Between February 2022 and October 2023, the Russian military damaged 3,428 schools in Ukraine. Another 365 have been completely destroyed. Human Rights Watch writes this in the report ‘Tanks on the playground’ that was published on Thursday. The organization calls on the international community to pay more attention to the future of Ukrainian children.
As of January, 95 percent of eligible children in Ukraine were enrolled in school. That is an impressive number in times of war. The actions of the Russian army make that task even more difficult. A study by think tank Cedos shows that 72 percent of Ukrainian parents believe that their children need additional help, especially because many students still have a learning gap left over from the corona pandemic. The children who attend classes remotely are also having a hard time, as many places are without electricity or internet.
During the war, Russia often used schools in occupied territories as base camps or storage facilities. When the troops move on, the schools are looted en masse. Computers, televisions, electronics and heating appliances are taken, while this is a war crime. The recovery is slow.
At the initiative of Norway and Argentina, the United Nations introduced the ‘Safe Schools Declaration’ in 2015. In the meantime, 118 countries have committed themselves to monitoring educational institutions in times of war. Ukraine signed the declaration in 2019. Russia has not yet done so. (Belga)