RIT Case Report: Refugee and Migrant Experiences in Gaborone City–Government Policies on Education and Employment

By Felix Tapilira Chilumpha

Unlike in neighboring South Africa where refugees are free to mix with the general population as they are being processed, Botswana confines most refugees and asylum-seekers either at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown, at the provincial capital, or in Dukwi Refugee Camp. This camp is in eastern Botswana, a two-hour drive from Francistown, and over 500 kilometers from the capital of Gaborone. Dukwi Camp runs some educational facilities on-site, but these provide only basic education up to the secondary school level. For post-secondary education, refugee students have to fend for themselves, as they cannot access the government sponsorship afforded to Botswana nationals. This means most refugee students are unable to attend tertiary education in Botswana. The government’s policy also restricts employment for refugees, which results in refugees’ dependency on handouts from the government and other aid agencies. For tertiary education, however, a welcome change has recently occurred, as a number of tertiary institutions have begun offering special scholarships to refugee students.