War disrupts education in Ukraine

As we pass a month since Russia invaded Ukraine, more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries, including Poland, Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

Many of those who have crossed borders to flee the country are university students whose education has been disrupted by the war.

Some Ukrainian universities have resumed teaching online, but as students continue to seek help and shelter in their home and neighboring countries, questions and concerns about their uncertain future have been raised. .

“Are the teachers safe enough to teach us? Can all students take these courses online? asks Yousef Wassef, an international medical student at VN Karazin Kharkiv National University whose classes have just resumed online.

Wassef was visiting the United Arab Emirates when the invasion of Ukraine began, however, many of his peers witnessed the destruction of their university in the city of Kharkiv.

Yousef says: “From the stories my friends have told me, from the videos they have shown me walking the streets of what was once our beloved city, it looks so messed up and destroyed… it’s just heartbreaking.

The scene of a fire in the building of the Department of Economics at the Karazin Kharkiv National University, hit in a recent bombardment by Russia, March 2, 2022.

This destruction has made it even more difficult for international students to transfer to other universities. Wassef explains that he does not have access to his transcripts to transfer to another university.

“My transcripts are at the university, and in order for me to have access to them, I need someone inside the university to send them to me.” Says Youssef.

As many students flee to neighboring countries, some universities have temporarily waived their transcript requirements and are accepting applicants midway through the academic year.

However, this aid is not without difficulties, because the programs differ from one university to another.

“They don’t know if my subjects correspond to their curriculum as a third-year medical student, for example, in Poland.

Wassef believes that even if the region were to see some stability soon, education in Ukraine will still have a long way to go until it recovers.

“Maybe one day, after a few years, and maybe after a few attempts at restoration… I don’t think even then it will go back to how it was.”

To help support students in Ukraine, VN Karazin Kharkiv National University is requesting financial aid to help support its students, faculty, and staff. Currently, the institution accepts donations through PayPal.

Other ways to help students fleeing war can be found on this website.

Helen D. Jessen