“The transformation of education begins with teachers” is the theme for World Teachers' Day 2022. For Ukraine’s teachers, who have had to transform the way they work and teach over the last seven months, these words take on an entirely different meaning.
Ukrainian teachers and children continue to be impacted by the war - whether they’re refugees abroad, displaced in their own country, or trapped in areas under fire. According to the authorities, 2,292 education institutions have been damaged and 309 destroyed since the Russian offensive began in February.
This has meant that two out of three children who were living in Ukraine at the beginning of this year have had their education disrupted, with some of these children out of education completely. Given the experiences of these children, and what they have witnessed, many are also traumatized. The classroom, whether virtual or otherwise, can help children to heal by being a place of security through which normality, curiosity and play can return.
Supporting Ukraine’s teachers
To support Ukrainian teachers to keep teaching, and students to keep learning, Google.org are providing UNESCO with €1.2M to train and equip 50,000 teachers in Ukraine with psychosocial skills to support the mental health of their students. This will help Ukrainian teachers with some critical tools they need to continue teaching – including into the longer term – in these challenging circumstances. This latest support builds on the over $40 million in cash donations and $5 million of in-kind support for humanitarian relief efforts provided by Google.org and Google employees.
Providing the tools
Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with organisations including the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science and UNESCO to provide Chromebooks to schools - helping teachers connect with their students, wherever they are now based.
Since then, for many teachers the challenges have escalated. This academic year started with more than 40% of Ukrainian schools giving classes online to increasing numbers of displaced and traumatized children.
To help teachers connect with their students, wherever they and their students are, we've increased our commitment to provide Chromebooks from 43,000 to 50,000. Thanks to our close collaboration with UNESCO and the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Science, these Chromebooks have started to arrive. They are currently being distributed to teachers in and around the Dnipro region, and will be provided throughout the country in the weeks ahead.
Of course, university and college students have been impacted by the war in Ukraine too - with many unable to attend their classes in person or in real-time. To help support them continue in their education, we’ve now given 250 universities and colleges six months’ free access to our premium Google Workspace for Education features. These features support higher education online learning, allowing universities to host meetings for up to 250 students and record them in Drive.
Providing the resources
To help Ukraine’s teachers adapt to giving lessons purely online, Google is working with local partners to deliver training in online tools, such as Google Workspace for Education, through a series of workshops and resources. We’ve recently increased our goal from 50,000 to 200,000 teachers trained by June 2023.
We’ll continue to search for ways we can partner with Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science, and those of bordering countries, to help those impacted by the war in Ukraine - including the millions of school and university students trying to access education in this trying and difficult time.