Ukraine: UNESCO sends expert mission in support for teachers

School girl in Ukraine

As a UNESCO expert mission to Ukraine begins, UNESCO and members of the UNESCO Global Education Coalition continue to work together to ensure learning continuity in Ukraine. UNESCO experts are in Ukraine from 26 to 29 September to ensure the proper implementation of the emergency measures undertaken by the Organization since the start of the war and to identify the additional needs of the stakeholders on the ground.

According to the national authorities, 2,243 education institutions have been damaged and 285 have been destroyed in the country, since 24 February 2022 when Russian offensive against Ukraine began. Over 40% of Ukrainian schools started the new academic year online

“Education is a fundamental right for every child. As ongoing fighting damaging education facilities continues to prevent many Ukrainian students from returning to school, we must provide distance learning tools to ensure learning continuity” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

To address these needs, UNESCO appealed to its partners in the Global Education Coalition in March, and 25 members committed to support – among them, Google. UNESCO and Google, announced in May and ratified at the recent Transforming Education Summit in New York, a partnership to help Ukrainian teachers keep teaching: Google providing at least 43,000 Chromebooks and partnering with local organizations to train around 50,000 teachers - and providing the Chrome Education Upgrade so that schools can set-up and manage devices remotely, and UNESCO ensuring their delivery in Ukraine and providing full access to the Coalition’s many digital educative resources.

“After funding the creation of an online platform for conducting educational assessments, UNESCO is working to respond to another extensive need expressed on the ground by equipping and training teachers. I thank Google for its commitment: This is a great example of how the private sector can join forces with public institutions to build and provide sound solutions in times of crisis," added the Director-General.

War takes a heavy toll on schools and children

Since the outset of the war, UNESCO has been in continuous dialogue with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and provided technical assistance to protect the right to education and prioritize education in the humanitarian response. Through its Global Education Coalition, the Organization has also mobilized partners. UNESCO underscores the message that students, teachers and schools must be protected from any form of attack, and that schools must always be safe havens.

Through its Global Education Coalition, the Organization has appealed to its partners: 25 members have committed to support education in Ukraine; 15 members have already activated and implemented their commitments to Ukrainian learners, from scholarships for learners, to no-cost access to accredited courses, translation of educational content and psycho-social counselling for teachers.

Among them:

  • Coursera has offered its Coursera for Campus at no cost to all Ukrainian higher education institutions to facilitate online learning in fields such as business, technology and data science.
  • EdX has made over 1,400 online courses available.
  • Khan Academy has translated its math and sciences courses into Ukrainian.
  • University of the People is providing 1,000 Ukrainian students with scholarships to pursue their studies online.
  • With the support of Japan, UNESCO has also launched an initiative on mental health and psychosocial support to deliver interventions throughout the education system.

Additional details will be communicated as the mission unfolds.