Russian military aggression has dealt a severe blow to Ukraine's education sector. Thousands of schools across the country have been damaged or destroyed, and many teachers have fled the conflict zones, thereby disrupting the education of millions of students.
In response to this crisis, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis has increased Switzerland's support for the 'Decentralisation for Improved Democratic Education' (DECIDE) project by CHF 5.5 million in order to rehabilitate around 30 schools in the regions directly affected by the fighting in Chernihiv, Odesa and Poltava. The project involves the installation of secure multi-purpose classrooms to ensure uninterrupted learning, even during air raid warnings.
The rehabilitation and upgrading of schools in municipalities that have long-standing partnerships with the SDC will provide pupils with a safe and appropriate environment for face-to-face classroom learning. This initiative will not only strengthen local public services but also bolster the education system's resilience in crisis situations. The continuation of face-to-face teaching will also contribute to the integration of displaced children and their families into host communities.
This additional Swiss contribution will also enable the DECIDE project to provide technical and pedagogical support for online education for displaced children and children living in areas particularly vulnerable to hostilities where in-person teaching is unfeasible. Thanks to this contribution from the Swiss Confederation, nearly 15,000 schoolchildren will be able to continue their education in safety and dignity.
Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science is committed to rebuilding the education sector, ensuring that children return to school, and guaranteeing a safe learning environment and education services for the duration of the war. The DECIDE project is being implemented in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, the Ukrainian Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development, and local authorities.
Switzerland's support for schools is part of the CHF 140 million aid plan for Ukraine announced by the Federal Council in February and approved by Parliament.
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