of one month.
III. Phase three, data analysis and presentation:
Data entry and analysis will start immediately after the data is compiled from the field and will be completed within two weeks. However, the database for the data entry will be developed during the second phase based on the approved questionnaires and data collection tools.
On the completion of the primary data analysis, a preliminary report will be prepared, and the consultant/consultancy has to deliver a presentation on the key findings of the research to HEDP technical staff and management in order to get their feedback and comments. After the incorporation of the comments into the final version of the report. The final presentation will be delivered to key staff of HEDP.
A. Deliverables and Reports
The consultant/consultancy will deliver all reports in MS Word file and PDF format including all new data in tabulated form together with relevant summary table in MS excel and database at the time of submission of draft report and revised final report.
The consultant should deliver the following reports throughout the assignment.
a) Inception report: This will include detailed methodology of the study, analysis of secondary data and desk review, research instruments, detailed time line and work plan for carrying out the assignment.
b) Primary analysis report: This will include the primary analysis of elements discussed in the scope of work, Survey verification and monitoring mechanism, key findings, discussion of issues identified during the study and all supporting documents as annex such as list of interviewees and group discussions etc.
c) Final report (3 hard copies in English) and soft copies in relevant formats when/if necessary which needs to be submitted after accommodating all comments inputs. Altogether, it should not take more than 3 months from the commencement of the assignment.

4. Coordination and reporting progress
Regarding coordination mechanism, HEDP will form a committee from its relevant units head to oversee the whole process of the study. Moreover, any report and deliverable submitted to HEDP will have to be reviewed and approved by the OMST Director and committee members. The consultant/consultancy has to closely coordinate all its activities with Senior M&E Manager and should copy all members of the committee in its correspondence about the study.
After the commencement of the assignment, the consultant/consultancy has to regularly provide by-weekly progress update of activities to HEDP assigned committee.

5. Legal obligations
a) Ownership:
All the outputs/deliverables during the course of implementing the assignment will be the property of HEDP/MoHE. The consultant/consultancy will have no right of claim to the assignment or its outputs once completed. HEDP/MoHE will have exclusive copyright on report/study papers/documents /audio-visual produced as part of this assignment. The consultant/consultancy will not have any claim/rights and will not use or reproduce the contents of the above documents/materials without the written permission of HEDP/MoHE
b) Data protection:
The consultant/consultancy may gain access to data about HEDP’s work and internal documents. Consultant/consultancy must keep all such data secure and protected against improper disclosure or use except for the purpose of this particular assignment. Copies of the questionnaires used and filled by enumerators should be shared with the OMST.
c) Sub-contract.
Consultant/consultancy may not assign or sub-contract its rights and/or obligations to any company or individuals except the prior written consent of HEDP.
d) Field conduct:
The consultant/consultancy must treat all stakeholders and beneficiaries of HEDP with respect irrespective of their age and gender, marital status, religious beliefs, race, ethnic or national origin or any disability they may have.
e) Consultants assigned in negotiations
The consultancy/consultant must make sure that the study is undertaken by the consultants introduced during the negotiation phase. The consultancy/constant has no permission to change the consultants or conduct the assignment other than those introduced in negation phase. Any changes to the team must be communicated with HEDP, in case of emergencies. It still needs the written permission of HEDP at all.

f) Addressing the Comments
During the assignment, HEDP/MoHE and World Bank will have the right to have any kind of comments on the implementing strategies, inception report and the final report. The consultancy has to address all the comments. Final payment will be made and assignment closed only after the World Bank and the HEDP OMST and MoHE are satisfied.

Annex 1. Priority Disciplines for HEDP
The priority disciplines are defined in the NHESP and in subsequent dialogue with the Ministry of Higher Education, as:
• Physical and Life Sciences (biology, chemistry and physics, geology and earth sciences)
• Computing (computer science and computer programming)
• Engineering, manufacturing and construction (engineering, construction, electro-mechanics, chemical technology and mining)
• Health (pharmacy, general medicine, medical treatment, stomatology, and nursing)
• Environmental Protection (environment and environmental engineering)
• Agriculture (agriculture, veterinary forestry, crop and livestock production, agronomy, irrigation, animal husbandry and horticulture)
• Communication and information technologies
• Management and policy administration
• English language and English literature
• Journalism, Law, Sciences, Social Sciences and Education


ANNEX 2: CRITERIA FOR ASSESSING THE FUNCTIONALITY OF ICT CENTERS.
1. The DLI #3 aims to support the strengthening of the ICT system, especially by: (a) creating a pathway for students and faculty staff members to access online knowledge resources; and (b) by providing a platform for national and international academic collaboration among peers.

2. To monitor the progress of functional ICT-Centers a scorecard-based assessment has been developed to monitor progress, and to help strengthen program implementation.

3. Improvements to the physical facilities of selected universities, including additional IT equipment will be supported by the NHESP II. Faculty staff members would receive improved access to computer resources, and students would get greater access to well-equipped ICT Centers to access on-learning material on campus.

