Integrating refugee students into Ugandan higher education: Language, othering, and everyday enactments of participation

Dr Rebecca Nambi, Michael Gallagher, Dr Rovincer Najjuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines the everyday enactments of participation of refugee students in Ugandan higher education emerging from a research project (2020-2022). Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action was used to determine how students responded to the dominant languages, further noting the acts of othering that occur throughout this process that impact this participation and inclusion. Data was collected from three public and four private universities beginning in 2020 and ending in 2021 through interviews with refugee students and administrative staff who worked routinely with these students. The findings reveal social spaces within universities that allow for participation that largely sit outside the formal curriculum. These include the networks of support for the refugees themselves, and their engagement with informal activity, such as city walks and galas. However, the catalyst that initiated interaction with these spaces emanated from their aspirations for the future and their sense of communicative capacity in relation to those aspirations. Recommendations include providing explicit communication to point them directly to events, spaces, and opportunities that they can exploit to advance their integration process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Comparative and International Education
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Uganda
  • higher education
  • refugees
  • forced displacement
  • communicative action
  • nclusion
  • Habermas


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