Children from Ukraine gathered on Friday to celebrate the start of the new school year in a small courtyard of a school in Bucha, the location of some of the worst crimes committed by Russian soldiers during the conflict.
First-graders line up nervously along an unplanned stage while wearing the Ukrainian embroidered costume shirts known as vyshyvankas, having neat hairstyles, and carrying flower bouquets. Parents, many of whom are having a hard time controlling their emotions, grin and wave at the crowd while frequently taking pictures.
Yet as the Ukrainian national anthem is sung and a mournful minute of silence is observed in honor of Ukrainian warriors who have died, the jovial mood abruptly changes. The kids act calmly while some parents in the crowd stealthily wipe away their tears.
Although though many schools have undergone renovations, this region’s educational system is anything but typical.Students are required to learn in bomb shelters and remotely because of ongoing missile threats and air raid sirens. Several schools in Ukraine use a hybrid learning model since they are unable to offer a secure environment for all students.
Balancing Education and Safety
In accordance with this method, children alternate between learning at home and at school each week. This enables kids to switch off so that everyone gets to attend in-person lessons for at least two weeks each month.
Even in a mixed model, schools that offer in-person instruction have their own shelter or access to adjacent shelters.
Many of Ukraine’s 6.7 million 3- to 18-year-olds struggle to learn because of ongoing attacks on education inside the country and poor enrollment rates in host nations, according to Regina De Dominicis, regional director for UNICEF in Europe and Central Asia.
According to UNICEF, the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war are causing extensive learning loss in the Ukrainian language, reading, and mathematics among children in Ukraine, resulting in a fourth year of disrupted education.
The roof of the school underwent repairs after being damaged by shrapnel when Bucha was taken in the early stages of the war. Following the evacuation of Russian forces in the spring of 2022, graphic evidence of murder and torture surfaced.
Life at this school, which now serves over 1,700 kids, slowly started to return after the Soviets left. The educational facility has accepted about 200 internally displaced children from the front-line regions of Kharkiv, Kherson, Luhansk, and Donetsk.
Source: ABC News