In Handy 14:56 09 Aug 2022

New school year: everything parents need to know before September 1

Will the school be online or offline? What will the educational process look like in the occupied and front-line territories? What school should IDP children go to? How to combine studies in a Ukrainian school and evacuation abroad? We answer the main questions.

What is the problem? 

There is a little less than a month left until the end of summer. The new school year will start soon. Because of russia's war against Ukraine, everything has changed so much for many schoolchildren that there are now more questions than answers about their future studies.

What is the solution?

"The academic year will begin on September 1 offline wherever possible," said Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. It is good if the school and its students are in the rear. To start learning "as before," the educational institution only needs to have a reliable shelter with everything necessary. And what to do if the child is an IDP, under occupation, in a war zone, or being evacuated abroad? Let's try to understand this and find answers to the most urgent questions of parents of Ukrainian schoolchildren.

How does it work?

School online

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The main issue that worries parents now is the safety of children during the new school year. On social networks, there are already arguments among parents about whether it is worth starting the educational process offline or not. Part of them are for offline education — for too long, the children were on "distance learning due to numerous quarantines." Therefore, it should be done if there is an opportunity to open the school doors for children. Others do not trust the school shelters prepared by educators and are not ready to risk their children's lives. After all, today, missiles can hit any yard or school building, in any part of the country, even in the deep rear. The 98 frontline and border communities have become particularly demanding regarding security, as rockets and projectiles can hit there even before the air raid signal is activated.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine recommended organizing the educational process depending on the security situation in each settlement. One of the key criteria for the full-time educational process is the availability of an equipped shelter for all participants of the educational process. What it should be like and what behavior patterns the State Emergency Service recommends can be found here.

Currently, the State Emergency Service is inspecting educational institutions for the shelters. In June, educational ombudsman Serhiy Horbachev published preliminary data. At that time, only 1,100 out of 13,700 schools had the necessary shelters. However, already at the beginning of July, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrsky, reported that a large part of Ukrainian schools had shelters. "Now the logistics are being worked out to determine which class goes where specifically, it must be in the shelter within a few minutes, who is specifically and personally responsible for ensuring that people are in the shelter," the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs clarified. "The requirement is that are protective structures a few meters away, a maximum of a few minutes walk from the school where you can stay during an emergency." The school can take children to underground subway stations, underground parking lots, underground shopping centers, etc.

What if there is no shelter?

Statistics show that if we do not consider the shelters next to schools, now in Ukraine, only 11% of educational institutions have their own civil defense facilities. 30% of schools are ready for offline learning. This figure is averaged. For example, in the Vinnytsia region, 29.5% of educational facilities, which are to start schooling offline, are currently equipped. In the Lviv region, 84% of the institutions currently have their own defense facilities.

If the institution does not have the opportunity to prepare a shelter or arrange one nearby, the children will continue to study remotely. "In educational institutions that do not meet security requirements, the academic year will not start offline," said Alyona Matveeva, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Is it possible to study remotely at a school that conducts offline classes?

Parents have the right to decide where and in what form their child will study. It was announced by the Minister of Education and Science, Serhii Shkarlet. He refuted the misinformation about mandatory offline education, which is actively spreading in society.

Currently, few educational institutions provide distance education. Distance education is organized by the educational institution based on the decision of the pedagogical council, if there are educational and methodological, and system technical support. Right now, educational institutions are finding out the number of children who plan to study online and offline to prepare for the educational process. If necessary, distance learning will be organized as a separate form of education.

Suppose the school conducts classes only offline, and the parents do not agree to this. In that case, the child is offered to be transferred to an educational institution with a distance education form. Some local self-government bodies are already organizing distance learning in one city school and inviting parents to transfer their children to this school. And those who will study full-time will remain in their schools.

In general, the Ministry of Education and Science recommends that schools create classes in which online learning will be carried out for children whose parents do not want the child to study in the usual mode.

What will happen to education in frontline communities?

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There are eight Ukraine regions where active hostilities are taking place. As noted by the Minister of Education and Science Serhiy Shkarlet, there is no question of offline education, especially in the frontline zone. In the frontline regions and border communities, education will take place online.

What if our school is destroyed?

Pupils and teachers whose schools were destroyed during the war will be transferred to the nearest educational institutions. If possible, the destroyed educational institution can continue to work in a remote format.

What will happen to the educational process in the occupied territories?

The occupying "authority" will resume education in Ukrainian schools according to russian programs. It puts pressure on school principals, teachers, and parents of students. In his turn, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, emphasized that in Ukraine, the academic year for temporarily occupied students will also start online. Currently, there are no direct recommendations on exactly how this will happen if the occupiers say, permanently block access to the Internet. But with an installed VPN, students will be able to study according to Ukrainian educational programs.

