Russia has carried out many attacks on Ukrainian school facilities since its invasion in Ukraine. As a result, about a third of school-age children attend their classes at home, while many children have fallen behind with their classes, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.
The children who remained in Ukraine as well those who were forced to leave the country are about to start the fourth consecutive school year facing many problems, UNICEF points out.
Some schools have been damaned and others have been closed since the Russian invasion 18 months ago. It is noteworthy yhat rocket and artillery attacks were carried out on residential areas across the country.
According to Regina De Dominicis, regional director for Europe and Central Asia, 6.7 million children and young people between the ages of three and 18 are at risk of losing critical years of schooling and training due to the war.
Children in Ukraine show obvious signs of having fallen behind with their education, mainly in the proficiency of the Ukrainian language, reading and mathematics, she said after her visit to Ukraine.
“Inside Ukraine, attacks on schools have continued unabated, leaving children deeply distressed and without safe spaces to learn,” the UNICEF official said.
“Not only has this left Ukraine’s children struggling to progress in their education, but they are also struggling to retain what they learnt when their schools were fully functioning,” she said.
Finally, two-thirds of preschool-age children are not attending preschool and in frontline areas, three-quarters of parents report not sending their children to preschool.
The role of school in times of war
For Ukraine’s refugee children, it is also the beginning of another uncertain academic year, with more than half of children from preschool to secondary school age not enrolled in national education systems across seven countries hosting refugees, especially due to language barriers, difficulty in accessing school, and overstretched education systems.
Refugee children who are not enrolled in local schools are likely attempting to study online, but “some refugee children may have completely abandoned their education,” UNICEF points out.
“In times of crisis or war, schools provide far more than a place of learning,” the organization said.
“They can provide children who have already endured loss, displacement and violence with a sense of routine and safety, a chance to build friendships and get help from teachers.
They can provide access to vaccines, nutrition and services to support children’s mental health and well-being,” UNICEF adds.