A tragic end to the school year in Ukraine, with child deaths, empty classrooms and destruction of school facilities

Kyiv / New York 4 mayo 2022 At least one in six UNICEF-supported schools in eastern Ukraine has been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war, including the school 36 The only “protected school” in Mariupol which bear witness to the dramatic impact of conflict on the lives and futures of children.

Two schools have been attacked in the last week alone. Schools damaged or destroyed 15th employment 89 Part of the “Safe Schools” program created with the Ministry of Education and Science, mainly in response to the attacks on kindergartens and schools in the Donbass region, which was experiencing a latent armed conflict 2014.

Since the war began in February, hundreds of schools across the country are reported to have been damaged by the use of heavy artillery, air strikes and other explosive weapons in populated areas, while others are used as information centers, shelters, supply centers or for military purposes. .

“The start of the school year in Ukraine brought hope and promise to children after the disruption of COVID-19”announced Murat Şahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “Instead, hundreds of children were killed, and the school year ended with classrooms closed due to the war and the destruction of schools. “.

For children affected by the crisis, school is essential – it offers them a safe and semblance of normalcy in the toughest times – and helps ensure that they do not pay for the vocational training they have missed in their entire lives. Education can also be a lifeline – enabling children to access information about the dangers of deadly explosive ordnance and to connect them and their parents with essential health and psychosocial services.

“Ensuring access to education can mean the difference between hope and despair for millions of children”he added Murad Shaheen. “It is critical to their future and the future of all of Ukraine “.

Together with its partners, UNICEF strives to provide as many children as possible with safe and appropriate educational opportunities. This includes:

• The “Online educational platform for all Ukrainians”which targets students in grades five to eleven and was developed by the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of UNICEF during the COVID-19 pandemic, which affects more than 80 000 Displaced students in Ukraine.
• In dozens of Kharkiv metro stations, where children have been forced to shelter for safety, UNICEF-supported volunteers have set up places where teachers, psychologists and sports teachers play children on a regular basis.
• Episodes of the new online kindergarten platform Nomo, supported by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Science, regularly reach hundreds of thousands of views.
• The ongoing digital campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of explosive ordnance (EORE), created by UNICEF in partnership with the National Emergency Service of Ukraine, has reached 8 Millions of users online.
• Approximately 250 000 Children benefited from education-related supplies provided by UNICEF to shelters, metro stations and other places hosting displaced children.
• For children who have fled Ukraine, UNICEF supports governments and municipalities to include children in national school systems, as well as in alternative educational pathways, including digital learning.

“Despite the horror of war, impressive work has been done to ensure children continue to learn”announced Murad Shaheen. Ultimately, the fighting must stop so that classrooms can be rebuilt and schools again become safe and enjoyable places of learning.”.

Children and schools must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. Parties to the conflict must take measures to prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and the military use of educational institutions.

Notes to editors:
In 2019, Ukraine became 100 Countries should sign and ratify the Safe Schools Declaration. This declaration is a commitment to provide better protection for children, teachers and schools, to support the continuation of education during war and to put in place measures to deter the military use of schools.

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