New York, January 24 (QNA) – The ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted education for more than five million children, UNICEF warned, calling for increased international support to ensure children do not fall further behind.
On International Education Day, corresponding to Jan. 24 of every year, UNICEF released a statement that said that the impact of 11 months of conflict only compounds the two years of lost learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 8 years of war for children in eastern Ukraine.
“Schools and early childhood education settings provide a crucial sense of structure and safety to children, and missing out on learning could have lifelong consequences,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan. “There is no pause button. It is not an option to simply postpone childrens education and come back to it once other priorities have been addressed, without risking the future of an entire generation.”
According to UNICEF, more than 1.9 million children were accessing online learning opportunities, and 1.3 million children enrolled in a combination of in-person and online. Recent attacks against electricity and other energy infrastructure have caused widespread blackouts and left almost every child in Ukraine without sustained access to electricity, meaning that even attending virtual classes is an ongoing challenge.
“UNICEF will continue working with the Government of Ukraine and the host countries Governments to deliver solutions to help children in conflict areas and those who have been displaced from their homes to continue their education,” said Khan.
Inside Ukraine, UNICEF is calling for an end to attacks on education facilities and other civilian objects, including the energy infrastructure upon which children and families depend. They also call for increased support in ensuring children have access to offline learning materials and supplies to ensure they continue learning and can remain connected to their peers and teachers, as well as support for Ukraines recovery plan, and efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate schools and preschools.
In refugee-hosting countries, UNICEF is calling for prioritization of the integration of Ukrainian refugee children into national education systems across education levels, especially early childhood education and primary education. (QNA)