UN says thousands of refugees in Uganda missing out on education


UN says thousands of refugees in Uganda missing out on education

Kampala, Feb. 6, 2019 (Xinhua/NNN) As the new school term starts in Uganda, the UN refugee agency on Wednesday warned that thousands of refugees are missing out on education as a result of shortage of funding.

Joel Boutroue, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative, said only 60 per cent of refugee children could access primary school education and the classes are overcrowded with one teacher attending to more than 100 children.

Boutroue said only 12 per cent of the children, who complete the primary level can access secondary education because the others do not have the necessary resources.

“In spite of the efforts of many actors, we are falling very short of obtaining minimum standards that would be adequate to have quality education,” he said.

He said the children, who drop out because they cannot access secondary education have created a set of problems, noting that they have ended up being idle and engage in risky behaviours.

“We had a very sad example a few days ago of a young lady, head of a household with two children, who committed suicide when she heard that her sponsor could not continue to sponsor her for secondary school.

“That is one example of many desperate situations,” Boutroue said.

“If we don’t redouble our efforts this year, we will face an increasingly delicate, if not a desperate, situation when it comes to the refugees themselves and also the host communities,” he added.

Boutroue said the refugee response plan for Uganda this year requires one billion dollars to be able to continue delivering assistance.

Out of the one billion dollars, UNHCR and the partners it finances need about 450 million dollars. The other partners need 550 million dollars.

Although UNHCR and the partners it finances need 450 million dollars, only 130 million dollars has so far been budgeted.

The 130 million dollars is much lower than last year’s 200 million dollars.

Uganda, according to UNHCR figures, hosts about 1.2 million refugees, the highest number of refugees in the country’s history.

Majority of the refugees are from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. (Xinhua/NNN)

Edited by Fatima Sule/Donald Ugwu