The Refugees’ Act of Uganda (2006) and Urban Refugee Secondary Education. Case Study: Refugees in Kisenyi Ward of Kampala City
Author: Nyende Samuel
Supervisor: Benedict Kabiito
This study was conducted to explore the policy role of the Refugees’ Act of Uganda (2006) in urban refugee secondary education in Kisenyi ward of Kampala city. The study had the following specific objectives; to evaluate the appropriateness of the existing secondary education curriculum to the needs of the refugees in Kampala city; to examine the means of financing the secondary education of refugees dwelling in Kampala city; and to explore the influence of the host communities on the refugees living in Kampala city.
This study was based on a case study qualitative research design. The study initially had a sample size of 35 (thirty-five) participants but 33 participants were reached for data gathering. The sample included 11 refugee parents, eight (08) refugee youth in Secondary school, eight (08) selected school teachers, one (01) staff of Inter Aid Uganda, and five (05) opinion leaders in the Somali community of Kisenyi ward who were purposively selected. The inclusion of these people was attributed to the fact that they somehow faced or rather lived with refugee education which was the main focus of this investigation. Moreover, the study having adopted a qualitative design, it was dependent on a constructivist ontology and interpretivist epistemology.
The findings indicated that the local schools needed to consider imparting in the refugees the ability to effectively socialise with the different communities. It was highlighted that this needed to get high on the agenda of any adjustments in curriculum development with consideration to refugee needs. In brief, the opinions on the existing curriculum were contrary among the participants depending on the personal experiences of the individual. It was indicated that financing refugee education in the Kisenyi Ward is by and large the responsibility of the refugee parents. Findings also indicated that the responsibilities of paying schools fees and the high rent these refugees faced in Uganda exacerbate their already difficult situation. Findings further pointed to inconsistences in influence of the host communities to the urban refugees in Kisenyi ward. Some participants indicated that the host communities were generally hospitable or welcoming to the refugees. However, they highlighted that the refugees themselves were hostile to the host communities.
In conclusion, the urban refugees in Uganda grappled with multiple challenges. Inspite of the fact that few can be dealt with at a time, interventions directed towards their wellbeing are important. In light of this, as a people or a nation, we need to consider mechanisms to provide relative comfort to the refugees and providing mechanisms to improve urban refugee secondary education is one option.
It was also recommended that communities in Uganda be sensitized by the Office of the Prime Minister and other refugee aid agencies. It was also recommended that the government of Uganda and refugee aid agencies consider vocational training as a short term intervention with regard to improving the skills of the urban refugees