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Conflict Sensitive Education for out-of-school and over-age youth in Dadaab, Kenya: Attempts to stabilise, rebuild or build the education system
Even before the publication of the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE) manual in 2013, practitioners internationally were testing and proving different conflict sensitive strategies, many of which are highlighted in the CSE Guidance Note. From June to August, I had the privilege to work with the Refugee Education Trust’s (RET) Dadaab team in Kenya. In this discussion post, I will speak to my understanding and experience with attempting CSE with out-of school and over-age youth in the refugee camps around Dadaab in order to open up discussion about CSE for adolescents and youth. The next few paragraphs outline my experience in Dadaab and are followed by discussion questions linking practice with the Guiding Principle from INEE: Stabilise, rebuild or build the education system.
Dadaab by the Numbers
Dadaab is a unique emergency context. It is protracted and the camps are subject to national and international law that restrict refugees’ movements and right to work.
- As of 31 August 2014, 339,606 Somali refugees live in the camps (data source), not including refugees from Ethiopia, South Sudan, and other locations who are sizable minorities in several of the camps.
- Only 4% of the total school-going population are in secondary schools. Roughly 3,000 boys and less than 1,000 girls are currently enrolled in secondary school, according to the education data gathered by UNHCR in Dadaab in June 2014.
- 16% of eligible boys continue to secondary school, 6% of girls, and 12% of all students
- There are only 7 conventional secondary schools and 3 ALPs (run by RET)
These figures are compounded when we consider that many youth who completed primary school are not able to go to secondary school, thus creating a large population of over-age youth unable to return to school
CSE and RET programming
The CSE Guidance note specifically focuses on youth, with some consideration of the unique position that youth may find themselves in during and after conflict and natural disasters. Specifically, the Note emphasizes the accessibility of education for youth, highlighting common concerns in educational programming in emergencies which emphasize primary education and literacy above secondary education, accelerated learning programming, and out-of-school training, either vocational or linked with community development. RET is exploring and expanding an Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) for secondary school in Dadaab. The school serves as a program to build skills of refugees in the camps, while not (re)building a long-term educational programming or infrastructure. The ALP works with teachers from the camps, who are age-mates and community members with the students creating a supportive environment for team building. Finally, RET also provides frequent in service training opportunities for teachers, which helps build their skills, though teacher retention is low as many leave to pursue studies outside of the camp or for personal/ family reasons.
Discussion 6: Stabilise, rebuild or build the education system – Secondary Education, Accelerated Learning and engaging out-of-school and/or overage youth
- Strengthen institutional systems; staffing capacity and competencies
- Strengthen the process of supplying and training teachers (and teacher trainers)
- Strengthen the Teacher Development Management Information System, the Education Management Information System, and teacher salary systems
- Ensure adequate number of trained teachers who reflect the diversity of their societies (different ethnic and religious groups, and gender).
- Provide safe, relevant, appropriate, continuous education to children and youth in accordance with the INEE Minimum Standards and aligned with national priorities
- Favour fairness, transparency and accountability
Questions for Discussion
- What is the role of governmental agencies in a setting like Dadaab to increase access to education for out of school youth?
- As agencies support programming that is based on national and international curriculum, how can they(we) also engage in creative practices to ensure conflict sensitive education is practiced? IE. Creating unbiased exams for refugees or displaced people who speak different languages, etc.
- How can RET and other implementing agencies engage youth in educational programming from the start of a project? What are the limitations of including out-of-school youth in developing programming and conducting situational analyses?
- How can teachers better support youth identity formation and understanding of the self in the world in emergency settings to support stabilization of the education system?
- What are some examples of implementations of EMIS in emergency settings such as Dadaab?
Allyson Krupar is a PhD Candidate in Adult Education and Comparative International Education at Pennsylvania State University. This discussion is moderated by: Minna Peltola, AYTT Co-Convener
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! We look forward to reading your discussion comments by 7 November 2014.