British Council launches the language for resilience report to enhance learning in refugee settlements in Uganda.

British Council launches the language for resilience report to enhance learning in refugee settlements in Uganda.
The British High Commissioner kate Airey (2nd Left sittin) in group photo at the launch of the report at Golden Tulip otel in Kampala

Despite the government’s exemplary response granted to the refugee influx in Uganda in terms of freedom and support, the scale of the influx has stretched the services to a breaking point across. The situation has called for a multisectoral approach to the refugee settlement and host communities in terms of the language used while learning given the varying languages and backgrounds of each of the refugees’ origin.


The Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWG) set up a language task force team to explore the role of language in education in emergencies.  With the help of the British Council, the team provided a report on the language mapping survey in 3 refugee affected districts to better understand the language issues and barriers affecting teachers, students, and communities in accessing education in the language that teachers know and use in schools with large numbers of refugees among others.


The British Council the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities has technically launched the Language for Resilience research aimed at providing a platform for partners to give feedback on the language scoping report, and the practicality of the handbooks to establish whether the handbooks were available and being used by teachers and the bilingual approaches used in classrooms with refugee children.


The event which was held at Golden Tulip Hotel, in Kampala attracted over 50 physical participants including members of the Education in Emergencies Working Group language task force, education policymakers, civil society organizations working in refugee education, the Office of the prime minister and others virtually including teachers from refugee camps of Lvemp, Rhinocamp, and Kyangwali.

Picture: The British High Commissioner, Uganda, H.E Kate Airey in the middle.

The British High Commissioner, Uganda, H.E Kate Airey, while applauding the dedication of teachers in delivering learning to children, said that the UK government has continued to extend support to education and refugee programmes because they believe in children’s potential in refugee classes who she added that have benefited in using the English language to access a wider community and market for development.

“Uk government in Uganda is a long-term supporter of education and refugee programmes, because we believe in children in refugee classes. There is a need to debate on which language to use in learning for the best outcomes for the children” she said

She said that there is need to institutionalize the bridging courses for children in refugee settlements to enable passing on the learning to future generations.

“I urge the British Council and the Education agencies to work together in the times of re-thinking education to reshape the way education is provided,” she said.

Moses Anilaba, The Regional Director sub-Sahara Africa, while giving his remarks at the launch of the report held at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala on Thursday 13th October 2022, re-affirmed partnerships with stakeholders in Uganda while delivering the strategic direction of UK government. He applauded Uganda’s generous move to host the big number of refugees which he said is a unique added value.

According to the Chairperson, of the Language Taskforce, the teachers who are using the handbooks have benefited from the training which he said has impacted many lives of the refugee children.


The research according to Britich Council was conducted in settlements of Rhino, Lvemp, Kyangwali , Nakivale and 3 refugee-impacted schools in Kampala. A total of 120 teachers, 640 learners and 34 school participated in it.


The British Council’s Language for Resilience programme focuses on the role language plays in helping to create opportunities and connections with migrants and refugee communities and the countries which host them, helping to build resilience and the capacity to respond to crises.


A study on language usage in schools and the impact the influx of refugees is having on learning and language in Uganda has revealed a complex situation. A report released by the British Council in Uganda shows that the increase in refugee numbers has caused an expansion in enrolment and impacted negatively on the quality of education.


Key findings showed that 19 languages were in common use during lessons in schools visited. The study found that there is considerable confusion over which language should be used as the language of instruction in schools when so few children understand English and so many had previously been learning in a different language in their home countries. The study made recommendations on how to strengthen language and learning for all children in these schools.