UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition pledged to support Ukraine’s efforts to provide e-learning and psychosocial counseling to students and teachers in the country during a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Education and ministry officials on March 15, 2022.
The Global Education Coalition, created in March 2020 to maintain the continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, is an alliance of 200 public and private partners active in more than 100 countries that matches expertise to needs in a way nimble and fast.
Partners present at the UNESCO-convened meeting included Apple, Blackboard, Carey Institute for Global Good, Code.org, Curious Learning, EdX, Google, GSMA, IBM, ISTE, Khan Academy, KPMG, LabXchange, Learning Equality, Microsoft , Orange, Qualcomm, Raccoon Gang, Study Portals, Teach For All, Teacher Task Force, University of People and WeSchool.
Partner support included scholarships for learners, free access to accredited courses, translation of educational content, crisis-sensitive teacher training and professional development support for teachers.
Among the commitments of the members of the Global Education Coalition:
- Blackboard: support for learning management systems as well as teacher professional development to facilitate the transition to digital learning
- Carey Institute for Global Good: Access to multiple online courses, including self-paced courses on Trauma-Informed Teaching and Foundations of Practice for Refugee Educators
- EdX: Free access for all Ukrainian college and university students to the online Edx campus and over 1,600 courses and programs from leading institutions and companies
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): Free enrollment for educators in the organization’s new micro-course on supporting student wellbeing.
- People’s University: 1,000 scholarships for Ukrainian students in higher education
The ministry called on the international community to support the development and implementation of a plan to protect and restore education in Ukraine.
More than one million school-age children have been forced to flee the violence to neighboring countries, while the entire school and university-age population is affected.
“We have worked intensively since the first day of the war. We cannot lose this whole generation of children,” said Arthur Seletskiy, Deputy Minister of Education and Science. “We are relaunching distance learning where safety and security permit. Our “Learning Without Limits” project allows students to follow video lessons. Resources for education are diverted to our defense, so we desperately need your financial support for education, learning materials and educational infrastructure.
Dmytro Zavgorodnii, head of the ministry’s digital department, explained that Ukraine has strengthened its distance education system during COVID-19 through the All-Ukrainian School Online platform, the Laptop for Every Teacher initiative and online university admission. He asked for support to develop them to create additional content for primary school; provide advanced training and additional laptops for teachers in schools, as well as an online exam platform for university applicants.
“Education must be part of the humanitarian response – to provide psychosocial support, protection, kinship and opportunities to continue learning in these dramatic times,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General of the UNESCO for Education. “Ukraine’s impressive array of distance learning platforms is a foundation for building resilience. UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition can be leveraged to expand e-learning platforms in Ukraine and refugee-hosting countries; supporting teachers; making learning content available and providing social-emotional support online to help students and teachers.
According to data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the total school-age population of Ukraine, from pre-primary to higher education, exceeds 6.84 million. This represents 1.05 million in pre-primary, 1.72 million and 2.54 million respectively in primary and secondary, and 1.53 million in higher education.
Ukraine has become a hub for foreign students at the tertiary level, with a fivefold increase between 2001 and 2020 to reach 61,000 foreign students. The top five countries sending students to Ukraine are India, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Nigeria.
The county has 15,500 preschools; 14,000 basic primary and secondary schools; , 695 vocational education establishments; and 336 higher education institutions.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, as of March 13, 379 educational institutions have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine.
In a meeting with Ukrainian Minister of Education and Science Shkarlet on March 13, Stefania Giannini pledged to help Ukraine meet the needs of all learners, both within the country and in neighboring and refugee-hosting countries.