Exodus of foreign students in Uganda, a concern to private school owners
Numerous private schools are concerned about the growing exodus of international students as a consequence of the extended school closures caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Unlike in Uganda, where schools remain closed due to the second COVID-19 wave, schools in Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda have resumed regular operations.
This has prompted several international students to return home and complete their education. Moses Onyango, the headteacher of Zana mixed Secondary School, reports that the school has lost 50 international pupils since the 2020 lockdown began.
He claims that 42 of the school’s 50 pupils fled during the second lockdown. According to Onyango, the students’ departure is a significant loss.
He shows that, on average, each class included 30 foreign pupils. Onyango, though, is concerned that they may lose more children if the government does not quickly restore schools.
Lawrence Ssemujju, the deputy headteacher at City Hill secondary school, also reports that the school has lost five South Sudanese pupils so far.
He observes that the resumption of studies in neighbouring countries is making it more difficult for international students to continue waiting for the reopening of institutions in Uganda, despite their devotion to Ugandan education.
“It is acceptable for South Sudanese kids since they begin their education when they are mature,” he said.
Patrick Nyonyintono, the Director of Kann High School, says that although his school does not have a large number of international students, he regrets missing out on the ones he does have. He adds that 11 of the school’s 42 South Sudanese pupils have expressed their want to return home.
Mamuch Deng Nyang, the head of Makerere University’s international students, acknowledges the trend, stating that a large number of foreign students are on the brink of leaving Uganda to complete their studies abroad.
‘’While the situation is still good for higher schools of learning, things are different at the lower levels of education. Students have run out of patience and are returning home to finish their studies,” Mamuch said.
Fagil Mande, an education consultant, advises schools not to be concerned about leaving foreign pupils. He urges schools to focus on providing high-quality education, particularly in the area of skills, adding that this will compel students to return.
International students are a significant source of revenue for Ugandan students. Private schools value them since their parents often pay in advance and do not bargain for price reductions like their Ugandan counterparts do.