4. MoHE will initially develop an overall ICT Plan for the universities and higher education institutes specifying the required connectivity needed to accommodate the expansion of ICT Centers as well as the need for computers and associated equipment such as printers and internet access, and additional staff at the ICT Centers and their skills and training requirements.

5. The scorecard consists of three components with the following weightage:
1) Access of students to the ICT (weightage 50%)
2) ICT technical staff to maintain the ICT (weightage 35 %)
3) ICT Utilization (weightage 15 %)

6. For each of the three components indicators have been selected and weighted as shown in the attached scorecard. The maximum score is 100. ICT-Centers are assessed as functional, if their score is at least 75.
Table: ICT Performance scorecard
Indicators Ratio Weight Description
Student-PC At least 65:1 PC or less 50% The number of all enrolled fulltime students per computer
Technician-PC At least 1:60 PCs or less 35% The number of ICT technical staff per total number of PCs to maintain
ICT Utilization
40% or more 15% At least 40% of academic staff to utilize ICT services for teaching, learning and research

List of services:
1. Utilization of Internet for teaching/learning.
2. Utilization of user support applications for teaching/learning
a. MS Word
b. PowerPoint
c. Open source
3. Utilization of internet applications/tools
a. Firefox
b. Chrome
c. Safari
d. Microsoft Edge
4. Utilization of LMS
a. Moodle
b. edX
5. Utilization of Online storage/ tools
a. Dropbox
b. Google Docs/sheets
c. Any cloud storage
6. Utilization of Operating systems for teaching/learning
a. Windows
b. Linux
c. Mac
7. Utilization of shared (Network printer).
8. Utilization of VoIP (Voice over IP) Phone.

ANNEX 3. INTERNAL QUALITY ASSURANCE UNIT (IQAU) SCORECARD
The progress made by each IQAU, related to the implementation of the self-assessment process will be evaluated with the help of a scorecard developed specifically for the purpose. This performance-based scorecard is assessing the functionality of the IQAU and its progress against assigned targets. The scorecard consists of three main components:
1. Engagement / Establishment of the IQAU
2. Implementation of the QA process
3. Promotion of IQAU at the university

1. Engagement / Establishment of the IQAU (15%)
Scorecard Criteria*:
Criteria Score Comments
1. IQAU budget incorporated in the university’s recurrent budget.

3 Points
2 IQAU Manager appointed

6 Points The appointed IQAU Director must have experience in managing QA processes.

3 Fully equipped IQAU permanently established

3 Points Must have Internet access and necessary administrative support

4 IQAU established on university web-site

3 Points Must provide clear explanation of roles of QAC (Quality Assurance Committee at university level) and IQAU and an overview of university self-assessment action plan

*Assign a score based on the six criteria to a maximum score of 15 points.

2. Implementation of the QA process (50%)
SCORECARD CRITERIA*:
Criteria Score Comments
1 Develop an Institutional QA strategic Plan over five years and submit it to QAAD

12 Points QAAD will make available a template for an Institutional QA Strategic Plan. The Plan must be for minimum 5 years, be linked to the university Self-Assessment Action Plan (SAAP) if available and be approved by MoHE

2 IQAU manages the process of generating the SAAP

12 Points Must produce an effective action plan with achievable actions, timescales and accountabilities. Must also manage tracking of progress against action plan.

3 IQAU develops an institutional QA Policy Manual

5 Points Must capture key QA policies, processes and procedures in a QA Policy Manual

4 Develop an Institutional QA Strategic Monitoring Report (annual) and submit it to QAAD.

12 Points Must detail progress against SAAP as well as development in quality assurance culture and performance. To be submitted to MoHE annually.

5 IQAU administrates meeting of IQAU and QAC

3 Points Must ensure that QAC meetings are minuted and monitor progress against agreed actions

6 IQAU develops institutional understanding of international best practice in QA

6 Points Must develop relationships with QA experts outside of Afghanistan to support the development of QA within the institution

*Assign a score based on the five criteria to a maximum score of 50 points.

3. Promotion of the Internal Quality Assurance Unit (35%)
Scorecard Criteria*:
Criteria Score Comments
1 IQAU delivers an orientation session on the role of IQAU

3 Points Must be delivered to all staff – academic and administrative and form part of induction for new hires

2 IQAU actively promotes a QA culture throughout the institution.

5 Points Must deliver regular programme of information sessions focused on staff engagement in QA activities.

3 IQAU develops QA capabilities through-out the institution

10 Points Must deliver training workshops to develop the skills required to implement key QA Policy Manual

4 IQAU makes all information about QA policy, processes, and procedures available to all staff

7 Points Must ensure that the QA Policy Manual plus all other information relating to QA within the institution is available online plus ensure that hard copies are available in Faculty and Departmental offices

5 IQAU publishes results of QA activities online at the university web-site

10 Points Must ensure that results of external and internal reviews, including student surveys, are made available to all staff and to external stakeholders

*Assign a score based on the two criteria to a maximum score of 35 points.

