Education -Kakuma

UNHCR and its partners, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Finn Church Aid (FCA), and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) have made significant progress towards improving access to education for children and youth in Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei Settlement. The support is provided through management of 19 pre-primary, 27 primary, and 9 secondary schools to improve access to equitable quality education for refugee and host community children. Below is the breakdown of the partners and areas of implementation:

  1. Lutheran World Federation (LWF) – Pre-primary (13), Primary and Junior Schools (21) in Kakuma Camp.
  2. Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) – Secondary schools (7) in Kakuma Camp.
  3. Finn Church Aid (FCA) – Pre-primary (6), Primary and Junior Schools (6) and Secondary Schools (2) in Kalobeyei Settlement.

2024 School Calendar

The school calendar for the camp-based schools is aligned with the Ministry of Education regulations and released annual school calendar year. In 2024, schools opened for the first term on 8 January 2024. Below is the breakdown of the calendar events for the year.  

School Term Dates 2024.

 Opening datesClosing datesDuration
TERM 18th January5th April 13 Weeks
Half Term29th February3rd March3 days
Holiday (April)8th April26th April3 weeks
TERM 229th April2nd August14 weeks
Half term20th June23rd June3 days
Holiday (August)5th August23rd August3 weeks
TERM 326th August25th October9 weeks
KPSEA & KILEA Exams28th October31st October4 days
KCSE Exams4th November22nd November3 weeks
Holiday (Nov-Dec)28th October3rd January 202510 weeks
  1. Access to Pre-primary, Primary and Junior School Education:

It is important to note that pre-primary, primary, and junior schools in the camp are free and compulsory, allowing any child to join the nearest primary school at any time during the school term.

Learning kits and uniforms may be provided to newly enrolled children, depending on availability.

UNHCR closely collaborates with the Ministry of Education (MoE) on implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), assessment and registration of schools, participation on co-curricular activities and administration of national examinations. MoE also provides quality assurance support to ensure that the education provided meets required MoE standards.

Accelerated Education Program (AEP) for out-of-school and over-age learners to bridge educational gaps is provided in selected primary schools across the camp and settlement.

  • Accessing Boarding schools.

There are two camp-based girls’ boarding schools (a primary and a secondary) managed by UNHCR and partners. The schools are Angelina Jolie Girls Boarding Primary school and Lifeworks Tumaini Girls Secondary School both located in Kakuma 1 (Kalemchuch Area). Every year, UNHCR and partners release an advert for interested applicants to apply. Students may be selected to join the schools based on their good performance (merit) and/or with protection concerns (assessed by protection partners).  The schools currently are hosting 250 and 370 girls respectively.

Refugee children can also access government public and other private schools in and around the camp and settlement. The private schools, however, charge varied cost depending on location and facilities offered. 

  • Secondary Education:

There are limited number of secondary schools compared to primary schools in the camp and settlement highlighting an institutional imbalance with only 9 secondary schools against 27 primary and this underscores the importance of addressing this gap to provide a more comprehensive education continuum.

Considering the financial constraints and the need for additional resources to support secondary school programs like teachers, learning/teaching materials etc, the schools charge a fee of KES3000 per year per learner. It’s encouraging that there’s transparency about the management of this funds and a clear point of contact for inquiries or concerns is through the secondary school’s Board of Management (BoMs).

UNHCR and partners are implementing 100% transition across levels of education and from primary to secondary schools inline with the government transition policy. All learners completing primary education are expected to transit to secondary schools. In 2023-24, the MoE has supported over 6,000 refugee learners join Government-led Elimu scholarship program implemented by Equity Group Foundation (EGF) and Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF). Other scholarship opportunities available for refugee learners joining secondary schools are Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly, Mpesa Foundation Academy, Hands On scholarship program and Mercy Beyond Borders.

The low girls’ enrolment, particularly at upper-primary and secondary schools, is a concerning issue, and the identification of social-cultural factors such as early marriage, teenage pregnancies, domestic chores, and poverty as contributors to these challenges underscores the need for targeted and concerted efforts to address the gaps in girls’ education.

Tertiary Scholarships.  

The availability of tertiary scholarships in the refugee context is a positive step toward supporting higher education opportunities for deserving individuals. The scholarship awarding to access higher or tertiary education is based on merit. Higher Education Scholarships include WUSC SRP, Welcome Corps on Campus, Habesha Scholarship, DAFI etc and TVET centers are also supported by Don-Bosco and other partners that provides access for refugees within the camps to gain skills and certification.

Students Movement Passes: Students returning to school should always visit DRS Camp Manager’s Office to seek Movement pass to allow travel safely. You can book an appointment for the Camp Manager’s Office through KASI at the UNHCR Field Posts.

See also

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