Resilience of education systems: what lessons can be learned from Ukraine?

Aigul Alieva, Iryna Nechitailo
Ad-hoc report 2023

Since it began in February 2022, Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has led to a massive evacuation. Approximately 8.2 million Ukrainians are currently seeking safety in Europe, many of whom are children. It has also led to the complete or partial destruction of more than 3,200 educational institutions across Ukraine. In spite of these and many other considerable challenges, Ukrainian schools resumed education within 4-6 weeks after the start of the Russian aggression. Eighteen months into the war, they are carrying on with their daily work and responsibilities. This capacity of schools and teachers to deliver education in these seemingly impossible circumstances has reignited interest in the resilience of the Ukrainian education system.

In this report, we review the main determinants which, in our opinion, have contributed to a recovery and reinforcement of schools. This is conducted through a review of published research evidence, focus groups carried out with the parents of children in the EU and Ukraine, as well as interviews with school heads and teachers in Ukraine. We analyse several factors that have largely contributed to this educational resilience – the crucial role of ICT in teaching; strong leadership, uninterrupted communication and the changing mode of education governance, with more autonomy being given to schools and school principals; the crucial role of teachers; and the overall adaptability of the education system. In addition, we review the new functions of education system that have, in turn, contributed to resilience on a wider societal level. We conclude by discussing the importance of international cooperation to the recovery of education, research and innovation in Ukraine.

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