Kenya is host to 560,134 refugees, 283557 of whom are hosted in Dadaab refugee camp. The Dadaab refugee camp was established in 1991 by the Government of Kenya and UNHCR to host Somali refugees displaced by the civil war. Over the years the camp has also hosted other nationalities from the Horn of Africa, Great Lakes and East Africa regions. Currently, other nationalities constitute less than two per cent of the population. Over 60% of the current population in Dadaab is aged under 18, with 42.8% of school age (5-17) – 118,634 children. The number of children and youth continues to grow relative to the total population, while education and economic opportunities remain limited.
Situation of Education
Despite significant investment in the education sector over the years, delivering education in Dadaab is a major challenge. There are 35 primary schools and 7 secondary schools in Dadaab, all of which follow the Kenyan curriculum. Formal pre-schools are attached to the primary schools with additional community based facilities. An open door policy has been established with regards to primary education so that every child who approaches the system is admitted. While this policy supports the view that children are safer in school than in the community, it has led to extreme congestion in the teaching and learning facilities with an average pupil to classroom ratio of 1:87 – more than twice the national standard. This has put pressure on an already over-stretched cadre of teachers (20% female) who have very limited training and support opportunities, and among whom, there are very high attrition rates. 51% of children of school age (3-17 years) remain out of school2 with major implications with limited facilities and resources available to meet the rising demand for education. These statistics do not take into account the number of people in the camp, over 17 years old, who have also missed out on education and who want to access primary and secondary education to improve their employability. Only 13% of young people have access to a post- primary education option, and only 25% of secondary school students are girls. The low numbers of refugees accessing secondary education is indicative of a larger, serious protection issue: the gap in post- primary education options to meet the needs of significant numbers of out of school adolescents and youth.
Despite this situation, considerable gains have been made over the years with regards to education outcomes, demonstrated by the 2015 KCPE results - 86% of candidates past the KCPE exam, up from 46% in 2010. Out of the current teaching cohort of 937, 100% have access to training courses, with two thirds enrolled in accredited certificate, diploma and degree courses.
Purpose of the mission
To support cross-border collaboration through strengthen coordination and information management; to improve awareness of the prevailing education situation in Central South Somalia.
Discussions were held with UNCHR Dadaab, key education partners, teachers, PTA members and community leaders both the new & old refugees in Dadaab to better understand the refugees return.