28 Aug 2023

NESET Presents New Ad-Hoc Report on Resilience of Education Systems: Lessons from Ukraine

In the wake of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine since February 2022, the world has witnessed an astonishing display of resilience within Ukraine’s education system. The latest ad-hoc report by Aigul Alieva, Iryna Nechitailo and titled “Resilience of Education Systems: what lessons can be learned from Ukraine?” delves into the story of how Ukraine’s schools have navigated the challenges posed by the conflict.

Approximately 8.2 million Ukrainians, including a significant number of children, have been displaced and are seeking refuge in Europe due to the ongoing conflict. The war has also left its mark on the education landscape, with over 3,200 educational institutions either completely or partially destroyed across the country. Despite these formidable obstacles, Ukrainian schools managed to resume educational activities within a remarkably short span of 4-6 weeks from the onset of the Russian aggression. Now, 18 months into the conflict, these schools continue to function, displaying an inspiring level of dedication and adaptability.

The NESET report, co-authored by Aigul Alijeva and Iryna Nechitailo, investigates the factors that have contributed to this exceptional resilience. The authors draw on an array of research evidence, including focus groups with parents in the European Union and Ukraine, along with interviews with school administrators and educators.

Several key determinants emerge from the report that have played a pivotal role in sustaining the Ukrainian education system during these challenging times:

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Integration: The report underscores the crucial role of ICT in facilitating remote teaching and learning, enabling continuity in education despite the conflict’s disruptions.
  • Strong Leadership and Communication: The authors highlight the significance of uninterrupted communication and robust leadership in managing schools effectively, especially during times of crisis.
  • Decentralized Governance and Autonomy: The changing mode of education governance in Ukraine, characterized by increased autonomy for schools and principals, has contributed to the system’s resilience.
  • Invaluable Teachers: The dedication, adaptability, and resourcefulness of Ukrainian teachers emerge as a cornerstone of the education system’s resilience.
  • Overall System Adaptability: The education system’s flexibility and adaptability have been pivotal in enabling schools to adjust their methods and strategies in response to the conflict’s challenges.

Beyond the realm of education, the report examines how these qualities of resilience have had broader societal impacts. It emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in supporting Ukraine’s recovery and fostering innovation in education and research. The international community’s engagement, the authors argue, can play a crucial role in bolstering Ukraine’s educational system in the aftermath of the conflict.