Refugee University

Bringing higher education to refugees in Kenya.

A piece last year in the Guardian reported that Kenya’s Kenyatta University was opening its doors to Somali refugees in Dadaab:

Kenyatta University is setting up a campus in Dadaab, which is home to a sprawling complex of camps housing around 470,000 refugees, mainly Somalis who crossed the nearby border to escape the cycles of war and drought in their homeland.

Courses in subjects including project management, marketing, finance, and peace and conflict studies will be on offer to refugees and locals in this remote town in north-east Kenya, 90km (55 miles) from the border with Somalia.

A really good initiative this in the most difficult of circumstances.

Dadaab refugee camp

Dadaab refugee camp

Now Inside Higher Ed reports on a Canadian initiative to support this work:

York University, in Toronto, announced on Monday that it had received more than $4.5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency to lead the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project in Dadaab, Kenya. York is one of four universities — along with Moi and Kenyatta Universities, in Kenya, and the University of British Columbia — participating in the initiative, which aims to provide higher education to primary and secondary school teachers in the six refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border. The BHER organizers are focusing on education for teachers – who in many cases have completed only primary or secondary school themselves – with the objective of indirectly improving the quality of education for thousands of their students.

Don Dippo, a professor of education at York, explained that the first cohort of 200 teachers/students will be admitted this summer for a foundation year program. Following the foundation year, the participating universities have committed to offer various two-year diploma and three- or four-year degree programs. The programs will be delivered through a hybrid of face-to-face and online instruction.

BHER’s organizers expect to enroll 200 new students a year, for a total of 1,000, over the five-year term of the grant.

I was hugely impressed with the original steps being taken by Kenyatta University but it is also great to see Canadian universities joining in. It would be even better if UK institutions offered their support to Kenyatta too.

1 thought on “Refugee University

  1. Pingback: A ‘University in a Box’ in Rwanda | Registrarism

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