It is unfortunate that the 2-month old Ukraine-Russia war has been targeting innocent children who are supposed to be in school studying to be able to achieve their educational goals.
They are the hope of our fatherland and should be preparing to take over from the present set-up when their time comes.
But… their future seems to be derailed as the war continues for a longer period of time without a sign as to when it will end.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin said lately that diplomatic measures or negotiations has reached a “dead end”.
According to Jason Dasey in her report to Reuters, Russia is attacking more than 20 schools a day in Ukraine! Wow, that’s a great number of destruction and a blatant disregard for humanitarian considerations and damaging the youth’s future! Last month, a school in Zhytomyr, northern part of Ukraine, was destroyed by a Russian rocket turning upside down the education of 5.5 million children, according to Save the Children.
Since February 24, Save the Children, an international NGO using official government figures from the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Science to chronicle the war’s impact on children, reported that at least 869 education facilities across the country or about 6 percent of Ukraine’s educational facilities have been damaged.
Of these, more than 80 schools have been completely destroyed and about 5.5 million children remain in Ukraine and many are displaced.
“Education is under attack in Ukraine. It is unbearable to see schools and nurseries attacked indiscriminately.”
Pete Walsh, Ukraine country director for Save the Children said.
Now students are scattered in the wilderness — some still at their homes in Ukraine, others in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, US, even as far as Canada.
What’s good is that despite the war, millions of Ukrainian students are still in school, regardless whether they are in Ukraine or in the refugee countries they are in.
Thanks to the internet because they are enrolled in online classes and are continuing their educational ambitions. But this is temporary and unstable because of continued shelling and renewed attacks by the Russians on schools distracting or terminating their classroom instructions.
In an article written by Anya Kamenetz in Facebook Twitter, she reported that Dima, who fled the war in Ukraine with his mother, attends an online class, at the “Saint John the Baptist” Monastery in Ruscova, where 12 Ukrainians are currently being hosted, on March 30, 2022 in Ruscova, Romania.
Hanna Kudrinova, 23, a 5th grade English class online teacher uses Google Meet to pursue her classroom instructions and student interaction. Kudrinova starts like a lot of teachers everywhere, with a check-in.
She asks the students to turn on their cameras and show a thumbs up if they’re happy, thumbs down if they are sad, and sideways if they are feeling so-so. Her students are everywhere in the globe where they settled as refugees.
The Ministry of Education of Ukraine says nearly three million, a majority of the country’s school-aged children, have shown up for online learning.
The country is even broadcasting video lessons on television to supplement their classroom instructions.
At least, thanks to the pandemic because remote learning became handy when the war started.
And Ukraine’s focus on maintaining education is in line with an emerging philosophy of disaster response — one summed up in the name of a special fund at the United Nations: Education Cannot Wait.
The fund has just announced $5 million in donations to help children affected by the war with learning and mental health services.
“Lessons are interrupted by air-raid sirens,” Kudrinova said. “It’s not easy teaching in the middle of a war,” Kudrinova added. She is a fellow with Teach for Ukraine, one of 61 independent international partner organizations of Teach for All, a network co-founded by the founder of Teach for America.
Teach for Ukraine gave her and the other fellows some quick training on how to deal with students’ psychological challenges.
She learned to do the daily mood check-in, and learned some breathing exercises to try to calm the class down when they have to stop the lessons for air-raid sirens.
Kudrinova narrated that some students can’t attend every day because they aren’t in a safe place or are moving around. Many others are signing in on their parents’ phones.
Still, Kudrinova says, and experts agree, that the routine of school and seeing their friends online is helping. Otherwise, she said, they are mostly stuck inside all day, watching TikTok or playing Fortnite.
“Even if I’m not teaching the full curriculum, it’s good that they’re talking to me, they are talking to each other…[it] can remind us of something normal.”
It was reported that in countries including Poland and Bulgaria, and in safer parts of Ukraine, there are informal settings that resemble the learning hubs set up in the U.S. during the pandemic.
Here, students can sign on to their remote lessons with their teachers and classmates from back home, and also play sports and do other activities in person. Some of these hubs also have support for mothers.
Other children are starting over in new countries.
In Poland, which has received more than a million children from Ukraine, with more arriving every day, there are several different options. Some newcomers are enrolling directly in Polish schools, especially in smaller towns.
Poland is also creating classes with all Ukrainian children and Ukrainian teachers who have also just arrived.
These will follow Ukraine’s curriculum and be taught in Ukrainian.
Kasia Nabdralik, the CEO of Teach for Poland, another network partner of Teach for All, is helping with staffing: matchmaking newly arrived Ukrainians who have education experience to the various openings.
Two thousand miles from Odessa, in Dublin, Ireland, there are a few new Ukrainian students in teacher Phil McCarthy’s school. He’s trained in teaching English as a second language and is a spokesperson for the English Language Support Teachers’ Association of Ireland.
Children’s education is suffering under the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, where schools are frequently damaged, the sound of struggle with the psychological impacts of the fighting. (Alice Cuddy, Euro News).
Melanie Sharpe, a communication specialist at UNICEF who recently visited eastern Ukraine, said every aspect of the education system there has been affected by the ongoing conflict. “When education is interrupted due to conflict the devastating impact on children, families and entire communities cannot be overstated,” she told Euronews.
“Children are being taught in classrooms with bullet holes and sandbags in the windows. I was in a school recently in Avdiivka where you could hear active shelling in the school yard during the middle of the afternoon,” she added.
Moreover, a UNICEF report found that more than three quarters of school directors and teachers interviewed in areas where fighting is most severe in eastern Ukraine had noticed “striking behavioral changes” in students before and after the conflict.
Save the Children said: “Attacks on schools in Ukraine are endangering the lives and futures of the country’s 7.5 million children with reports of up to 10 children killed in the fighting and educational facilities being bombed across the country.”
Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Eastern Europe Director, said: “…With every school that is damaged or destroyed, and every lesson missed, children’s prospects of experiencing and building a better future diminishes.”
Save the Children is calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, as the only way to protect children from violence and other violations of their rights.
Let’s save the children! They are our future!
(ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.)