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Ukraine ‘grateful’ for UK support as schools destroyed

The Ukrainian government today thanked UK universities for supporting the war-torn country’s education system over the past seven months, during which time over 2,000 academic institutions have been damaged by conflict. 

Ukraine's education minister thanked UK universities for supporting the war-torn country’s education system. Photo: Unsplash

Over 2000 institutions have been damaged and 284 completely destroyed in the war

Speaking via video call at Universities UK’s 2022 conference, Serhiy Shkarlet, Ukraine’s minister for education and science, told attendees that their support has helped to develop the country’s education provision and ensured that Ukrainian students are accepted into universities in different countries.  

Shkarlet said Ukraine’s education system “has suffered because of the atrocities of the Russians”, with over 2,000 institutions damaged and 284 completely destroyed. 

“I hope in the future, we have educational system that’s based on the best education standard worldwide”

“This time is not easy for Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Shkarlet told attendees in a translated speech. “But in this time we have some good chance to change our education system. With our colleagues, and especially from UK colleagues, we’ve implemented [a] new educational system. And I hope in the future, we have [an] educational system that’s based on the best education standard worldwide.”

UUK launched its #TwinForHope campaign at the event, celebrating over 75 partnerships formed between UK and Ukrainian universities since April. The new campaign aims to highlight the positive impact that the partnerships are having. 

Support from UK universities has included helping to physically rebuild damaged campuses, mutually recognising credits to enable Ukrainian students to participate in online courses, preserving Ukrainian archives in UK institutions and providing mental health support to staff and students suffering from PTSD.  

“The conversation that we started with Ukrainian universities was based on the premise that we should learn from them what they wanted and then we should act, and that’s where the twinning initiative came from,” Vivienne Stern, UUK chief executive, said at the conference.

Cormack Consultancy Group has been key in implementing the twinning initiative, Stern acknowledged.

The long list of partnerships includes The University of Sheffield twinning with Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, The University of Manchester with Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University, the University of Hull and Mariupol State University, as well as Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln and Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University.

“We’re now trying to do a little bit of a job of explaining to a broader audience what your marvellous institutions have been doing within this initiative,” Stern added.

The twinning program is partially funded by the British government and aims to ensure that Ukraine’s universities “not only survive but emerge stronger from the war”. 

The UUK conference took place from September 7-8 at the University of Leicester. 

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