Secondary School Students’ Educational Perceptions and Experiences in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp


In Tanzania’s Nyarugusu Camp, one of the world’s largest and most protracted refugee camps, only 7% of youth are enrolled in secondary school. These rates are surprising, especially considering that primary school enrollment rates stand at nearly 80% (UNHCR, 2017 March 31). This study, which is in-progress, explores the question of what it means to be a secondary school student in Nyarugusu Camp. Much of the literature on refugee education has focused almost exclusively on organizational aspects of planning and monitoring education (Kirk & Winthrop, 2008), and much of the research that has been done on student and community perspectives in relation to education tends to be conducted by stakeholders (eg/ UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHCR, International Rescue Committee), which has significant potential to be undertaken for certain objectives (Pottier, 1996). Therefore, this study uses a symbolic interactionist framework and grounded theory methods, including written responses, individual interviews, and observation. The intent of this research is to gain more of an understanding of the youth’s experiences and perceptions, so grounded theory is appropriate, as it gives voice to the constructions that youth make of their situation and experiences (Woodgate, 2000). I will employ grounded theory in an attempt to build a theory that helps to explain how this aspect, secondary education, “works” or functions in Nyarugusu Camp. Whether or not that theory might be substantive, or transferable to other refugee camp settings, remains to be unseen.This study has been approved by Lakehead University's Research Ethics Board and data collection is currently underway.

Author Information
Jessica Msofe, Lakehead University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2019
Stream: International Education

This paper is part of the ACEID2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon