September 21, 2022

Education: Impact of the war in Ukraine (May 2022) – Ukraine

  • This note presents the prospects for maintaining the enrollment of Ukrainian students in educational services and for combating accumulated learning losses.

  • Displacement of students and educators. The war in Ukraine has caused more than 6 million Ukrainians to flee to neighboring countries. This includes nearly 665,000 students (16% of the total number of enrolled students) and over 25,000 educators (6% of the total number of educators in the country). Another eight million Ukrainians are internally displaced1. Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) mainly include children, women and the elderly. More than 74% of displaced people have children in their homes.
    The displacement had a significant impact on the delivery of educational services, as well as damage and destruction of educational institutions. As of May 6, 2022, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), 1,635 schools and universities (5% of the total) had been damaged by war and 126 had been destroyed.

  • Current efforts of the education system to support student enrollment and service delivery. The current imperative need is to keep students engaged and enable them to successfully complete the 2022 academic year. invasion), but almost exclusively via online/remote modalities. More than 91,000 internally displaced students have re-enrolled in schools in their places of temporary residence (especially in Lviv Oblast). There are various online schooling initiatives to maintain access to education during the war, both for Ukrainian students and refugee students outside Ukraine, although there are significant gaps in coverage. Needs assessment surveys are ongoing. Universities have relatively better coverage, followed by schools (grades 5-11), which have access to the AllUkrainian Online School electronic platform for distance and blended learning, established during the pandemic to ensure access to programs and learning materials from grades 5 to 11. students. Although the average daily traffic has increased 20 times since the beginning of the war, the online platform is static and many teachers do not use it regularly because it offers few opportunities for direct interaction between students and teachers. There is much less online content available for younger children (K-4).

  • Impact on learning opportunities and learning outcomes. School disruptions due to war or pandemics can have long-lasting negative effects on learning, as they impact all elements of a student’s opportunity to learn: (i) less time spent on learning and (ii) lower quality of teaching via distance/online modalities resulting in (iii) less content covered during instruction. Ukraine was on par with its regional neighbors in Eastern Europe2 before the pandemic, and it surpassed them in terms of student learning resilience3; however, estimates of learning losses due to the Russian invasion suggest that learning outcomes are now lower than the lowest performing countries in Europe. Continued school closures only exacerbate learning losses in Ukraine. Schools were closed or disrupted due to Covid-19 for 31 weeks in Ukraine, or almost 8 months, resulting in an estimated learning loss of around 20 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) points ( based on OECD learning averages per year).
    We add another two months due to the war to date. Despite the aforementioned efforts to support learning, many Ukrainian children are unlikely to return to school until the fall, losing at least another five months of school time. In total, learning losses in Ukraine can amount to more than a year, due to prolonged pandemic-related closures and war. HLO estimates due to this duration of school closures could drop from 481 to around 451 points, below the worst performing countries in Europe, Moldova and Armenia.4 The long-term effect could be substantial , with future income losses of more than 10% a year per student.