Hopeful futures for refugees in higher education: Cultivation, activation, and technology

Michael Gallagher, Sandra Nanyunja, Martha Akello, Apollo Mulondo, Juan-Jose Miranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper discusses hopeful futures for higher education and the use of technology in realising those futures through the lens of refugee education in Uganda. Through an analysis of qualitative research done with refugee students and teachers participating in a blended bridging programme designed to prepare students for entry and success in higher education, this paper explores the interplay between contingency and positions of hope for refugee students in relation to higher education and further assimilation into civic society. Two themes emerged from the analysis that suggested a prioritarian orientation for higher education to realise a more hopeful future. First, hope renders as an act of cultivation as refugee students become exposed to new concepts and develop confidence in relation to them. Second, digital technologies broaden the cultivation of hope towards greater civic participation, even if access to higher education is not achieved. Third, hope correlates to action not necessarily as a linear progressive trajectory but as a diligent watchfulness for positive possibility. The implications for higher education are that taking a prioritarian lens for refugees in educational design engages with the contingencies that impact all, placing the sector deliberately in search of positive possibility in its orientation and design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital education
  • Uganda
  • refugee and migration studies
  • refugee education
  • futures studies


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  • Foundations for All Toolkit

    Akello, M., Cole, G., Gallagher, M., Mulondo, A., Falisse, J-B., Reynolds, A., Atherton El-Amine, B. & Nanyunja, S., Feb 2023, 114 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

    Open Access
  • Blended learning in refugee education: An interim report on the Foundations for All project in Kampala and Kiryandongo, Uganda

    Nanyunja, S., Akello, M., Atherton El-Amine, B., Cole, G., Egwalu, R., Gallagher, M., Kompogo, M., Lugala, C., Miranda, J-J., Mulondo, A. & Symons, K., 26 May 2022, e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries. AFRICOMM 2021. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering. Sheikh, Y. H., Rai, E. I. A. & Bakar, A. D. (eds.). Springer, p. 510-526 (Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access

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