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Qualitative Research On Promising Policies For Teacher Management In Refugee Contexts In Uganda

Teachers are the key to success in any education system. In refugee settings, the role of teachers is particularly significant, as they can provide crucial continuity and socio-emotional support. They are sometimes the only educational resource available to students. Yet little is known about who are the teachers working in refugee-hosting communities. How are they recruited, trained and supported? [1] IIEP-UNESCO and Education Development Trust are working together to provide research-informed policy recommendations for better management of teachers working with refugee children. This research covers four countries i.e; Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and includes case study reports and policy briefs for each of them

Eight Tech Consults was engaged by IIEP-UNESCO to carry out the research in Uganda. This research will provide the Government of Uganda and key partners with evidence-informed policy guidance on how to nurture and sustain a thriving teacher workforce in refugee settings. The case study will identify promising policies and implementation strategies for the management of teachers in primary schools in refugee settings in Uganda, as well as potential areas for further policy development through comparative analysis across the country. This study is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 “to ensure that teachers are empowered, effectively recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.”

The research methodology is based on a mixed-methods approach to research, including:

  • Surveys and focus groups of teachers working with refugees,
  • Semi-structured interviews with UN representatives, government officials, and members of the education community at regional, local or school levels,
  • Analysis of existing data and regulatory policies and documents.

The objectives of the research include;

  1. To identify current international, regional, and national policies that guide the Ugandan Ministry of Education (MoE) and partners in the management of teachers in refugee settings
  2. To build an understanding of who is teaching refugees at the primary-level in different settings and how they are managed in practice
  3. To support filmmakers engaged by IIEP-UNESCO with identifying suitable teachers to participate in a documentary about teachers in refugee settings and help with filming logistics and follow-up with schools and teachers as necessary
  4. To identify potential areas for further policy development to support effective teacher management in refugee settings.

The research was carried out in two phases (I &II); Phase I activities included a) Review of key documents, b) Interviews with stakeholders at the central level, C) Interviews and focus groups at the district and school level, d) Analysis of qualitative data and report writing,

Upon the successful completion of phase 1, a number of gaps were identified that required to be addressed thus the need for phase 2 which involved the engagement of more stakeholders that were key in the research which included the sub-county chiefs, the Center Coordinating Tutors, The School Inspectors, Primary schools in the Refugee Host communities, Private schools in the settlement and Teaching assistants in schools who are basically Refugees.

Based on this background, Phase II was carried out in Three Settlements i.e.  Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Nakivale Refugee Settlement and Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Kiryandongo, Insingiro and Kamwenge districts respectively. A total of 15 schools were sampled (5) from each settlement.

The Eight tech team with the teachers from the different schools in Kiryandongo Refugee settlement.

Eight Tech Team of Researchers conducted physical interviews at each of the five schools in the three settlements targeting four categories of stakeholders in each school i.e. the Head Teachers, the Teachers (Both National and Refugee Teachers), the School Management Committee(SMC) and the Parent-Teacher Association(PTA).

Discussion with the teachers in different schools Left: Nakivaale Refugee Settlement
Right: Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement

Some of the key highlights identified from the research include;

  1. Majority of the teachers in the Primary schools have a grade three teaching certificate
  2. Most teachers are aware of the existence of the teacher policy but not quite knowledgeable of the content therein
  3. Some of the teachers in the settlement have considered going for upgrading
  4. All teaching assistants found in the refugee schools interviewed are refugees recruited to help in the challenge of language.
  5. There is a major challenge of accommodation for teachers and limited accessibility of clean water in the settlements.
  6. Private schools in the settlement do not have center numbers
  7. Existence of More policies that guide in the management of teachers in refugee settings were identified, these include; The Education Response Plan, The Education Service Commission Regulation, 2012 among others
  8. Increase in the number of students after the lockdown and this was highly observed in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement being that new refugees are coming in from Congo
  9. Schools indicated that some of the Teachers participated in home learning and this was highly sponsored by the NGO/Education partners in the settlement i.e. Finn Church Aid, Windle International, Save the children among others
  10.  Clarification on the roles of the different stakeholders in schools ie PTA, SMC among others

Furthermore, details (research findings, discussions, recommendations and conclusions) will be included in the country report that will be published by the UNESCO-IIEP team upon completion of the exercise.

But as we prepare for this report you can as well make your contribution on teacher management in refugee settings, reach out to us on info@8technologies.net.


[1] http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/teacher-management-refugee-settings

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