Some 5.3 million children face barriers preventing access to education, including 3.6 million children directly affected by school closures. Due to full-scale Russian aggression, children in Ukraine risk losing years critical for education and social development.

According to the Ministry of Education and Science data, more than 2,600 schools have been damaged and over 400 destroyed since the war began. Only approximately 25% of Ukrainian schools were able to start full-time, in-person learning in September. UNICEF surveys show that fewer than half of families with children under five were able to return to kindergartens and join educational activities. Damage to schools and power outages following attacks on critical infrastructure have also hindered children’s ability to access education in-person and online, putting the future of millions of children at risk.

“Every child must have access to quality and safe education, even amidst the war. Education is critical to children’s well-being and social development. It cannot be put on hold without risking the future of an entire generation. Lives of millions will be infinitely harder if we fail to help them continue their education now,” emphasised UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Shahin.

He noted that, apart from providing educational services, schools also play a key role in the social development of children, which is critical for managing the psychosocial stressors and traumas that war brings. Studying at school provides a peer group where children can talk through problems, access to adults outside of the family environment to help with the processing of emotions, and a place from where referrals to mental health professionals can be given when needed. Mental health issues in children should be managed at the earliest opportunity to prevent them from becoming life-long problems.


Natalia Tolub


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