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Education during the Ukraine conflict

We are all aware of the horrific conflict that is taking place in Ukraine and how it has disrupted the lives of all Ukrainians, but how has education been affected in the country?

Ukraine, unlike most conflict zones, was a developed nation with significantly better infrastructure. It would make sense to assume that the education system would be better off than the ones in nations such as Somalia or Syria. In this blog, I will explore how the Ukrainian government handled the education of children during the conflict.

Since Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, 1,800 schools and universities have either been damaged or completely decimated. The violence harmed, injured, or even killed 9,000 students, teachers, and academics. School buildings were even used as military bases by both sides. Students were told to stay home for 2 weeks when the conflict commenced. Most of the students have been staying home due to the chaos, but some have been lucky enough to go to school or get taught in bunkers and bomb shelters.

However, there is one upside to this incident. As mentioned before, Ukraine has far better technological infrastructure than the global south and has helped greatly with the integration of online learning. Thankfully, about 3.7 million Ukrainian have been able to access education through the internet. Ukraine’s example can hopefully be used as an inspiration for humanitarian organizations working in conflict zones in less developed nations. Implementing online learning in those areas will be tough but recent technological advances such as the Starlink project provide hope.

Distance learning is not a perfect substitute for in-person education, but it is much better than no education at all. Hopefully, this limited access to education is only a temporary solution.

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As we have read in Zlata's Diary, a child's life is greatly affected as a consequence of war and conflict. This stands particularly when it comes to education as institutions are damaged and the entire process of learning is hindered greatly. A child does not understand why they are going through such hardship and turmoil as they simply want to go back to school with their friends and learn new things about the world. It is deeply saddening that there are parts of the world where that has become almost impossible.

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Reading the stories of children who have had to face conflict is truly heartbreaking. We talk a lot about the numbers of casualties and people displaced when reporting about war, but the real cost of the war can only be realized through the anecdotes of these children and understanding what they have been through

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Do you propose a complete focus on shifting to an online medium for the entirety of the conflict? or do you think there should be simultaneous efforts to rebuild schools in the country to bring back a sense of normalcy in the lives of the Ukrainians?

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Safety of the all the children affected by the conflict is of utmost priority. As long as the safety of these children cannot be ensured in an in-person setting, classes should be conducted through an online medium. The state should try to rebuild schools and university and allow students to come but not at the cost of their lives

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Technologies such as Starlink, Project Loon, AI can help in these conflict prone regions. However, in this regard the support of the government and the influential firm is of the key importance in this context.

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I believe the governments would not be able to offer much help since education would not be their priority. They would be more focused on their own survival than the education of children. NGOs and humanitarian organizations will need to take on a lot of responsibility to help the children in any way they can

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