Terms of Reference – The Student Situational Analysis 2024

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The Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT)

The Student Situational Analysis 2024

Terms of Reference

i. Introduction and Background

The Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) is a youth networking organization committed to the full participation of young people in sustainable development through advocacy and capacity development of youth organizations in Zimbabwe. YETT, the Zambian National Education Coalition (ZANEC) and the Swaziland Youth Empowerment Organization (Luvatsi) have a regional partnership to facilitate the Student Academic Freedom Regional Advocacy Program (SAFRAP) 2.0.

The goal of SAFRAP 2.0 is to create an inclusive environment where students can participate in the governance and pursuit of inclusive, equitable quality higher and tertiary education. The SAFRAP program involves young people from different student representative bodies in three Southern African countries, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini. The project seeks to build student-consensus which unifies voices and agency as well as amplify calls for immediate action in addressing academic and student welfare challenges.

The overall objectives of the SAFRAP 2.0 program are to:

  • Create an inclusive culture where students can participate in the governance and pursuit of inclusive and equitable quality higher and tertiary education.
  • Strengthen engagement in policy advocacy to create environments conducive to youth participation in national discourse and ensure youth development.
  • Build the capacity of student and student organizations to deliver for national development through training, technical and financial support.

This year, under the umbrella of the SAFRA 2.0 program YETT and partners will facilitate the third Student Situational Analysis study seeking to explore and investigate the status of students in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini. This is a follow-on study following analyses carried out in 2020 and 2022. The Student Situational Analysis findings will inform programming and advocacy in the pursuit of quality education in the aforementioned project countries and the Southern African region, and act as a follow up to the initial studies, measuring if anything has changed with regards to the context and situation of students in the region.

Ultimately, the research will inform advocacy that aims to increase the influence of students in the Southern African region, acting collectively through formal and informal groups, for greater academic freedom and inclusive and equitable quality higher and tertiary education.

This study will be carried out by a team of independent consultants, representing, and working in each of the project implementation countries, and who will work together to produce a final, comprehensive report. The team of consultants will work alongside the implementing partners in each country.

ii. Objectives of the Student Situational Analysis

The primary objective is to conduct a thorough investigation into the status of students in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Eswatini. The analysis will aim to examine the current conditions, challenges, and opportunities faced by students in the region regarding their access to and experience within higher and tertiary education institutions.

  • Informing Programming and Advocacy Efforts o Utilize the findings from the Student Situational Analysis to inform programming and advocacy initiatives aimed at improving the quality and inclusivity of higher and tertiary education.
  • Ensure that the analysis serves as a foundational resource for developing targeted interventions and policies that address the identified issues and promote positive change in the educational landscape of the project countries and the Southern African region.
  • Continuity and Comparison with Previous Studies
  • Build upon previous analyses conducted in 2020 and 2022 to track changes and trends in the student environment over time. o Evaluate whether there have been improvements, setbacks, or emerging challenges in student welfare and academic freedom since the previous studies.
  • Use the comparison with previous studies to assess the effectiveness of past interventions and identify areas requiring further attention or action.
  • Empowering Student Engagement and Advocacy
  • Empower students and student organizations by amplifying their voices and agency in advocating for their rights and interests within the education system.
  • Strengthen student consensus across the region to enhance collective advocacy efforts aimed at promoting academic freedom, inclusivity, and equity in higher and tertiary education.
  • Provide informed support, including training, technical assistance, and financial resources, to build the capacity of students and student organizations to actively engage in advocacy and contribute to national and regional development agendas.

By addressing these objectives, the Student Situational Analysis aims to generate valuable insights, drive evidence-based advocacy, and empower students to actively participate in shaping the future of higher and tertiary education in Southern Africa.

The overall objective of the research is to empower students and education stakeholders to drive change, advocacy, and oversight at multiple levels, and to empower student led and focused organizations to advance student rights.

