2004 TNZ: Evaluation of Education Programme in Refugee Camps in Western Tanzania
Author: Katunzi, N.; Ndalichako, J. L.
Since 1994, UNICEF has been supporting basic and non-formal education in refugee camps in Western Tanzania. Currently, over 500,000 Congolese and Burundian refugees reside in 12 camps, out of which 40% are children and young people. Among these, 123,130 are primary school learners and 32,365 are in pre-primary schools (Communication with UNICEF Kasulu).
The education programme started as a temporary measure in emergency, to address the interruptions in education and facilitated children’s repatriation into schools in their home countries. With the prolonged stay of refugees and many children growing up in camps, the provision of quality education in the camps has become increasingly important. Accordingly, UNICEF has been expanding its scope of providing financial and technical support to education services in refugee camps. UNICEF collaborates with UNHCR and NGOs to support primary education, which is based on the concept of 'Education for Repatriation'. Some of the implementing NGOs include World Vision, South African Extension Unit (SAEU), Relief Development Society (REDESO), Norwegian Peoples' Aid (NPA) and Africare International. UNICEF support is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Development of a structured school curriculum based on the school curricula of refugees' homes of origin.
- Provision of school materials, including school textbooks, supplies and other non-food items;
- Training of both qualified teachers (refresher training, on new curriculum and important issues such as child rights) and unqualified teachers (special training and on-the-job);
- Promotion of girls' education;
- Provision of special education for disabled children;
- Improving the education learning environment including temporary classes' rehabilitation and construction of permanent classrooms;
- Promoting children's hygiene through health programmes and the youth programme;
• Provision of pre-school education.
The main purpose of this assignment was to assess and evaluate the Education Programme in the refugee camps in Western Tanzania, which include Kigoma and Kagera Regions. Specifically, the assignment was concerned with assessing the implementation process, quality of education, impact and efficiency of educational inputs in realizing the objectives of the programme, and the existing gaps.
The evaluation was accomplished through visits to refugee camps and primary schools to observe available school infrastructure and conduct interviews with educational personnel including Education Coordinators, head teachers, classroom teachers and a sample of pupils. Visits were made to the Mtabila, Muyovozi and Nyarugusu camps in Kasulu and Kanembwe camp in Kibondo. In Ngara, interviews were held with the NPA National education officer and UNICEF Assistant Project Officer - Education, Ngara. The UNICEF Assistant Project Officer, Kasulu provided primary information related to the programme and accompanied the consultants in all the sites visited. Interviews were held with NGOs implementing education activities. These included SAEU and NPA. The interviews focused on the kind of activities they are implementing, achievements they have realised and challenges encountered as well as lessons learnt. Interviews with refugee camp education officers centred around the issue of how they coordinate education activities and their role in facilitating the training of teachers.
Findings and Conclusions:
Based on the findings, the evaluation team has observed that the education system in the refugee camp is functioning in an organized way like any other educational system. There are well-defined structures with clearly-defined roles and functions. The structures are staffed with educational personnel such as the Education Coordinators, Assistant Educational Coordinators, School Inspectors, Head Teachers, Assistant Head Teachers and School Committees. These characteristics are typical in almost all educational systems. The education structure has the other components of basic education including pre-school and special education, although the magnitude of support given to them by UNICEF is minimal.
There are standards and guidelines that give direction of education in the refugee camps. Such guidelines include the school curricula, acquisition and distribution of instructional materials, school inspection, assessment of students' learning and certification. This shows that the issue of quality is observed.
The concept of 'education for repatriation' has also been adhered to through the use of curricula and textbooks from the country of origin, including the languages of instructions used in the delivery of education in the camps. All efforts are being made to ensure that the education provided to the refugee children is compatible with that in the countries of origin. This practice has provided children with the opportunity to mainstream in the formal education system when they go back. The use of the national language has enabled the children to maintain their national identity.
UNICEF support has been tremendous in ensuring the provision of education to the refugee children. It is obvious that more than 80% of the educational supplies and capacity building of teachers have been from UNICEF. The collaboration between UNICEF and the implementing NGOs has significantly contributed to the success of the education programme as it would have been almost impossible for UNICEF alone to effect the programme.
Despite the fact that education is provided in very hard conditions, children are learning as some have been able to mainstream back home while others have joined the post primary institutions in the camps. In addition, there are good practices that have been observed by the refugees that were not seen in their countries of origin. The lessons that have been learnt are manifestations of the success of the education system. The lessons also help to prove that the delivery of education in refugee camps needs extra efforts including self-determination, commitment, perseverance and voluntarism for both children and staff..
There are some problems that need to be solved in order to improve the delivery of education to the refugee children. Some of these may not be within the mandate of UNICEF but, with continued collaboration with UNHCR and implementing NGOs, solutions may be found; for example, the issues of ration cuts and clothing.
Finally, it is important for UNICEF to begin planning for the exit should repatriation be completed in the near future. There are strong foundations that have been established in the camps that should not be lost once all the refugees are repatriated. UNICEF needs to see how the good practices, the physical structures, and the acquired experiences among its staff can be integrated in the Tanzania basic education system where UNICEF is already being involved.
The nature of life for the refugees is temporary as they are supposed to be repatriated to their homes of origin. This means that teachers cannot be stopped from leaving. The only solution is for UNICEF to continue training and retraining teachers in as large numbers as possible in order to close the gap that is seriously affecting the quality of teaching in the camps.
Large class sizes have a negative impact on the teaching-learning process. The double shift system does not seem to reduce the teaching load as it is the same teacher who teaches both sessions. This problem is linked to teacher repatriation and low incentives for teachers. It is suggested that the recruitment of teachers be consistent with the review of incentives so as to attract more staff in the teaching profession.
Shortage of Instructional Materials
Shortage of instructional materials seems to affect the camps differently. The most affected are the Burundi camps. It seems that there is a problem with the distribution of materials, particularly exercise books. Distribution of materials needs to be strengthened and mechanisms for follow-up on the proper use of materials put in place. Although UNICEF uses the same formula to distribute supplies for children, in some camps pupils felt that what they are given is not enough, while in other camps they found the distribution sufficient for their needs.
Communities have not been able to sustain pre-school education to the extent that some of the classes have closed down. UNICEF should look into the possibility of supporting community efforts in running pre-schools through teacher training and material support. Arrangements need to be made to give incentives to teachers as it is being done for primary school teachers.
Full report in PDF
PDF files require Acrobat Reader.