This study analyzes the impact of armed conflicts on the development of education policy and particularly science education program in Uganda. Since independence from the 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 was guided by the following questions: (1) What is the level of government funding towards improving science education program in Uganda? (2) Have recent initiatives, such as free Primary and Secondary 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) To what extent do the Ugandan Education Policy and, in particular, the Science Education Policy effectively address the educational needs of students affected by armed conflicts?
The study employed a mixed method design where both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed. Quantitative data were obtained from a comprehensive search of policy documents and content analysis of literature on education policy, science education programs, and impact of conflicts on educational delivery. Qualitative data were obtained from surveys and interviews distributed to policy makers, central government and the local government officials, teachers, and students from the war-ravaged Northern Uganda.
Analysis of policy documents and respondents' views revealed 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 was 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 recommended the following policy interventions: (a) affirmative admission in higher institutions of learning, (b) curriculum reform, (c) professional development of teachers, (d) school security and safety, (e) science and technology education, and (f) increased funding for emergency education.
The study proposes a model of "Schools as Islands of Peace and Hope" with science education as the tool for post-conflict economic recovery, as a blue print for emergency education policy framework.