Senior Researcher for Contextual Analysis of Higher Education (USAID Learns – Social Impact)

Social Impact (SI) is a global development management consulting firm. We provide monitoring, evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity-building services to advance development effectiveness. We work across all development sectors including democracy and governance, health and education, the environment, and economic growth. Since 1997 we have worked in over 100 countries for clients such as US government agencies, bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations, and nonprofits.

Project Objective

SI is implementing the USAID/Vietnam Learns Contract. The scope of the five-year project is to support USAID/Vietnam staff and partners to implement more efficient, effective, and transparent programs by improving: (1) USAID and Implementing Partner (IP) capacity to achieve expected results; (2) USAID’s understanding and tracking of project performance; and (3) collaboration, learning, and adapting (CLA). Background and Purpose

Vietnam has been reforming the higher education sector in the last two decades to gradually move the university system from state-managed and funded toward more autonomous, competitive and independent institutions. The 2019 higher education revised law was a bold step that aimed to improve universities' competitiveness and quality to meet the need for a high-quality workforce that can transform the country in the context of Industrial Revolution 4.0. Despite policy reforms, the results have been mixed because of significant gaps between policy intent and actual implementation.

USAID supports a wide range of higher education partnership programs in Vietnam focusing on curriculum reform, faculty development, institutionalizing quality assurance, advancing accreditation and building the institutions and models for industry-academic collaborations. In order for those successful university level models to scale and have a broader impact in the sector, more efforts and investments are needed to improve the enabling environment.

USAID has recently awarded a new activity to provide system strengthening support for deep and sustainable improvements across the three largest public universities in the areas of governance, teaching, research, and industry linkages. USAID aims to work closely with the Ministry of Education and Training to explore possibilities to improve the policy environment for higher education in Vietnam.

Position Description

USAID Learns is seeking the support of a researcher with knowledge about higher education in Vietnam to provide an initial contextual analysis of the Higher Education Law. The researcher will work closely with USAID Learns to prepare 3-5 pages of contextual analysis on the Higher Education Law and relevant debates about the need for revision. The researcher will propose an outline with Learns before preparing the brief with details.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Researcher will undertake the following tasks:

  • Desk review
  • Prepare 3-5 page contextual analysis on Higher Education policy in Vietnam
  • The researcher may be requested to present the context analysis in a subsequent workshop.

Deliverables and Timeline

  • Level of effort: Up to 5 working days (or up to 6 days assuming the researcher will present the context analysis in a debriefing workshop)
  • Timeline: September – October 2022
  • Deliverables: 3-5 page contextual analysis and possibly a slidedeck for 10-minute presentation.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or higher in the field of higher education
  • Knowledge and working experience with Vietnam Higher Education policies
  • Strong writing and communication skills
  • Experience working with USAID is preferred, but not required.
  • The ability to maintain high-quality work with tight deadlines, including adapting to client requests in coordination with Learns.
  • Excellent professionalism, including focus, judgment, and discretion.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English and Vietnamese

The closing date for application: September 20, 2022. Selection and interviews will be performed constantly and interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

To apply, please merge both your CV and a cover letter (one-page briefly outlining your qualifications, motivations for applying) into one pdf file and submit it through the online portal.


SI is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Please, no phone calls.

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