How War Impacts Education in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine, initiated by Russia’s invasion in November 2022, has inflicted severe consequences on the lives and education of numerous children. UNICEF reports indicate that more than 5 million children have encountered disruptions to their education as a result of the conflict. This further compounds the challenges already presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the prior war in eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the war has led to the displacement of more than 6 million Ukrainians, including approximately 665,000 students and more than 25,000 educators. These individuals now face difficulties accessing education services in their host countries or regions. The aforementioned accounts underscore that the impact of the war on education extends beyond a humanitarian crisis; it also jeopardizes the future of an entire generation of Ukrainians, who may endure learning setbacks and diminished prospects.
The Impact of War on Education in Ukraine
The war has left children without the necessary education. During wartime, schools and other educational facilities became targets of Russian attacks. According to the official report of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 3,246 educational institutions, including kindergartens and universities have been damaged. In Eastern Ukraine, the destruction is most significant. The most affected educational institutions are in the Zaporizhzhia region where Russians destroyed 175 institutions. Russian troops tore down 69 institutions in the Donetsk region, 52 in the Kharkiv region and 23 in the Kherson region.
Air raid sirens during the day force pupils to go to the basement and continue studying there. When classes are online there are problems with the Internet due to regular blackouts. The situation in the east of Ukraine is unstable. Russians force Ukrainian teachers to conduct classes in Russian language and narrative. As a result, parents preferably choose not to let their children go to classes.
As a part of a solution to help maintain an educational level in the country, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine launched an initiative that aims to support children and parents and ensure that every kid gets an opportunity to learn. UNICEF also made provisions for 1,000 schools across Ukraine and help each one get ready for the winter period.
Ukrainian volunteers together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine have launched SchoolToGo. The project is offering free online school classes to everyone from 1st to 11th grade. The lessons developed by the teachers and psychologists are fully accredited and comply with a basic school program. Also, SchoolToGo offers psychological support for children if they need it. SchoolToGo defines its mission as “so that every Ukrainian child, with the help of our platform, gets into a class with Ukrainian-speaking teachers and classmates again, and does not feel lonely.”
Despite the devastating impact of the war in Ukraine on education, ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and volunteers aim to provide support and opportunities for children. Initiatives like “Together to Study” and SchoolToGo offer shelter goods, winter preparation and free online school classes to ensure access to education. These projects prioritize the well-being and academic development of Ukrainian children, striving to overcome the challenges posed by the conflict and promote a sense of community.
– Anna Konovalenko