Head of Academics

  • Contract
  • Athens
  • Posted 5 months ago

Better Days is looking for a Head of Academics to lead the academic team of ‘Gekko Kids’ in Athens and provide leadership in the areas of curriculum design and development, teaching methodology, assessment, and planning.

Better Days Greece was founded in Greece in  2016 in response to the influx of refugees arriving in Lesvos, Greece. It is the Greek implementing partner Better Days, a Swiss NGO. Together we have supported many projects in Greece, Lebanon, Serbia, and Syria. We want to see a world where refugees and asylum seekers are guaranteed access to their rights and are treated with dignity and humanity. A world where no child under any circumstances is forced to endure the physical and psychological trauma currently faced by millions of children across the world. Some of our most successful projects to date include: The Olive Grove/Better Days for Moria, Elpida Refugee Centre, TAPUAT Child & Family Hub, EcoHub, Socrates Sports & Development, MIRE (Mapping, Identification & Registration Exercise for UASC), Central Triage Pharmacy,  Themida Greece and of course our flagship Gekko Kids. Better Days’ primary missions are based in Athens and on Lesvos.

Better Days Greece has worked within the refugee community and as part of the grassroots and formal sector to support those seeking a safer future, with a specific focus on holistic support for unaccompanied and separated children and youth.  Since inception, we have successfully implemented several interventions in Moria camp on Lesvos and designed and managed globally awarded and recognised humanitarian programs in Athens, Lesvos, and Thessaloniki. Our flagship project Gekko Kids (2017-2022), was an alternative educational centre for UASC (unaccompanied and separated children) implemented in Lesvos. Gekko is focused on providing high-quality, individualised education and support and was  recently shortlisted by the 5th Global Entreps Awards Committee as one of the 100 Best Practices in the world on Sustainability (UN SDGs),  Innovation and/ or Good Governance in education programming.

At Gekko, we strive to create a curriculum that expands outside the traditional academic structures and allows our students to explore different facets of education that inspire creativity and personal development. Our non-traditional and innovative teaching methods, the experience of our staff and the individualised approach characterising our work have allowed our students  to improve their educational and employment prospects, obtain accreditation and assume agency in their lives. The provision of a dignified, safe and child-friendly space is foundational for the effective implementation of our programs.

Job Description:

This is a position that requires non-conventional thinking, and excellent organizational and problem solving skills. The role will ensure that ‘Gekko Kids’ fulfills its main function as a non-formal, non-traditional educational center: to offer quality education to its students and enhance their prospects for personal growth and career/academic development. Specifically, the role requires confidence with curriculum D&D,  HR management and MEAL, since it will oversee Gekko’s academic program to ensure that students receive an education that meets their needs and interests, as well as any relevant industry standards.

This is a field-based position located in Athens and the right candidate must be familiarised with the Greek educational and humanitarian context, or be able to demonstrate their experience in a similar position in the field.

The right candidate must be confident to promote the educational philosophy of the organisation. They will be expected to share the ethos and pathos of Better Days to support students overcome barriers that prohibit them from accessing education, and note the limitations that traditional educational methods have on displaced communities, critically challenge outdated and ineffective practices and thus expose the academic team to new and exciting learning. Continuous training and personal development is expected from the academic team.  Over the past 5 years Gekko has adopted the following practices: individual student assessments and personalised student plans, Social & Emotional learning practises,  one-on-one counselling, co-teaching, project-based approach and blended learning.

The Head of Academics will work closely with the School Counselor, Gekko’s educational team, Better Days back-office, and management team.

Main functions include:

Phase 1 Gekko Launch (Feb-Apr 2023)

  • D&D: contribute to the design of the service provision process of Gekko Kids, by developing SOPs and key documentation such as roadmaps, templates and policies.
  • M&E: Identify areas for monitoring and evaluation, and contribute to the design of a solid M&E system alongside our M&E lead
  • Outreach & Communication: represent BD in external meetings, identify partners, and other learning opportunities for Gekko students, review partnership opportunities and support to establish  student pathways for access to formal/  advanced education in Greece or abroad
  • Lead the design and development of an academic program and curriculum that is tailor-made for refugee youth and take into account BD’s pedagogical philosophy and Gekko Kids methodologies.
  • HR: Recruit the educational team, draft and implement training and inductions to the educational team, work closely with BD’s volunteer coordinator and other members of the team to establish quality standards for the recruitment and coordination of volunteer teachers and the vetting of  project proposals from third parties

Phase 2 Summer School (May 2023 – onwards)

  • Manage the academic staff incl. hiring new faculty members, overseeing the training and L&D of each member of the academic team and reviewing performance
  • Analyse data and prepare donor reports
  • Analyse data and prepare senior-level reports in order to help the school improve its academic and operational standards. This could include monitoring KPIs, quarterly assessing the needs and expectations of the student body, noting context/policy developments that affect our work, reviewing student/partner/staff satisfaction, identifying risks and opportunities as they arise and offering contingencies
  • Oversee the general operations of the school, including student activities, campus security, and maintenance of facilities
  • Hold faculty meetings to discuss policy changes or other important issues
  • Oversee the admissions process to ensure that all applicants meet the school’s requirements for admission (compliance)
  • Oversee the implementation of our curriculum (compliance) and methodologies
  • Coordinate with other staff members to ensure that administrative policies are followed by all faculty members
  • Evaluate the effective adoption of SEL and other child-friendly, trauma-informed methodologies by teachers post-training / submit report to SC
  • Establish and maintain an effective working relationship with students and their guardians
  • Promote well-being and cultivates a positive, trauma-aware environment, that promotes dialogue and peer learning
  • Provide academic counseling and/ or teaching as required

Educational Requirements and Experience: (candidates who do not meet the below criteria will not be considered)

  • Excellent level of English and Greek
  • University Degree in Education
  • Working experience as a Head of Academics or a similar senior role with focus in Policy, Curriculum Development, team management and school administration
  • Proven ability to teach and train other members of the team
  • Proven experience working with displaced populations in Greece or abroad
  • Excellent understanding of the national educational system
  • Key characteristics: we are looking for a confident and experienced professional, a visionary leader with a passion for social equality and education
  • Additional experience in a relevant area such as counselling, sociology, psychology and special education will be taken into consideration

Post Conditions:

  • The role is field based
  • Location: Athens, Greece
  • Status: Full-time position
  • Starting date: immediate
  • Duration: 3-month probationary period / with 6-month long extension(s)

Further information:

Better Days is a small and dynamic organisation looking to hire people who are passionate about humanitarian work, understand its risks and complexities, and are interested in investing in their role long-term. We are a quality-driven organisation determined to provide grassroots, holistic and effective solutions to support the integration and de-victimization of displaced communities in Europe, focusing on refugee education and empowerment of youth. Our colleagues come from all over the world, and our official business language is English. The ideal candidate will be inducted for two weeks and trained extensively during their time with Better Days. At the end of a third month’s contract, the candidate is expected to participate in Better Days’ Employee Survey and Self-Assessment, which is part of their employee evaluation.

How to apply:
To apply, all applicants should please send their CV and a cover letter in English to: [email protected] with the subject “Head of Academics application”. Candidates who attach their CVs in any other language will not be considered.

Due to excessive workload, only successful candidates who meet the minimum criteria will be contacted. Note that BD has a thorough 3-step interview process, and our average processing time is 30-days depending on our workload.

Interviews will start early February.  Closing date: 31/01/2023 or until the  position is filled.

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