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George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


Education is a tool critical for a good future and success in an individual’s life. Without education, opportunities are lost. For vulnerable populations, including refugees, education is often not an indivisible right; living in a foreign country fleeing violence and persecution creates a difficult situation for learning. In Uganda, where there are over 600,000 refugees, hundreds of thousands of children are disregarded in the quality of their education. Kyangwali Refugee Settlement is one of ten Ugandan refugee settlements in Hoima district, housing over 40,000 Congolese and Sudanese refugees.

This research combined a practicum with Action Africa Help – Uganda, as well as qualitative research in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Hoima District to investigate the current state of educational opportunities for refugee youth. The researcher utilized a variety of different methods in their research. First, the researcher learned the assessment tools in order to properly evaluate education through refugee education. Second, the researcher assessed teachers and school administrations through interviews and focus groups. Next, the researcher conducted surveys with upper primary and secondary school students to understand crosscutting issues. Last, the researcher interviewed secondary school students to comprehend individual challenges.

The objectives of the research were as follows: first, the study broadly examined the education system in Kyangwali and identified pertinent challenges refugee children face in accessing a quality primary education. In conjunction, the quality of education was evaluated using standards of evaluation. Next, post-primary opportunities in the settlement were evaluated to understand the quality of secondary education.

Accessibility of school is an extensive problem for primary-aged children in Kyangwali; schools are usually at least an hour and a half from children’s homes and with the overwhelming majority of refugees in Kyangwali being subsistence farmers, many are kept home to dig or plant in the garden. Classrooms are congested or in disrepair, with up to eight children sitting on a bench made for four or five. This study also disclosed refugee-specific issues regarding language, gender, and culture. To conclude, this study addresses avenues of change that AAH-U or UNHCR could utilize in order to increase primary school enrollment and improve the quality of education received.


African Languages and Societies | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Inequality and Stratification | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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