Kyiv, November 17 — One in two carers in Ukraine says their children’s education has suffered after repeated attacks on power plants in October left more than 4.5 million homes without power, according to a Save the Children survey.
Children’s access to education will deteriorate drastically the longer the battles for urban centers and densely populated areas like Kyiv continue. Continued attacks on energy infrastructure in November left about 10 million families across the country without power.
Save the Children conducted an online survey of more than 1,600 caregivers across Ukraine to find out if emergency power outages had impacted the children’s education. Half of them reported that their children missed online classes or could not do their homework between October 10 and October 21 because there was no electricity or internet connection or because they had to seek shelter.
A mother of a student in Ukraine who took part in the survey said:
“It’s challenging, but my child does all the chores on her own. She has a knack for learning, but reading, writing and completing chores on a smartphone is difficult.”
According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, an estimated 2.6 million students are studying from home as of October 22. While some schools have been able to reopen since September 1, many lack shelter, have been damaged or destroyed, or remain at risk of attack. Therefore, online education is essential for children to continue their learning.
Khrystyna*, 14 years old, from Poltava said:
“I miss 3 to 4 lessons a week. The mobile network is very bad. I look through the textbooks myself and study with a tutor. There are topics where you really need someone to explain it to you.”
Viktoriia*, 16 years old, from Boryspil near Kyiv added:
“There are frequent power outages in our city. And every time they happen, I miss some lessons. Mobile internet is not always good enough to connect to online courses. I go through the material myself, but it’s difficult because I really miss talking to the teachers in person. I can’t really understand everything without her explanations.”
Teachers report that the power outages are also affecting the children’s motivation to learn.
Mariia*, a mathematics teacher from the Kyiv region, said:
“TThe teachers do their best. We attach video lessons, we create presentations, we send lessons to those who couldn’t connect to the internet. But we have a hard time, and so do children. They lack motivation. Then the parents have to step in, control and motivate. When the electricity comes back, children don’t want to learn, they want to play. Then the blackout comes back and the homework is not done.”
In Ukraine, Save the Children is helping to rebuild damaged schools and has built a network of digital learning centers to help children access education. The organization also distributes Education Kits, which include pens, crayons, notepads and classroom materials, so children don’t miss important learning content.
Sonia Khush, Country Director of Save the Children in Ukraine said:
“The war dealt a devastating blow to child-rearing in Ukraine. Thousands of schools were damaged by shelling and rocket attacks, and hundreds were completely destroyed. A small number of children who are still able to attend school in person have to hide in shelters every other day. The blackouts and rolling blackouts are depriving the millions of children learning online of their education. The ongoing struggles for the urban centers will make the dire situation even worse.
“It goes without saying how important education is for children. Knowledge is important, but school is also an opportunity to connect with peers and support each other during a very difficult time. We risk an entire generation of children missing out on the learning, development and joy that education provides.
Save the Children calls on warring factions to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including those on proportionality and discrimination in conducting and conducting operations, and to ensure that civilians and civilian objects, particularly those affecting children, are Homes are protected, schools and hospitals are protected from attack.
Save the Children has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, providing humanitarian aid to children and their families. It now supports refugee families across Europe, helping children access education and other essential services.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.
The poll was conducted October 20-31 via social media. Save the Children surveyed 1,604 parents of children studying in schools, colleges, colleges, technical schools, technical schools and boarding schools.
In October, there were five waves of attacks on power plants across Ukraine, destroying an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure, according to the Ukrainian government. In order to stabilize the energy system and reduce electricity consumption, the authorities have introduced rolling blackouts. Planned power outages hit 7 to 10 regions in northern, central and eastern Ukraine every day, with outages lasting up to 12 hours in total.
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