The University of Nairobi, in collaboration with Moi and Kenyatta Universities, held a one-day workshop, consisting of 6 sessions with various activities, intended at providing opportunities for discussions and dialogue about implementation of refugee-targeted programs in Kenyan Universities. This session was hosted at the Utalii Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speakers and Participants
The session was hosted by Loise Gichuhi, Njeri Kiaritha and Priscilla Ndegwa.
The workshop was attended by 30 participants from different organizations:
- University of Nairobi, Faculty of Education members
- Kenyatta University, Faculty members
- Assistant Director of Education Directorate of Policy, Partnership and EACA MoE
- Coordinator (Daadab Refugee Centre, KU)
- Representative from Windle International Kenya
- Representatives from Githunguri High School
- Representative from Moi University
- Association for Aid and Releif, Japan (AAR Japan) – Kakuma Officer
- Director MDF (Development on the Move)
- Quality Assurance Department at the University of Nairobi
- Representative of Urban Refugee Student
- Representatives of University of Nairobi, Diploma in Teacher Education in Emergencies Students
- Representatives of Windle International Kenya
- Education Bridge Africa Representative
Session 1: “Situating the Refugee’s Teacher Agenda in Kenya.”
Session 2: “Strengthening Access to Quality Education for All in Kenya: Implementation of The Djibouti Declaration on Education for Refugee, Asylum Seekers, and Host Communities.”
Session 3: “Standards and Quality Issues in Preparation of Refugee-Ready Programs.”
Session 4: “The Experience of Online Teaching in Higher Education in Emergency.” Kenyatta University Perspective
Session 5: “Designing Refugee-Ready Programs – The Considerations and Gaps.”
Session 6: “Implementing Refugee Entrepreneurship Program for Livelihood. The Ideal vs the Real.”, Moi University
Workshop Outcomes, Reflections, and Way Forward:
The followings are the reflections and closing remarks from institutions represented, students, and the University of Nairobi Management:
- As educators implementing programs targeting refugees, there is a need to offer protective education, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) that promote well-being and impart a sense of hope to refugee learners under crisis contexts that are beyond them.
- Programs should focus on the learners and should be learner driven.
- Universities must be flexible on programming in terms of periods of study, timetables and allow flexible scheduling in synchronous sessions.
- Work with other government departments and organizations e.g. Teachers Service Commission for formal recognition of degrees and diplomas offered by universities. There is a need for the appropriate agencies to support teachers and also strengthen the teacher management process in refugee settings.
- There is a need for research in the refugees’ settings and urban centers to map out needs and gaps in refugee education programs.
- There is a need to source additional funding through collaborations in writing grant-winning proposals to address challenges affecting students and program implementers.
- As universities implement refugee programs, there should be an approach of serenity, acceptance, courage to face challenges, and wisdom in offering services ensuring a therapeutic humanistic approach to education.
- With the emerging technology space, coupled with the institutional transformative changes, educators need to try out new innovative ways including the use of technology, and embrace change with the overall goal of producing quality programs and quality graduates through quality services.
- The representative from the Ministry of Education in Kenya acknowledges the role played by universities in the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge and emphasized the need for Ministry-Universities partnerships going forward to come up with evidence-based policies in the education sector to guide teacher education in the county through various levels. It was noted that the Ministry of Interior, National Coordination and the Department of Refugees Affairs are designing a Marshall Plan that will propel the different ministries to deal with refugees including strategies from the Ministry of Education to create strategies that promote the integration of refugees.
- The Ministry of Education is working on accelerated learning programs to secure equal access to education for girls and boys, offering scholarships through the KPEEL project to refugee children.
- There was a call on the need to work together and with a commitment in every area of expertise to spark new ideas into the education sector for the benefit of humanity.