The consultants will seek to answer the following illustrative questions:

  • Who are the students in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini in terms of economic and social categories and backgrounds?
  • How are students funding their educations?
  • What alternative forms of education (beyond higher and tertiary) are existent for young people?
  • Where are the students found, i.e. how are they distributed geographically?
  • Which students are marginalized, and how does this affect their attainment and motivation towards pursuing a higher education?
  • What are the key challenges that students face in their pursuit of higher education?
  • What economic, social, and political activities are students involved in?
  • How do students engage with various social, political, and economic processes to advance the pursuit of inclusive, quality, and equitable higher education?
  • What are the key challenges that students face in participation and engagement in the pursuit of inclusive, quality, and equitable higher education?
  • What opportunities exist and are available for students to engage, participate and advocate for the issues and causes that affect them?
  • What interventions are necessary to support students and create opportunities for them to engage, participate and advocate for their student issues?
  • What are the aspirations, challenges, and opportunities of students within the prevailing political, social, and economic contexts (including a brief analysis of the key national policies that constrain or promote student rights and welfare)?
  • How are students organizing and mobilizing around issues that affect them?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for the participation, leadership, and agency of students in the pursuit of education?
  • Do students feel that they have influence on education policy and advocacy at student, institutional, national, and regional levels?
  • What do students know and understand about their rights, roles, and responsibilities, including those provided for in national and institutional legislative frameworks?
  • Do students feel that their rights are promoted and protected?
  • How effective are students at organizing and mobilizing? What are practical recommendations for the strengthening of student voices and the student movement at national and regional levels?
  • How can student advocacy, participation and oversight be strengthened at multiple levels and how can civil society improve the advocacy and representation of student views?

iii. Study Methodology

This is a desktop and field-based assignment that involves consultation of both secondary and primary data.

The fieldwork will involve the collection of primary data from targeted informants in pre-selected areas and

Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and may be carried out virtually. The use of Political Economy Analysis (PEA) to understand the underlying political and economic dynamics; including underlying structural elements, historical factors, formal and informal rules, regulations and policies, and the current political and economic contexts in the three project countries, that shape policies, institutions, and processes is expected. Although analysis will draw information from existing studies, it should have practical issues from students by capturing voices based on lived realities. The fieldwork will involve the collection of primary data in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Eswatini. Participatory research methods, including students, are encouraged.

iv. Deliverables

  • Inception report upon hosting of an inception meeting
  • Student Situational Analysis Framework for carrying out the Student Situational Analysis as defined in these ToRs
  • Data collection tools
  • Data collection covering Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini (a data collection plan to be agreed during inception meeting)
  • Student Situational Analysis report, which establishes a comprehensive picture of key issues to student development and pursuit of inclusive, quality, and equitable higher education in Zimbabwe,

Zambia and Eswatini o   The final report should be less than 25 pages with emphasis placed on communicating key findings and recommendations, rather than long presentation of existing literature (structure to be agreed on during the inception meeting).

v. Timeline

The Consultancy will run from the 15th of April to the 15th of June 2024. Below is an indicative work plan:

ACTIVITY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8




Development of Data Collection




Data Analysis


Review and


Finalization and


vi. Consultant Technical Requirements

YETT requires the effort to be carried out by consultants with the following expertise;

  • Appropriate qualification and proven experience in research
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in quantitative data analysis o
  • Knowledge and experience in using existing and new data to draw up conclusions
  • An understanding of the higher and tertiary education system and context in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Eswatini respectively

vii. Application Procedure

Interested consultants should submit:

  1. An Expression of interest (EOI) by the 3rd of April, 2024 to [email protected]. The EOI should detail the researcher’s understanding of the ToRs, methodological approach, including methods of investigation, planned data collection tools and means of analysis. It will also detail a work plan, including dates of when specific tasks and deliverables will be completed. The EOI should also include a detailed budget indicating a breakdown of all costs for conducting this research such as consultancy daily rate, fieldwork and costs for the facilitation of virtual fieldwork. The EOI must not exceed 5 pages.
  2. Cover letter summarizing the applicant’s skills and experience relevant to the conducting of the analysis detailed in these ToRs.
  3. Detailed CV with names of 3 referees and their contact details (email and phone).
  4. At least 2 recent samples of an analysis like that called for in these ToRs for which the applicant was the lead author.
  5. Given that this is a regional study the consultants must be fluent in the main language of the implementation countries.

viii.     Evaluation Criteria

The proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria: Technical Skills and Experience (60 points); applicants will be evaluated based on the relevance of her/his technical skills and experience as they relate to these ToRs. Specifically, applicants will be evaluated on knowledge of and experience in conducting research and leading similar analyses. Writing skills (40 points); applicants will be evaluated on writing skills as demonstrated in the required application materials.

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