“Offices of informatics, physics – there is nothing left, only ruins.” A study on the destruction of Ukrainian schools was presented in Washington
During the full-scale war in Ukraine, 3,051 educational institutions, including 1,259 schools, were damaged. Of these, 223 schools were completely destroyed, some of them were the direct target of the Russian troops’ attack. This is stated in the study “War and education: How a year of full-scale invasion affected Ukrainian schools” by the Cedos think tank, commissioned by the savED charitable foundation, which was presented on Thursday, March 23, in Washington.
During the conference in Washington, which was attended by representatives of educational foundations, the World Bank and US government agencies, the authors of the study presented statistics and also showed video recordings with testimonies of teachers and students about the looting and destruction of educational institutions and school property by the Russian military.
According to the research, the largest number of schools were damaged during the full-scale war in Donetsk (328) and Kharkiv regions (304), more than 100 educational institutions – in Mykolaiv, Kyiv, Luhansk and Kherson regions, 97 schools – in Zaporizhia region. In the Chernihiv region, 70 schools were damaged and two were completely destroyed.
Where there were photos of our graduates, only traces of an enemy projectile remained
“In the lobby near the teacher’s room, where the entire room was decorated with stands with the history of the institution, where there were photos of our graduates, only traces of an enemy projectile that hit our educational institution and destroyed it remained. The classrooms of informatics, physics, chemistry, the office of the Defense of Ukraine with all the equipment were completely destroyed, there was nothing left, only ruins,” said Mykola Shpak, the director of the Mykhailo-Kotsyubinsky Lyceum in Chernihiv Oblast.
The village in Chernihiv region, where the lyceum is located, was under occupation for more than a month. The Russian invaders targeted him with a rocket in early March. “Dust, glass, slate, debris, a state of shock, sadness, anger, disappointment, it is not clear what all this is for and what is the purpose of it all,” Mykola Shpak shares his emotions.
“I was very hurt when I heard that a projectile had hit my school,” recalls Lyubov, a 7th-grade student at the Mykhailo-Kotsyubinsky Lyceum.
“We knew that there was an arrival at our school. And then the photos appeared that it was really true. The first time the child cried because of the explosion, and the second time when she found out that she would no longer go to school,” recalls Nataliya Kuznetsova, mother of a fourth-grader at school No. 20 in Chernihiv.
The Russian military came to us on March 8, and immediately occupied our school. The director of the Bohdaniv Lyceum Lyudmila Deyko spoke about the crimes of the Russians in the Kyiv region, who destroyed the lyceum, where 401 students were studying before the full-scale invasion: “The Russian military came to us on March 8, and immediately occupied our school school, used it as a headquarters, a place of residence and as a hospital. And they lived there until the end of the occupation. On March 29, when they were retreating, they set fire to the school.”
“You can see the traces of their tracks and their armored vehicles on the asphalt of the school grounds, they used to go here to the stadium, it was convenient for them to shoot from here,” said Leonid Khomenko, the director of the Andriyivsk Gymnasium in the Kyiv region.
According to the research, in many cases, even if the premises and territory of the school were not damaged, the Russians stole school property. Stolen, damaged or destroyed property includes computer equipment, sports and travel equipment, tools from the school workshop, as well as cutlery and crockery, food products, detergents, and personal belongings.
Russians stole cutlery and dishes from schools
In addition, 1,874 school buses were destroyed, damaged and lost as a result of the occupation and hostilities.
The newly appointed person addressed the participants of the conference in Washington via video link Minister of Education of Ukraine Oksen Lisovyi. He called for help to Ukraine with the arrangement of bomb shelters for children, transport for schools and technical equipment. According to him, by the new academic year, it is necessary to equip 11,000 bomb shelters in educational institutions with a total budget of almost 1 billion dollars. “This is necessary so that children can go to school on September 1 in a safe space,” said Lisovyi. He also emphasized the importance of digital support for students and teachers: “Educational version of the “tank coalition” – we need an Internet and tablet coalition! There is a huge need in this field, because almost 100,000 teachers do not have devices. We have about 3,000 educational institutions without access to the network,” said Lisovyi.
We need an internet and tablet coalition
US Global Education Partnership Deputy Director General Charles North assured that Ukraine will not need to “compete” for funds to restore education and reminded that in 2022 Ukraine became a member of the American platform for strengthening education systems in developing countries. “Even before Ukraine joined the partnership in November of last year, $40 million was already allocated for Ukraine, so there is no competition here. The question is to attract more resources and bring these resources into line with the needs,” North said. .
Financial assistance is needed not only by educational institutions, but also by individual families, because, according to research, Ukrainian students most often use phones for distance learning. At the same time, some schoolchildren use their parents’ phones and do not have the opportunity to join classes if they go to work and take their gadgets with them. If the main gadget for learning is a laptop, students usually have to share it with other family members.