Written By: Rahman Nazar Farhad and Mursal Ibrahimy
The war robes the student’s friends, family, homes, safety, schools, classrooms, stability, and hopes for the future.
There is no easy way to keep educational institutions operating in the war zone. Reports indicate that the Ukraine and Russia war from Feb 2022 to Feb 2023 has partially damaged 2855 and completely destroyed 406 institutions, negatively impacting 3261 educational institutions.
According to Education in Emergency, the war has left behind 450 children killed, 867 wounded, and 16.6 million refugees, of whom 7.5 million school-going children are forcibly displaced inside and outside the neighbouring countries.
The war has robbed the students’ friends, family, homes, safety, schools, classrooms, stability, and hopes for the future.
Anyways, despite the devastating challenges and impact of war on the education system, there are still international and national institutions that are showing high resilience and looking for possible solutions to keep students engaged with educational resources in online and in-campus mode, of whom Global, Digital Library, UNHCR, NORAD, the World Bank, Curious Learning, and UNESCO are good examples of the institution serving in the war zone, stated by Humanitarian Response. Info.
We know that the referenced organizations and many others are mobilizing internal and external resources to intervene and ensure continuity of teaching and learning in Ukraine and beyond to enable refugees who have fled the country to remain engaged with education and continue learning, as per UNESCO.
However, to what extent is delivering quality education feasible that touches the hearts and brains of students and avoids destruction caused by airstrikes, bombing and shelling, heavy artillery, and other explosive weapons in the country?
While in the 21st century, digital and online education plays a vital role in global connectivity and the exchange of knowledge skills, it still cannot be as effective as on-campus educational programs, which easily provide an enabling environment for socialization and a psychosocial environment for friendship and emotional connections.
For any country, whether Ukraine, Afghanistan, or Syria, getting children back to school is vital. It requires a critical step in restoring normalcy in their lives, According to Education in Emergency.
Wars put nations in trauma, they negatively impact their hearts and souls and leave toxicity and stress behind for generations, and the treatment of post-war trauma is socialization; for school children, normalcy starts when children can return to schools and interact with their school environment, friends, classmates, and teachers.
In Ukraine, a continuation of war put the electricity and internet infrastructure at destruction risk. Meantime, war could lead to control of the media and internet, which can cause temporary lockdowns by the ruling government.
Therefore online education also works better in a peaceful and normal educational environment, where students purposefully take the educational programs and learn. We have been observing the provision of online educational platforms with laptops, tablets, gadgets, and other educational program devices by International organizations, which are good tools for temporary interventions to keep the programs going, which may time to time, work with temporary disruptions caused by the airstrikes, bombing and shelling, heavy artillery, and other explosive weapons from both sides of the countries involved in the war; here we mean Ukraine as well as Russia.
In conclusion, online education may work better for those who have fled the country and are now in a country with stable internet and electricity infrastructure.
However, for those in the war zone, it will be hindered by a temporary ban on the internet due to political challenges and destruction from war. The continuation of war could further negatively impact the damage and destruction of educational institutions.
It could lead to further causality of school children in the war zone. Therefore, negotiation for peace and peace talks are vital for normalcy and the return of children to school environments filled with love, friendship, and strong bonds of relationship between students, teachers, and parents.