Assessing the social-economic contribution of international students on two selected universities in Kampala, Uganda
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This study aimed at assessing the socio-economic impact of international students on Ugandan universities and there after using the information gathered to propose ways of how government and other education providers can maximize the benefits from international students. The study was premised on mixed methods strategies with more inclination towards qualitative strategies. The research sample composed of 54 respondents of which 34 were female and 20 were male these were selected using different methods of sampling like purposive, simple random sample and snow ball from Makerere University and Kampala International University. Socio-demographic information such as age, sex, country of origin, and how international students learnt about the university has been basically quantitative. Results show that no single reason explains why international students come to Uganda since several and yet diverse reasons were highlighted. These include; peace and security, quality of the education, and intensive advertising. The socio-economic impact that accrues from the presence of international students is gross, socially international students have a great impact in terms of sports where they dominated some sports in some universities, language where many Ugandan students have learnt words in foreign languages, cultural festivals, and beauty pageants. Economically, they pay more tuition than their Ugandan counterparts; they spend a lot of money on necessities and luxuries, which has led to the establishment and growth of businesses around the universities. Lately they also contribute to human resource of the university after their graduation. The negative impacts included drug abuse habits that are fast being taken on by other Uganda students as well as people in the surrounding communities. From the study it was realized that the government and other education providers can maximize the benefits from international students by improving the quality of education, improving infrastructure, maintaining peace in the country and through intensive advertising. In light of the above findings, it was concluded that international students have significant socioeconomic contributions to host universities as well as to the surrounding communities. It is thus recommended that the universities work closely with the government in order to create an attractive environment for international students so as to maximize benefits from them while regulating the negative impact that they could have on the nation as a whole.