Human language

Ukraine: UNESCO’s response to children’s educational needs |

After a month of war, local authorities reported that more than 733 educational institutions were damaged or destroyed.

Beyond learning, education provides an even more relevant protective environment for crisis-affected populations, especially childrenUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a Press release.

UNESCO also announcement that it mobilizes support for the continuity of learning. Through his Global Education Coalition. Created in 2020 to facilitate distance learning solutions during the COVID-19[feminine pandémiel’Organisation fournira du matériel informatique et des outils numériques d’apprentissage aux jeunes réfugiés.

Protection temporaire

Chaque crise humanitaire est aussi une crise de l’éducationmais un facteur sans précédent de la guerre en Ukraine, est que l’Union européenne (UE) a décidé très tôt d’activer son régime de protection temporaire, qui a permis aux millions de personnes fuyant le pays déchiré par la guerre, de bénéficier de droits égaux aux prestations.

La directive des pays de l’UE accorde l’accès “aux personnes de moins de 18 ans bénéficiant du statut de protection temporaire dans les mêmes conditions que leurs propres ressortissants et citoyens de l’UE”, note l’UNESCO.

Adoptée le 4 mars, moins de deux semaines après le début de l’invasion russe, la directive a eu un impact immédiat et a provoqué un afflux dynamique de réfugiés, avec Les ressortissants ukrainiens peuvent se déplacer librement dans les pays de l’UE.

Cette décision, selon l’agence onusienne, “appelle à une coordination accrue des pays d’accueil, tant à l’intérieur qu’à l’extérieur de l’UE, pour aider et intégrer les apprenants, les enseignants et le personnel éducatif ukrainiens dans les systèmes éducatifs nationaux”.

Cartographier la réponse

La réponse de l’UNESCO comprend cartographier la façon dont les pays d’accueil répondent aux besoins éducatifs des réfugiés ukrainiens.

Cela comprend des mesures transitoires pour intégrer les apprenants dans l’enseignement ordinaire; considérations linguistiques et curriculaires; soutien psychosocial, formation et accréditation des enseignants, entre autres étapes pratiques liées à la gouvernance, à l’inscription, à la certification et au soutien financier.

Dans un premier examen, l’UNESCO a analysé les dispositions de 29 pays et a divisé les résultats dans les catégories suivantes : transition vs intégration directe, enseignement et enseignants, crédits et examens, et ressources financières.

© UNICEF/Joe English

On March 9, 2022 in Medyka, southeastern Poland, children play in the corner of a school gymnasium set up to house refugee families who fled the war in Ukraine.

Student integration

Many countries mentioned existing programs and protocols to include foreigners in their national education systems. In Portugal, for example, international students may enroll directly in Pre-K (Pre-K) classes, while older students are assessed or go through a bridging process. The objective is to integrate Ukrainian students as quickly as possible.

As such, Portugal has introduced extraordinary measures for rapid integration, including simplified procedures granting equivalence to foreign qualifications. Likewise, Belgium, Denmark, France, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spainmentioned the “bridge”, “reception” or “adaptation” classes.

These transition classes offer language lessons, familiarize students with their local education system, provide counselors for psychological support and assess skills. As students build their language skills and are assessed, they can then be integrated into regular classes.

Some countries offer public education with instruction in a minority language. In Romaniafor example, 45 schools and 10 high schools provide courses in Ukrainian.

Some initiatives also include connecting Ukrainian refugee students with distance learning options in Ukrainian.

A nine-year-old Ukrainian girl holds a drawing of her family as she sits in a learning center with her mother and her cat (in a blue basket) in Romania.

© UNICEF/Adrian Holerga

A nine-year-old Ukrainian girl holds a drawing of her family as she sits in a learning center with her mother and her cat (in a blue basket) in Romania.

Many countries also state that they will allow Ukrainian students to access their higher education institutions, such as Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, Romaniaas well as offering to waive tuition or provide additional financial support.

the UK launches, for example, the Homes for Ukraine program for visa applications from Ukrainians who have people ready to sponsor them.