It is known that the academic year for the Kherson region should begin on October 1, and the formation of the educational network is currently underway. Institutions where most teachers have left the occupied territories are already announcing the education process and working on educational programs, said Oleksandr Samoilenko, the head of the Kherson Regional Council.

However, the authorities of Ukraine strongly recommend that parents with children still try to leave the Ukrainian territory. And already here act as internally displaced persons.

What about school if the family is an IDP?

Parents of migrant children have the right to decide whether the student will attend school in a new city or continue attending online classes at the old school. It was stated by the educational ombudsman Serhiy Horbachev.

The Minister of Education recommends that parents forced to move with their children to a safer territory of Ukraine send their schoolchildren to educational institutions that will work full-time. "Still, offline education is the best option, so if the evacuation can last a long time and there is a chance to study offline, then the child should attend school. It will help their socialization, contribute to the provision of psychological help, and the results of education will be better than in the case with online education," Horbachev believes.

How to enroll a child in a school in a new place?

An application, a copy of the child's birth certificate, and a medical certificate are required for school enrollment. Parents, guardians, or the child's legal representatives can submit documents to schools. They should be brought in person or sent by e-mail — you can also register your child online.

If you evacuated in a hurry and forgot the child's documents or the documents were lost with the house, there is a simplified procedure for enrolling in school:

  1. Migrants should contact the nearest school.
  2. A parent or guardian must be with the child.
  3. It is enough to have a certificate on the status of an internally displaced person.
  4. An interview will be conducted with the child to determine their knowledge level.

In case of losing the birth certificate and information from the previous educational institution, the new school director will contact the guardianship authorities. There they will help restore documents for the child.

The child is in evacuation to another country. Where to study?

You can study at a Ukrainian school remotely or go to school in the country where your child is (often, this is a necessity and social services insist on this). For example, schools and kindergartens in Poland are ready to accept approximately 400,000 Ukrainian children. It is also possible to combine studies both there and here. Parents or legal representatives of the child decide how best to act.

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There is also an opportunity to study at a Ukrainian Saturday school in the country where you are. Here is a list of Ukrainian educational institutions outside of Ukraine. Some of the listed schools cooperate with the International Ukrainian School and have the opportunity to offer their students, in addition to studying Ukrainian, to obtain a Ukrainian-style education and official state-style documents that confirm the received educational levels.

The Osvitoriya portal has collected a selection of Ukrainian schools abroad that teach under the Ministry of Education and Culture program and provide an opportunity to obtain Ukrainian education documents.

How to continue studying at your school?

Hundreds of thousands of families are now abroad, in countries where Ukrainians are required to attend a local school. That is, even if the educational institution where the child previously studied introduces online education, they will not be able to attend it because, at that time, they will be attending the host country's school. But many Ukrainians still plan to finish school in Ukraine. And they would not like to miss a year or two in a Ukrainian school.

In this case, schools often offer to simply leave the school. After all, if the child does not attend classes, the school will not be able to certify him. However, there is a solution. According to Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine "On Education," general secondary education can be organized in the following forms:

  • institutional (full-time: day, evening);
  • remote (distance, online);
  • individual (external, family, home, pedagogical patronage).

All these forms are absolutely equivalent. The forms of education provided by the institution must be indicated on its website. If the institution does not have its own website, such information should be sought on the websites of the founders of the institution.

Family learning is the ability to stay in your school and learn at your own pace. Teachers should provide a list of topics. Once a semester, they will conduct control tests. The child's knowledge will be evaluated, and the child will be transferred to the next class. These follow-up assessments will be conducted online if the child is physically outside of Ukraine.


Can a child be expelled from school if they lose contact with their teachers and educational institution?

No, they cannot. No student, regardless of where they are, whether they have the opportunity to maintain contact with their school or not, will not be excluded from the Ukrainian education system. Expulsion is possible only if parents apply to the school.

More useful solutions!

The State Education Quality Service and the Education Quality Assurance System initiative, which is implemented within the framework of the "Support to Governmental Reforms in Ukraine" (SURGe) project, created a website about the school education of children who were forced to leave Ukraine. The resource contains a description of the education system of Ukraine, a database of Ukrainian educational programs in English, and answers in Ukrainian to common questions of parents of children.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has also prepared information on the specifics of the organization of the new 2022/23 academic year and recommendations for priority steps in preparation for it.

Here, you can find out what changes await educators in the new school year.

In Handy

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