Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Secondary Education a Slim Hope for Refugee Youth

Posted in Education by KANERE on January 31, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 2 / January 2009


Of the 1,215 candidates who sat for the 2008 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in Kakuma Refugee Camp, only 40 (3%) will be eligible to continue their education at the camp secondary school. With the classrooms of Kakuma Refugee Secondary School barely filled, the future of hundreds of youth is uncertain.

Of the 440 students who earned passing marks of 250 and above on KCPE exams, 400 were Sudanese. Under the Tripartite Agreement signed by the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and the UNHCR, no Sudanese students will be allowed to enroll in form one of the camp secondary school.

Only 10 of the 40 non-Sudanese students eligible to attend secondary school are girls.

The deputy head teacher of Kakuma Refugee Secondary School reported on the current situation. “The school has admitted few students. There is not a single Sudanese in form one. But the school is looking forward to admitting more students from other schools outside the camp.” She refers to non-Sudanese refugee students attending Kenyan primary schools who attained passing KCPE marks.

In previous years, there was stiff competition for students to enter secondary school in Kakuma camp. Now with the new educational policy affecting Sudanese students, the form one classrooms of Kakuma Secondary School are largely empty.

Sudanese students say they are only left with only three options. Those who can afford school fees may attempt to join Kenyan schools, while those who cannot afford fees may return to Sudan to seek schools there. The third alternative is to stay in home in the camp and “bid education goodbye for life.”

Students who will be left out of secondary schools this year report mixed feelings. “I don’t know exactly what will happen to me,” says one Sudanese learner who passed KCPE with high marks. “I really had high hopes and great expectations of continuing with my education up to even university level. We were told to go back to Sudan and find a place in secondary schools in Sudan. I’m afraid there are no schools in Sudan and the few which are there don’t offer quality education compared to those in Kenya.”

Another Sudanese student shared, “I fear going back to Sudan. Some parts of Sudan have not yet received peace the one can trust. Peace has not really reigned in some regions. It’s like I’m forced to go back to my country yet peace is not there.”

 The deputy head teacher of Kakuma Refugee Secondary School said the new policy cannot be changed and there is little she can do for students seeking education. But she adds, “In my opinion, the [Sudanese] students are denied their right to education.”

But according to an anonymous source, the UNHCR is not obliged to provide secondary education to refugee youth. “According to minimum requirements, UNHCR is only mandated to provide elementary education. So under those circumstances, we believe the objectives are met, even if global requirements aren’t met.”

UNHCR may consider it necessary only to provide refugee youth with a basic primary education, but the results of the KCPE exams demonstrate that they are failing to meet this standard. Only 36% of the students who sat for exams passed the minimum requirement for a primary education certificate.


8 Responses

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  1. Jeremy said, on February 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Why does the new policy of education refuse to acknowledge change if it is producing inferior results? How can the UNHCR be content with these sub par results when the very foundation for their existence is built upon improvement?

  2. Kenyan dude said, on May 2, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Maybe the refugees don’t value education like Kenyans. Or it’s a gene thing. The refugee parents prefer to have their kids beg for them in the streets of Westlands and Parklands in Nairobi instead of benefiting from free education in the camps. Along Rhapta Rd, Westlands, they were squatting illegally on the roadside so that they can beg and avoid paying rent. They were also urinating, defecating, spitting, and littering on the roadsides and storm drains, and making endless noise even at 4am. At least they’ve now been removed. If you look at schools offering free education, the ones attended by Kenyans are overcrowded while those attended by refugees are operating below capacity. That’s proof that the refugees don’t value education like Kenyans.

  3. JOSE said, on June 8, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Whatever your name sound like,may be the same way your mind is,I thought you can reason wisely rather than making these comment,anyway I donot think there is someone in this world who doesnot value education as you said and beleive me refugees are more ambitious than the so call kenyan.

  4. Silvio Ewak Siro said, on September 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    It is but very sad that this policy of exempting sudanese students from joi ning education in the camp. this is not good, I comment that this policy should be repealed and new one be enacted to replace ths one.

  5. Bishar said, on December 22, 2009 at 12:27 am

    @ Kenyan dude…. i doubt your sanity cuz you are enclosed in a small environment that is you cant see beyond westlands or parklands. Go to Eastleigh on weekends and see the thousands of kenyans shopping there…. some of them catch bus from as far as kawangware,komarock, Donholm, kayole, South b & c, kibera and even githurai and thika.. Ask them why they chose to come this far? they said there are variety of items to buy in eastleigh for half the price than in nai tao or any other places in nairobi. See. And half of these people running these business are refugees and they understand business better than other kenyans and therefore benefiting the kenyan society by giving them what they want…
    I therefor advice u think before you write shyt about refugees cuz some of us refugees who are now in western world are doing better at school and are on big scholarship!!!

  6. African black said, on January 28, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Kenyan dude,you are very stupid and foolish thief!! please think wisely before you said such a silly words!! Refugees are not like Kenyans who are thieves and criminals in their own country,Sudanese,Somalis,Congolese and other Nationalities who are Refugees here in Kenya are not beggars or robbers!! they do participate in illegally activities nor they are Greedy,moreover Refugees are they one who value education so much compare to whosoever Kenyans you think are brilliant in Academic than Refugees students!!so do not let the stupidity and frivolity control your idle mind!!and please mark my words!! you can never ever see any foreigner here in Nairobi begging a Kenyan citizen or White people!!

  7. Lonny Orzech said, on February 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm

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