People arriving under this scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years, access healthcare, benefits, employment support, and their children will be able to attend local schools and receive English lessons.

Language barrier

According to UNESCO, the the large influx of Ukrainian refugee students will pose particular challenges, such as the obvious language barrier. Teachers will need support to cope with this, as well as to gradually integrate students into a welcoming classroom; how to discuss the Russian invasion and the state of the war in their homeland; and how to provide them with cultural and psychological support.

In addition to providing materials and training on language barrier management – already provided by the Ministries of Education of several countries in some cases – other options include experimenting with bilingual materials, learning basic Ukrainian, the use of translation apps and the use of interpreter services for more complex communication difficulties.

UNICEF provided Early Childhood Education (ECD) kits to Ukrainian refugee children in Poland.

© UNICEF/Agnieszka Sochon

UNICEF provided Early Childhood Education (ECD) kits to Ukrainian refugee children in Poland.

In addition to language support, a measure often mentioned on education ministry websites is providing materials and instructions for teachers on how to discuss the war with students, including webinars and podcasts.

For example, Croatia, Czechia (Czech Republic) and Slovakia have manuals on how to protect students’ mental health, prevent conflict in the classroom and talk about sensitive topics.

In Parisa Ukrainian “crisis cell” has been created, and one of its services is to provide teachers with an online brochure explaining how to welcome students who have suffered trauma.

Policy gaps and available resources

In the crucial policy area of ​​how host countries are tackling final exams, higher education credit transfer and education accreditation, UNESCO has found that understandably very little has been prepared to help students Ukrainians so far.

Additionally, in the area of ​​resources, some governments have developed financial measures to support the education response, such as extra-budgetary allocations.

This was the case of France, Italy, Poland and Romania. In Italy, for example, €1 million will be used specifically to include Ukrainian students in national education systems.

In terms of direct financial support, most measures focus on higher education students. Austria for example, waived tuition fees for Ukrainian university students currently enrolled in its higher education institutions. In Lithuania, depending on the capacity of the institution, studies for Ukrainian citizens will be financed by the state.

Some countries also provide support at early stages, such as Romaniawhere Ukrainian students can be accommodated free of charge in boarding schools and will receive allowances for studies and bedding, for example.

Strengthen distance education

According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, The total school-age population in Ukraine is more than 6.84 million studentsfrom pre-primary to higher education.

Two girls stand in a schoolyard in Sloviansk, Ukraine.  (file)

© UNICEF/Pavel Zmey

Two girls stand in a schoolyard in Sloviansk, Ukraine. (file)

In order to meet the needs on the ground, UNESCO noted he is in constant contact with local authorities, and all relevant partners, to protect and restore education in the country, with an emphasis on distance learning.

In line with UNESCO recommendations, Ukraine had put in place an effective system in response to school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the All-Ukrainian School Platformsaid UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, adding that the UN agency is working with the government to adapt it to current needs.

Mapping methodologies

In a dynamic way that can change rapidly as war continues and the influx of displaced people grows and spreads, UNESCO takes an approach incremental approach to its data project.

Data and analysis will come in waves with an increasing number of countries, increasingly detailed content and evolving methods of filtering and visualizing information.

The first wave of mapping of 29 countries is based on a desk review of information found on the websites of host country ministries of education.

Ukrainian refugees wait for a bus to continue their journey after crossing the Polish border to Medyka.

© UNICEF/Tom Remp

Ukrainian refugees wait for a bus to continue their journey after crossing the Polish border to Medyka.

Next steps

The mapping will also clarify whether a non-EU country is relying on existing legislation for access to education or also issuing special guidelines for the Ukraine crisis.

In doing so, it will also allow host countries to take stock of the concrete steps taken to integrate and support Ukrainian learners and teachers fleeing the warincluding international students enrolled in Ukrainian higher education institutions.