Okello Mark Oyat, Founding Member of the Dadaab Response Association, Graduate of the Master of Education, York University

Borderless Higher Education for Refugees Program

Executive summary:

This paper is a modified version of a Major Research Paper for the Master of Education degree at York University as part of the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, which provides virtual education to refugees in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. This research study is about the implications of corporal punishment in secondary schools in Dadaab Refugee Complex. It is based on different experiences the four interviewed participants encountered in primary and secondary schools, for an extended duration of over 20 years of the implementation of Kenyan curriculum in the camps. Examining the participants’ life in schools and the use of corporal punishment as a means of discipline reveals the brutality it has inflicted in the bodies of learners and how violence in learning institutions is problematic. Participants narrated the most difficult corporal punishment encounters. The international community advocates for the delivery of quality education for refugee learners. However, the findings of this study raise the question of the quality of this education, implemented in a hostile environment such as that narrated by the student participants who went through Dadaab schools. Despite corporal punishment, participants stated that because of support from family and friends, they would still pursue their education and today they see themselves as the possible change makers. The researcher believes that discussions around this issue are vital for sourcing both local and outside solutions. Corporal punishment is a serious issue in refugee schools that negatively impacts students, with short-term impacts like injuries and long-term impacts like dropping out of school. However, teacher training, anti-violence policies, and future research can contribute to ending this violence in schools.

Read the full working paper here.