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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Betty Pacutho Udongo
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Title: Science Education Policy for Emergency, Conflict, and Post Conflict: An Analysis of Trends and Implications for the Science Education Program in Uganda
Dr. William W. Cobern, Chair
Dr. Joseph Stoltman
Dr. Onaiwun Obgomo
Dr. Jianping Shen
Date: Friday, March 20, 2009 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
2734 Wood Hall
This study analyzes the impact of armed conflicts on the development of education policy and particularly science education program in Uganda. Since independence from British colonial rule, Uganda has experienced a series of armed conflicts, with the most devastating being the 21 years of conflict in northern Uganda.
The research study is guided by the following questions: 1) what is the level of government funding towards improving the science education program in Uganda? 2) Have recent initiatives such as free primary education, compulsory science and 75% sponsorship for science-based courses had a measurable impact on the proportion of students from the conflict-affected regions who enter tertiary institutions to pursue science and technology programs? 3) What role have non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had in providing education in the conflict-affected regions of northern Uganda? 4) To what extent does the Ugandan education policy, in particular the science education policy, effectively address the educational needs of students affected by armed conflicts?
The study employs a mixed method design where both quantitative and qualitative data are collected and analyzed. Quantitative data is obtained from a comprehensive search of policy documents and content analysis of literature on education policy, the science education program and impact of conflicts on educational delivery. Qualitative data are obtained from questionnaires and interviews distributed to policy makers, central government official and local government officials, and teachers and students from war-ravaged northern Uganda.
Analysis of policy documents and respondents’ views reveal that Uganda does not have a science education policy, and the present education policy does not fully address the educational needs of students studying in conflict-affected regions. It is further observed that fewer students from the conflict-affected regions qualify for government scholarship to study science courses in higher institutions of learning.
The study recommends the following policy interventions: 1) affirmative admission in higher institutions of learning, 2) curriculum reform, 3) professional development of teachers, 4) school security and safety, 5) science and technology education, and 6) increased funding for emergency education. The outcome of the study is a proposed model of “Schools as Islands of Peace and Hope” with science education as the tool for post-conflict economic recovery and as a blueprint for emergency education policy framework.