Ukrainian refugee children Varvara Koslovska, 8, brother Platon Koslovskyi, 5, and cousin Ivan Koslovskyi, 9, pose with scooters donated by parents at their new primary school on the outskirts of Dublin. Photo taken by Tatyana Koslovska, March 2022. Thomson Reuters FoundationSociety United Kingdom
Schools Warmly Welcome Ukrainian Refugee Children
Across Europe and the UK, schools are opening their doors to more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugee children — and doing everything from expanding classes, fast-tracking the registration of Ukrainian teachers, translating curriculums, and offering online lessons.
Indeed, it is Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since the Second World War. Formal education, as well as language support and, in some cases, therapy, are integral components to ensuring these Ukrainian refugee children retain even a small amount of normalcy in a time when they have been uprooted from everything they have ever known.
“In the short-term, it provides them with the support, stability, and structure needed to cope with the trauma they’ve experienced. In the long-term, school equips children with the knowledge and skills they need to rebuild their communities once the conflict is over,” explains UNICEF spokesman Joe English.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many education systems are already struggling with tight budgets and large class sizes. Polish education ministry spokeswoman Anna Ostrowska spoke on the issue: “If necessary, we will change the law and change the organization of schools to help every child. We’ve seen huge solidarity. It’s very touching.” What’s more, in Britain, the Oak National Academy, a charity that was created during the pandemic, has already translated 10,000 online lessons into Ukrainian. One thing is sure: where there is a will, there is a way.