Ukraine war has been critical for millions of children’s education

In aid of International Day of Education, UNICEF is calling to increase educational support for children in Ukraine and refugees that have fled the country.

UNICEF, a national charity working to help disadvantaged children, has warned the ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted education for more than five million children. Following this, the charity are asking for increased international support to ensure children do not fall further behind.

In addition to the Ukraine war, UNICEF notes children’s education was also previously disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, said: ‘Schools and early childhood education settings provide a crucial sense of structure and safety to children, and missing out on learning could have lifelong consequences.

‘There is no pause button. It is not an option to simply postpones children’s education and come back to it once other priorities have been addressed, without risking the future of an entire generation.’

In Ukraine, the frequent use of explosives and weapons has meant thousands of schools and nurseries have been damaged or destroyed. As well as this, parents are too afraid to send children to school due to safety concerns.

Against this backdrop, UNICEF is working with the Ukraine government to help get children back into learning, once classrooms are deemed safe, and through online alternatives if in-person is not acceptable.

Whilst more than 1.3 million children enrolled in a combination of in person and online learning, recent attacks against electricity and other energy infrastructures have caused widespread blackouts, meaning attending virtual classes is an ‘ongoing challenge.’

The situation outside of the country is also a cause for concern. UNICEF have revealed two out of three Ukrainian refugee children are not currently enrolled in the host country’s education system. This is as a result of stretched education capacities and the fact that, at the beginning of the crisis and throughout the summer, many refugee children opted for online learning instead of attending local schools, as they hoped to return home quickly.

Khan said: ‘UNICEF will continue working with the government in Ukraine and the host countries’ governments to deliver solutions to help children in conflict areas and those who have been displaced from their homes to continue their education.’

Photo by Ian Betley


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