Prior to the pandemic, children around the world were already experiencing a learning crisis. Ukrainian children, however, are now facing an even deeper crisis, as they are forced to deal with the conflict with Russia. The war in Ukraine is having a severe impact on the futures of the country’s 5.7 million school going children. According to reliable statistics, almost 700,000 students and over 25,000 educators have been displaced in Ukraine. Over 2,000 education institutions have been damaged by bombing and shelling, and more than 200 of these have been completely destroyed. .
To combat the situation, the Ukraine government and the ministry of education have directed their focus to online learning platforms, as they look to safeguard the future of the children. Despite such efforts, the impact of the war has been devastating, as students continue to struggle with financial and psychological problems.
In my opinion, even for a country like Ukraine, one in the media’s spotlight, the consequences of a conflict on education stretch beyond just combatting it with digital learning. Among other problems, power blackouts, connectivity issues, and psychological impacts have had a real toll on education. A UNICEF report found out that more than three quarters of children have had striking behavioral changes. Even in parts of the country where schools have reopened, children are taught in very tense surroundings - in classrooms with bullet holes and sandbags.
The government must come up with policies that provide children with education and a crucial sense of safety. In addition, the government must focus on providing psychosocial support that can help children recover, as they look to rebuild their lives.
As international organizations such as the World Bank and UNICEF continue to assist Ukraine, one wonders the magnitude of the impact such a conflict would have on a country that perhaps isn’t highlighted as much by the media. Regardless, for the recovery of the education sector, several longstanding efforts, and a variety of ways to deliver educational services are required.