Access to primary education in refugee settlements: A case of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda
Kagisha, Kellen Karen
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Obtaining quality education is not only a fundamental human right but also a tool for recovery in times of emergencies for refugee children. Therefore, providing access to inclusive, safe, protective and child-friendly education for refugee children remains a priority in Uganda. A favorable and legal and policy framework exists protecting the right to education of refugees. Nevertheless, several factors continue to affect refugees from accessing primary education in Bidibidi refugee settlement. Most of these factors are not unique to Bidibidi. These factors include low absorption capacity of government primary schools, shortage of qualified teachers, inadequate sanitary facilities, violence against children in school, the language of instruction, costs of education among others. In addition, under the stress and pressure of displacement, many adolescents and/or families prioritize the short-term benefits of early marriage, domestic labor at home or elsewhere or wage-earning activities. Some interventions have been undertaken by civil society organizations in partnership with the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, these interventions collectively, fall short of ensuring that state responsibility on the right to education under international human rights law for refugees. Therefore, context-specific and sustainable responses based are still required to ensure the fulfillment of refugees’ right to education, responding to the ambition of inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030.
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