EU scrambles to close gaps in education and childcare for Ukrainian refugees – POLITICO

The European Commission announced on Wednesday a series of new measures aimed at alleviating the problems related to education and children faced by Ukrainian refugees arriving in Europe.

The policies proposed by the EU aim to harmonize the recognition of Ukrainian diplomas, give schools access to the Ukrainian national curriculum and fund psychological support for children fleeing war.

“Education is probably the most important urgent and concrete task ahead of us,” Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said at a press conference announcing the proposals alongside Vice-President of the Commission, Dubravka Šuica, and Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

More than 3.5 million people have fled to the EU since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine almost a month ago, most of them heading to Hungary, Poland, Romania and neighboring Slovakia. The EU also announced on Wednesday that it would release an additional 3.4 billion euros in recovery funds to help member states deal with refugees.

Schinas said European schools will soon be able to access Ukrainian teaching materials via the EU School Education Gateway’s online learning platform, but admitted that this would only be useful if children also had electronic devices to access. in lessons.

He also said that the EU was finalizing Ukraine’s National Qualifications Framework, which would allow refugees’ diplomas and professional qualifications to be immediately recognized as valid. Countries like Romania and Poland have already taken steps to ease similar legal hurdles in recent weeks.

Refugees will also soon be able to access an online platform called the EU Talent Pool, which allows candidates to showcase their skills and availability virtually to potential employers, following previous trials of the tool in Southern Europe.

The EU will also provide funding for “psychosocial support and counselling” for children, according to Šuica, and launch a new platform to “strengthen coordination between key child rights actors to identify further needs”, the European Union Network for the Rights of the Child.

The UN estimates that 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, with an average of 55 crossing the border every minute.

“This war in Ukraine seriously endangers the safety of children, their rights and their physical and psychological well-being,” Šuica said. “It is therefore a priority for the European Commission to respond urgently to their humanitarian needs.”

Helen D. Jessen