On March 23, American Councils hosted “Education During the War: One Year of Russia’s Aggression Against Ukrainian Schools,” a presentation by savED, a Ukrainian international charitable foundation. savED was founded to restore and improve Ukrainian educational infrastructure destroyed by Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war. savED founders, Anna Novosad (the former Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine) and Ksana Nechyporenko were joined by Olenka Severenchuk, Head of the savED Charity Fund, for the event where they shared their research on the impacts of the war on Ukrainian children’s education.
The presenters were welcomed by Executive Vice President of American Councils Lisa Choate, who reiterated American Councils’ commitment to supporting education in Ukraine during and after the war through initiatives like the Emergency Support for Ukraine Initiative and the Ukrainian Visiting Scholars Program (VSP) that supports academics from universities impacted by the war.
Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, spoke on the importance of supporting the reconstruction of Ukraine, emphasizing that preserving education in Ukraine is an essential tool of resistance against Russian aggressors. Ambassador Markarova gave special thanks to the work of savED and American Councils in maintaining education in Ukraine.
Ms. Severenchuk presented savED’s research on how the war has affected access to secondary education and what is needed to restore access to schools. savED’s research focuses on the damages to educational infrastructure, the influence of war on educational processes, and the restoration of Ukrainian schools, presenting testimonials from Ukrainian students, teachers, and parents.
The research found that along with the physical destruction of educational institutions, the war in Ukraine has dramatically impacted students’ ability to succeed in school, with 85% of parents reporting that the learning gaps in knowledge and skills experienced as a result of the pandemic and the war, and 61% of parents observing symptoms of stress in their children, such as deterioration in the quality and duration of sleep, problems with concentration. The research was conducted by Cedos think tank at the request of savED with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
savED concluded their presentation by introducing the new Minister of Education and Science for Ukraine, Mr. Oksen Lisovyi, who was appointed on March 21 and gave his first public remarks to international partners in his new position. Joining the presentation from Ukraine, Minister Lisovyi provided additional context on the destruction seen in Ukraine and advocated for education reform for the future success of Ukraine’s youth.
Ms. Novosad then invited a panel of distinguished diplomats, researchers, and education advocates for a discussion on designing recovery in education and beyond, discussing the urgent needs and long-term challenges in rebuilding the Ukrainian education system. The panel featured Ted Dintersmith (founder of WhatSchoolCouldBe.org), Charles North (Deputy CEO of Global Partnerships for Education), Dr. Harry Anthony Patrinos (Adviser of Office of the Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia for the World Bank), Vladyslav Rashkovan (Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund), and Ambassador William B. Taylor (Vice President, Europe and Russia and the United States Institute of Peace and former United States Ambassador to Ukraine). The panel discussed the importance of strategic partnerships with Ukraine and the future of Ukrainian education.
American Councils is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with savED and support their inspirational and essential mission to rehabilitate Ukrainian schools. The “Education During the War: One Year of Russia's Aggression Against Ukrainian Schools" presentation and discussion were supported by American Councils, the International Renaissance Foundation, and United Help Ukraine. Thank you to the savED team, Ambassador Oksana Markarova, Minister Lisovyi, and the distinguished panel of speakers who brought their insight and expertise to this important subject.