Search for education eludes children in Dadaab
Mahad Mohamed Ali
As though the scars of war are not bad enough, child refugees arrive in Dadaab only to find education hard to get.
Those who squeeze into class live in constant fear of repatriation, while girls as young as 12 are married off to help put food on the table.
Dadaab has three camps, namely the Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo camps. Many students in the camps, particularly girls, drop out of school before the end of Standard 8.
Moreover, very few of the students who sit for the final exams in primary school qualify for secondary education.
This bleak scenario is highlighted in the latest report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency entrusted with managing the camps.
Shared by UNHCR Education officer Linda Kjosaas, the report notes that the transition from primary to secondary is also very low.
"Dadaab camps present 42 per cent enrolment at the primary level and five per cent at the secondary level," the report stated.
In the chart shared by the UNHCR, of the 35,840 students eligible to enrol at secondary school level, only 2,737 have enrolled, of which girls are only 532.
In primary schools, 40,852 children are enrolled: 15,519 female and 25,333 male.
The Dadaab camps, located in Garissa county, represent the longest-standing and largest refugee camps in the world, hosting 210,556 as at March.