The Last Weapon: Refugees See Education as the Way, Possibly the Only Way, to a Better Future, and So They Are Prepared to Make Many Sacrifices to Ensure That Their Children Go to School

By Van der Gaag, Nikki | New Internationalist, September 1996 | Go to article overview

The Last Weapon: Refugees See Education as the Way, Possibly the Only Way, to a Better Future, and So They Are Prepared to Make Many Sacrifices to Ensure That Their Children Go to School


Van der Gaag, Nikki, New Internationalist


EDUCATION is the burning issue,' says Jacob, a slight man with a long list of complaints. The crowd around him who have been listening quietly to speaker after speaker suddenly bursts into spontaneous applause.

The meeting has been organized so that I can hear what refugees in southern Ikafe want to tell me. Everywhere I go people speak of the importance of education. An education in English for their children is one of the main reasons people say they came to Uganda. Some of those who originally fled to Zaire even made a second long and arduous journey over the Ugandan border so that their children could learn in English - the Ugandan curriculum is taught in English - rather than French.

Children are our future,' says Johnson Mayen, deputy headteacher and an adviser to the Dinka people in Ikafe. 'We need to stay here so that they can continue their education. Education is our last weapon. Perhaps the only one we have left.'

I have not been to school myself,' admits Fatima Amelie. 'But I want my daughter Loyce to go. She is already attending nursery school. I want her to learn.'

People are understandably bitter about the things that prevented them from attending school in Southern Sudan:

Without education there can be no development,' stresses Moses Abure Daniel, headteacher at Imotong, a large primary school with over 1,000 pupils. 'In Sudan the war interrupted our children's education. This means that we will not have enough people to run our country when we finally get back on our feet. We will need teachers, doctors, lawyers and civil servants.'

In the Government - controlled areas of Sudan an escalating campaign of Islamization is depriving Christian children - and most Southern Sudanese are Christian - of the education that their parents want them to have. Even primary children are having to learn in Arabic. And now, the refugees tell me, if their children want to go to college back in Sudan, they have to pass an exam that includes not only Arabic but the study of the Qur'an.

I visit the school at Point M, behind Bidibidi, where the 11 classes ranged in front of blackboards sit with their pencils and exercise books. Some of the classrooms have grass roofs and no walls; the younger pupils are mainly being taught under trees.

This is a P7 class, the oldest group,' said Raymond Mule Kenyi, the headteacher. 'Normally they would be aged about 13. But some because of the years of schooling they've missed are much older, 16 or 17.'

Each class has about 40 children. The total register is 611 pupils but only 483 are attending the day I visit - 321 boys and 162 girls. A neatly marked black - board in Raymond's 'office' - a small grass - roofed hut - shows the roll call in each class for that day.

Attendance is low today, I'm told, because there has been no food distribution for a long time. 'The children are hungry and when they are hungry they can't study,' says Raymond sadly. 'There is also a problem because some of the children have no clothes - the ones they came with from Sudan are all worn out and not all have received second - hand garments. So the older ones in particular are ashamed to come to school naked.'

I had seen a number of children in other parts of the settlement, who, though not exactly 'naked', were wearing trousers which revealed all or most of their buttocks.

The scale of the operation is staggering. There are 40 primary schools in Ikafe, with 463 teachers and 14,750 students. Most buildings are just rough structures with no walls and straw roofs which mean the children have to be sent home when it rains.

The majority - 13,212 - are refugees. But there are also 1,538 Ugandans, proving that the rhetoric about integration and benefit to the existing community is not just a pipedream.

I visit one school at Okuyu in south Ikafe where the proportion of refugees to nationals is almost half and half. The teachers feel that the children benefit from working alongside each other. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Last Weapon: Refugees See Education as the Way, Possibly the Only Way, to a Better Future, and So They Are Prepared to Make Many Sacrifices to Ensure That Their Children Go to School
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.