RATING / SCORING CRITERIA
An IQAU is assessed as functional and meeting the Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) if the overall score is at least 75 points.
Qualification criteria of the Consultancy Firm:
a) The Consultant should be registered legal entity and should have been in business for the last 5 years in providing Consultancy Services of similar or related assignments. (The consultant is required to provide the Copy Certificate of Incorporation issued by relevant authority in country of establishment)
b) The consultant shall demonstrate having sound financial situation by submitting audited financial reports or any other credible financial documents in which the consultant annual turnover for any of the last three years (2016, 2017 and 2018) shall be AFN 15,000,000 (Fifteen Million Afghani).
c) The consultant shall provide proven experience for a minimum of one contracts with the value of AFN 8,250,000 (Eight Million and Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Afghani) having executed during last 5 years of similar nature indicating the duration, value and years of performance, which should showcase the expertise/ strength of the consultant for undertaking such assignments.
The Consultant while describing the assignment(s) should furnish the following details:
• Consultant should explain in what way the executed assignment(s) was/were similar in nature to the current assignment and also indicating the input of key experts provided for the same
• The Consultant should explain the exact role played by the Consultant in the assignment if the assignment was carried out in association with other firms as JV or in sub-consultancy for carrying out the assignment

Requirements for Consultants participating as Joint Venture, Consortium or Association:

Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub consultancy to enhance their qualifications. If consultants intend to associate with other firms, they are advised to clearly identify the lead partner and state the composition and nature of their association (JV/ sub-consultant) in their EOI.
In case of association between the firms are in the form of JV, the following requirements will also apply:
• The lead partner is required to be identified clearly and state the composition and nature of their association (JV/ sub-consultant) in their EOI.
• In case of JV, all partners i.e. the lead and JV member/s shall meet 100% of the shortlisting criteria of (a) (b) and (c) above.
• In case of Consultant who intends to associate with other firm(s) in the form of a sub-consultancy, the lead partner shall meet the shortlisting criteria of (a), (b) & (c) above.

Ministry of Higher Education now invites eligible consultants (Consulting Firms) to indicate their interest in providing the services. Interested consultants must provide information as below indicating that they are qualified to perform the services; interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (brochures, description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc.).
Legal References
Eligibility requirements in compliance with paragraphs 3.21, 3.22, & 3.23 of the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers, Procurement In investment Projects Financing, Goods, Works, Non-Consulting and Consulting Services November 2017. The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to paragraph 3.16 and 3.17 of the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers, Procurement In investment Projects Financing, Goods, Works, Non-Consulting and Consulting Services November 2017, setting forth the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest. In addition, please refer to the following information on conflict of interest related Page 4 of 7 to this assignment as per paragraph 3.16 and 3.17 of World Bank’s Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers available at www.worldbank.org/.

Selection Method
A Consultant will be selected in accordance with the selection based on the consultants qualification (CQS) procedures set out in the World Bank’s Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers, Procurement In investment Projects Financing, Goods, Works, Non-Consulting and Consulting Services July 2016, revised November 2017. The Guidelines are available at www.worldbank.org/procure.

Submission of EOI
Expressions of interest as per Annexure ‘A’ attached must be delivered in a written form to the address below (in person, by mail, or by e-mail) by 26 January 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Kabul Local Time
Interested Consultancy Firms may obtain further information at the addresses as given below during office hours from 09:00 to 16:00 hours Saturday through Wednesday.

Attention
Hamed Babak
Procurement Officer
Higher Education Development Program-HEDP-
Ministry of Higher Education
Kart-e-Char, Kabul, Afghanistan
Cell: +93 786 140 131
E-mail: hbabak@hedp.af
babak.hamed@gmail.com
Website: www.hedp.af

Annexure 1: Format for Expression of Interest

The expression of interest must be submitted as per the following format: {Note: In case documents submitted are in any language other than English, the consultant should submit a self-certified copy of the translated document in English (along with originals).}

SECTION 1: Organization Details (In case the EOI is being submitted as a Joint Venture, the information has to be submitted for the Lead Partner as well as other members of the Joint Venture separately.)

Part 1: Organization Detail
I Name of the Organization
II Detail of Organization • Address of the registered office:
• Telephone:
• Facsimile:
• Website:
III Information About Organization • Year of establishment: (copy the incorporation certificate shall be provide)
• Status of the Organization: (Public Ltd, Private Ltd, LLP etc.)

IV Name and designation of person authorized • Name:
• Designation:
• E-mail:
• Contact Number:
V Annual Turnover for the last three financials years Financial Year Annual Turnover (Million AFN)
2016
2017
2018

VI Number of Personal

Part 2 EOI respondent firm needs to mention its core business areas and any other relevant details/ experience in a descriptive format. EOI Respondent firm needs to mention its Technical and managerial capability for executing the scope of services.
Please provide a response with detail in not more than 2 pages

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