Factors affecting urban refugees in accessing education in public primary schools in Kamukunji District Nairobi County Kenya
The purpose of the study was to examine the factors influencing access to quality education among urban refugee children in Kamukunji District, Nairobi.To achieve this, research questions on influence of language barriers; living conditions; refugee policy and unequal opportunities. The study adopted a descriptive survey design to determine factors influencing refugee children access to education. The study used a sample of 36 teachers, 112 pupils and 35 teachers, parents and pupils. Data was coded, and classified into major themes from which a summary report was made. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics supported by tables, pie-charts, frequency distributions and percentages. Data analyzed formed the basis for research findings, conclusions and recommendations. Findings on language barriers indicated that the refugee children were equipped with colloquial English which they could neither write nor speak. The study found that there were language barriers because the pupils could not understand the language of instruction. The pupils indicated that they were incompetent in writing skills, had limited language proficiency and teachers taught at a fast pace. Findings on living conditions indicated that the refugee children suffered unsafe school conditions, poverty, separation from parents, hostile social environments and cultural stereotypes and discrimination. Thestudy revealed that poverty was a major hindrance to access of quality realization as parents could not meet the direct and indirect costs of schooling. Findings on the influence of refugee policy indicated that due to stringent policy guidelines, such as documentation, legal policy on finance, poor treatment, stringent admission criteria and discrimination refugee children did not access quality education as they treated as second rate citizens. The research findings on unequal opportunities indicate that due to disparities in family backgrounds, gender disparity, home-based and school-based factors refugee children could not access quality education. For instance due to the influxes and pressure on available school facilities children could not attain fully access. The study recommended that there is need for improvement of refugee children's environments including at school and family level so as to help them attain access opportunities and that the government through stakeholders must put policies in place to minimize the educational, economic and psychosocial challenges that the refugee children face.