Ukraine: War’s Toll On Schools, Children’s Future

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Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has devastated schools and kindergartens throughout the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report and video released today. Since February 2022, over 3,790 educational facilities have been damaged or destroyed, according to Ukrainian government figures, severely interrupting access to education for millions of children.

education, already suffering from school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many students from schools that were damaged or destroyed had to continue their studies in other schools, studying in shifts or remotely, which has eroded the quality of education, Human Rights Watch said. Russian forces’ attacks on power infrastructure and consequent electricity and internet outages have frequently impeded remote learning.

return fire. Russian soldiers left anti-Ukrainian graffiti and a flag with a Nazi swastika on classroom walls.

“It was impossible to hold back tears,” the school’s director said. “In the cafeteria, they [Russian forces] set up a bath [in the sink]. In another room there was blood on the walls. … They broke all the computers… and filled everything with dirt. … They simply stole the laptops.”

Watch that she struggled with remote learning for her 14-year-old son. “There is no internet, so no video lessons,” she said. “You can’t just [convey tasks to teachers] by phone, you need a laptop. He can’t set up the virtual classroom on his phone.”

Being able to return children to classrooms adds urgency for Ukraine, with the support of international partners, to restore and reconstruct damaged educational facilities in line with safety and accessibility standards, Human Rights Watch said.

International donors and humanitarian agencies should support the Ukrainian government to ensure the equitable reconstruction of schools in all regions of Ukraine and require strict adherence to accessibility standards mandatory under Ukrainian law.

“Most countries around the world, including European Union and NATO members, have pledged to protect education from attack, and they should help Ukraine achieve that goal,” Williamson said. “Ukraine’s children have the same right to education as children everywhere, and despite the war this crucial right should be protected.”

HRW

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