Institutions across 11 regions scheduled for restoration under the build-back better approach
UNDP and EU commence construction work to restore war-damaged schools
September 7, 2023
ZHYTOMYR, Ukraine, 7 September 2023 – Since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2014, thousands of schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions have been destroyed across 18 regions of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Education and Science Ministry has reported that 3,758 educational institutions have been damaged as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion, with 363 of them having been completely destroyed.
As part of a comprehensive effort to get Ukrainian students back into offline school, the United Nations Development Programme has launched a large-scale project with the European Union to restore and equip at least 66 facilities in 11 regions across the country. Today, construction work on the first nine schools commenced in Zhytomyr Oblast. Representatives of Zhytomyr Regional Administration, development partners, district administrations, local government bodies, regional educational institutions, and construction subcontractors participated in the launch event, which was organized under the national EU-UNDP project “EU4UASchools: Build Back Better”.
At the launch event, Claudia Amaral, the head of the EU Humanitarian Aid Office in Ukraine, said the European Union was committed to providing access to education to as many Ukrainian children as possible.
“The opportunity to attend school and receive an education is an integral aspect of a prosperous future, not only for individual children but for the entire country,” Amaral said. “That's why the rehabilitation of Ukrainian schools and the creation of safe learning spaces for pupils are among the EU’s top priorities."
UNDP Resident Representative Jaco Cilliers said all children have the right to an education, no matter the circumstances – even in wartime.
“Rebuilding this great country will require the talents and muscles of every Ukrainian man and woman,” Cilliers said. “Thus, no mind should be left behind, and there is no time to waste. We need to get all the children back into safe and smart schools so they can learn the skills today that Ukraine will need tomorrow.”
Vitaliy Bunechko, the head of Zhytomyr Regional Administration, said that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, 82 educational institutions have been damaged in Zhytomyr Oblast, including 46 schools, 20 kindergartens, and 16 higher and vocational education institutions.
"The support of each partner in accelerating repair work and restoring educational institutions in our region is crucial for us,” Bunechko said. “Our priority remains the restoration of critical infrastructure in the region and ensuring residents can live a normal life, despite the ongoing military conflict. We’re making efforts to ensure the well-being of our new generation, which deserves education and development, regardless of the circumstances. We’re grateful to our partners for their support and assistance in restoring the first nine educational institutions in Zhytomyr Oblast, where our children are eagerly waiting to continue their education within the walls of their own schools.”
Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, Head of Communications at UNDP Ukraine; e-mail: email@example.com
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