Response, resolve, resilience: The invasion of Ukraine, one year on
It has been exactly one year since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the situation on the ground is as challenging, desperate and shocking as ever. The unjustified military aggression has resulted in more than 8m Ukrainians seeking refuge in European countries and internally displaced more than 6.5m people, 1m of whom are children. Education has been significantly impacted, with 3,139 facilities either damaged or destroyed, and the mismatch between skills supply and demand in the labour market has never been greater.
Yet, Ukraine and its people have been undeterred in their resolve to respond to these challenges. The Ministry of Education and Science has successfully managed to reinstate the delivery of education, either in-person, online or in a hybrid mode in 63% of primary schools, 86% of secondary schools and 85% of vocational training schools. A portal called Ukrainian Education in Emergency has been established, providing information to students and teachers on how to adapt to new schools and curricula in host EU and other countries. Under the EU4Skills project, classes have been adapted to offer online courses and materials translated into Ukrainian while providing the opportunity to join the Erasmus+ project. Priority, too, has been given to the labour market, with the government issuing grants to boost entrepreneurship and job creation, as well as supporting relocation costs of companies moving from impacted regions.
Ukraine’s resilience is helping the country to look ahead, and the international community is an integral part of the recovery effort. The EU is assisting with the reconstruction with a €100m support package and is jointly leading the international Ukraine reconstruction platform with the Ukrainian government. The European Training Foundation (ETF), the EU agency providing expertise on human capital and labour markets, has created a Ukrainian Resource Hub which provides education and work information aimed at helping displaced Ukrainians access education and training opportunities in EU member states. Recognition of qualifications and competences facilitates the integration of displaced Ukrainians into EU labour markets and to support this, the European Commission and the ETF, jointly with Ukrainian and European partners, have produced a comparison report which makes it possible to compare the Ukrainian qualifications with the European Qualifications Framework. The ETF has also recognised the need to create an innovative e-learning and skills development programme, UA Re-Emerge(ncy), which aims to collect and adapt professional short modules and other e-learning resources from the EU and EU neighbouring countries. This ongoing programme will help Ukrainians to reskill and upskill and be active participants in the reconstruction of the country.
The Russian aggression against Ukraine has not yet ended but as the European Commission's President von der Leyen said one year ago:
'The EU is united in its solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners.'
The ETF, more than ever, stands with Ukraine.