Ukraine’s education system faces longstanding challenges, including low quality learning, inadequate skills, high education spending that does not guarantee quality, and deteriorating public trust in education. Ukraine is now implementing a major education reform programme: The New Ukrainian School.
Attracting, retaining and training quality teachers, reforming the curriculum, particularly for children to acquire key life competencies and crosscutting skills), and investing in data collection are crucial parts of education reform.
Access to early learning remains problematic, particularly in rural areas. Recent government support for early learning reduced waiting lists for pre-schools but demand remains largely unmet: 40,000 children are currently waiting.
Many children with disabilities appear marginalized from mainstream education. The number of children registered with disabilities across Ukraine (153,547) is increasing despite the falling child population. Ukraine is still far from creating a barrier-free and inclusive environment, especially in pre-schools and rural communities.
Meanwhile, the conflict has further damaged the education system. In total, 737,000 schoolchildren and teachers in more than 3,500 education facilities face sustained personal, social and economic effects of the conflict, and 437,000 children and teachers learn and teach within 20 kilometres of the ‘contact line’. Conflict-affected children often face lack of learning space and learning materials, and insufficient qualified teachers with the skills to meet their psychological needs. Particularly vulnerable children include those with disabilities.
Fifty-eight education facilities were damaged in 2016-2018 and 65 closed in conflict-affected areas. One in three schools within 20 kilometres of the ‘contact line’ reported conflict-related safety concerns, including military presence nearby and unexploded ordnance. This leads to trauma and emotional distress.
UNICEF is committed to linking humanitarian, recovery and development approaches, ensuring acute needs are met, and fostering resilience in affected communities, and self-recovery of displaced families.