PhD student, Educational Policy Studies
Faculty advisor: Nancy Kendall
Aruna is a PhD student in Educational Policy Studies from Sierra Leone. When he received his University Fellowship, he had just completed a Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding (MSP) degree at UW-Milwaukee. As an international student, that meant the fellowship came at the perfect time for Aruna to avoid needing to return home before achieving his desired goals, and also provided support during his PhD studies.
Aruna’s research will focus on the effects of free secondary education on the quality of education in Sierra Leone. In 2018, the government in Sierra Leone instituted a policy of free, universal primary and secondary education. Aruna will examine what is free in this free education package, how educators and students make sense of it, how the program will be sustained, and what will indicate success.
“I want my research to inform future engagements among school administrators, the government of Sierra Leone, policy experts, and international education partners,” Aruna said. “I also hope that my study will help provide data on and an understanding of how the policy is being implemented, as well as what it portends for educational outcomes and for narrowing the achievement gaps for approximately 1 million school-going children across the country.”
Before receiving the University Fellowship, Aruna was recognized with a Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders from the U.S. State Department, a Kohler Scholarship at UW-Milwaukee, and a UW-Milwaukee Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship.
Aruna was a student assistant at the Global Engagement Office in the School of Education in Fall 2019, and is currently an events coordinator at the UW–Madison African Studies Program.