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Silent Classrooms: The Impact of Ukraine's War on Education


As Russia's conflict with Ukraine persists, the toll on the country's educational system is far-reaching. Beyond the physical destruction of schools, the war has unleashed a wave of consequences that transcend borders, leaving a profound impact on the lives of students like nine-year-old Milana Minenko (Novak). Milana's story, echoed by many others, reflects the harsh reality faced by Ukrainian students who have become unwilling victims of a conflict they had no control over. Russian forces have reportedly destroyed 262 educational buildings and damaged another 3,019, leaving countless children displaced and their education disrupted. This enforces me to raise the question "Why have students become victims of a geopolitical conflict they had no role in initiating? What mechanisms can be put in place to shield them from the devastating consequences of war?"


Officials in Ukraine have said they have attempted to keep education a priority in the country. They say the young generation of Ukrainians will need to be well educated to help rebuild the country after the war. I particularly agree with this statement because education is essential to foster critical thinking abilities and an innovative mindset to rebuilding a nation. However, is this priority realistically achievable given education competes with other crucial sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure, and social services for limited funds? Furthermore, the government claims that about 500 children have been killed, thousands have been sent to Russia without permission, and millions of Ukrainians seek refuge in other countries, 1.5 million in Poland alone, with the hope of going back "home" someday (Novak). This further on leads me to question how can the international community address the unique educational needs of these displaced students, especially when language barriers and cultural adjustments pose additional hurdles? Given that many of these students have been subject to much trauma, and may need additional counselling, should they be raised in the same environment as other children?




The picture above captures a part of the 'Russification' effect on Ukraine's educational system. Given the devastating damages that the war has infiltrated on Ukranian children and schools, it would be extremely difficult to cope up with the loss without international support. UNESCO, in collaboration with MESU and other partners, has been actively aiding the Ukrainian education community in addressing critical issues such as damaged infrastructure, providing access to devices for remote learning, addressing mental health concerns among educators, offering capacity-building opportunities for teachers, and improving data infrastructure for educational governance. Although striking a balance between addressing the needs of the affected population and navigating diplomatic complexities requires careful consideration, after watching the BBC documentary on international aid in class, this also leads me to question whether this aid is reaching the intended population or not? If so, why haven't we seen any substantial progress in the educational sector?


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The plight of students like the nine-year-old Milano Minenko in Ukraine highlights the tragic reality of innocent children becoming victims of a conflict that they had no role in. It is essential to establish safe zones for education in these areas along with psychosocial support services to address the emotional and mental well-being of these students. counseling and trauma-informed education and support programs can help mitigate the psychological effects of war.

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Hey Burhan! Your blog really showed us the entire picture of the impact of the Ukrainian and Russian Wars, particularly the education system. I had seen in the news regarding the invasion of Ukraine by the Russians. Still, I did not realise the entirety of the impact it had on the important factors such as education that would affect the population in the long term. I believe I can link this blog to the conflict or in better words "genocide" in Palestine and even the Yemen conflict that I wrote about in my first blog. I feel in all these countries, education systems are primarily affected which inevitably impacts the youth population of the countries and their future. Addressing your…

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The blog above provides an in-depth analysis of the impact the Ukrainian Crisis has left on the education system in Ukraine. Other than providing several facts and figures on the horrors caused by the conflict, the blog also successfully allows us to raise several questions about why innocent children are being dragged into this entire conflict. Providing examples of cases such as Milana and additionally giving overviewing numbers of the disasters gives a better understanding of the degree of destruction that has been caused to that sector.

The blog also highlights Ukraine’s stance on prioritising rebuilding the education sector as it is stated that they firmly believe that their future only stands a chance if their youth is continuously receiving…

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Saghaam Fatima
Saghaam Fatima
Nov 27, 2023

Considering how little I know about this conflict, I thought your blog was really informative. In a very condensed way, it provided a thorough overview of the various problems that Ukraine's educational system faces. The way the war has destroyed schools, uprooted students, and presented serious obstacles to their education is worrisome. The blog asked excellent questions about how to protect innocent kids from the effects of geopolitical battles beyond their control, as well as why these conflicts are occurring in the first place. The reference to international aid initiatives was enlightening since it raised an important concern regarding the efficiency and advancement of this aid in the process of reconstructing the educational system. Regarding the final question, I agree…


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I'm grateful for your thoughtful comment, and I'm pleased to hear that the blog provided you with useful insights into the challenges facing Ukraine's educational system. Your acknowledgment of the blog's questions about protecting innocent children from the consequences of geopolitical battles and the underlying causes of such conflicts resonates deeply. It prompts me to reflect on whether there's a sustainable solution to shield students from the harsh impact of wars they did not initiate. The reference to international aid initiatives is crucial, and your concern about the efficiency and progress of this aid aligns with ongoing debates. Considering Marwah's blog post on hidden motives behind aid, it raises an essential question: To what extent are aid efforts in Ukraine…

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From the video, two images gave me goosebumps - the bullets in the black board and the torn Pikachu stuff toy under the rubble. Makes you think about those who lost, the children. In response to the why children question, even if not the children, it falls on to them for several reasons. For example, proximity to conflict zones, displacement, strategic targeting, collateral damage and breakdown of systems. One way or the other, the students, the future, suffers. In answer to whether aid has failed, yes it has failed. Not only because it is not reaching the intended audience, but because it fails to address the micro level complexities in Ukraine. Just as stated by William Easterly in “The White man’s…

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Rightly pointed, we do find out the aid inefficiency later down the lane, because of the lack of monitoring and evaluation. Usually such development and crisis aid programs are so rigid that they do not leave the slightest space for change or evaluation. What is initially planned, keeps happening for the period of time say 3-5 years and then the very unplanned close out makes the situation worse. What I found very interesting was the INEE ICT Educational checklist and the "close out" section in it specifically. Do have a look at that and see how there are so many loop holes which can be catered for, to make the development aid and its subsequent programs successful.

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