This proposed project looks to operationalise the salient findings from recent research on refugee students in higher education in Uganda. It looks to do so by drawing together a network of universities, civil society actors, and refugee students to begin to articulate a shared framework of support for these students particularly as it aligns with the Higher Education Certificate, an accredited body of study offered by five universities designed to widen participation for refugee students. This network will begin to address these impediments by identifying viable HE sector responses, both digital and analogue, to a: policy omissions b: social support and mentoring structures within HE and c: digital educational programming to support these refugee students in university, particularly as it corresponds to the Higher Education Certificate. This activity will co-create these outputs directly with refugee students.
Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in sub-Saharan Africa, at approximately 1.5 million mainly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, and Burundi. It is the country hosting the most refugees in sub-Saharan Africa (UNHCR, 2022). The country has a long history of welcoming refugees within its borders and is known for its progressive refugee integration policies, allowing refugees to settle among the local population and have access to basic services, including higher education. Uganda implements the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), emphasising the inclusion of refugees into national systems, particularly in the education, health and livelihoods sectors. Uganda, among other partners and nations including the UK, is committed to the 15by30 target – ensuring that 15% of refugee women and men can access higher education by 2030. The tertiary education target for 2030 is to enrol 15% of college-eligible refugees in tertiary, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) or connected education programmes in host and third countries, and to achieve equitable gender representation across tertiary enrolments.
This project looks to address indicative aims of the 15by30 framework, namely by engaging with the following: advocating for and showcasing examples of reducing policy barriers to education, internship, and employment for refugees; improving data sharing and transparency procedures amongst Makerere University, Gulu University, Nkozi University, Bugema University, the University of Edinburgh, the Refugee Law Project, the Refugee Engagement Forum, and refugee student representatives from each of the Ugandan universities; and promoting and expand training opportunities for marginalised groups, particularly through the Higher Education Certificate.