As children return to school in Poland, UNICEF stresses importance of getting those who fled war in Ukraine back to learning – Poland


WARSAW, Poland, September 1, 2022— On a back-to-school day that saw hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children join Polish classrooms, UNICEF highlighted the importance of getting them back to learning and what it takes to get there.

UNICEF is helping Poland enroll the large number of new students in the education system, from hiring teachers to learning the Polish language, from mental health support to expanding classroom capacity. classroom and the provision of textbooks and learning materials.

“The opportunity to learn in a safe space with friends and teachers not only provides education, it also brings a crucial sense of stability, normalcy and hope to children affected by war,” said said Rashed Mustafa, UNICEF National Emergency Response Coordinator. Office in Poland. Speaking in Wrocław at the reopening of Szkoła Podstawowa nr.83 im, supported by UNICEF. Jana Kasprowicza, a quarter of whose students are Ukrainian children, he added: “Ensuring that children who have fled war can continue to learn can make the difference between hope and despair.

“We value our partnership with UNICEF and our shared commitment to investing in education,” said Jakub Mazur, Deputy Mayor of Wrocław Municipality. “From the first days of the conflict, we created an open municipality and thanks to UNICEF and our investment in education, we are able to support Ukrainian refugee children and help them grow and enjoy their childhood.

War-induced forced displacement in Ukraine, on a scale and at a speed not seen since World War II, has seen Poland take in the majority of refugees who have left their country in search of protection. Around 460,000 school-age children have registered for temporary protection in Poland, although the actual number of refugees is likely to be much higher. 182,000 Ukrainian refugee children were enrolled in the Polish education system in the previous school year, but the number for the 2022/2023 school year, which will be released in the coming weeks, is expected to be significantly higher.

In Poland, UNICEF is expanding learning opportunities for up to 500,000 children. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science, the 12 municipalities hosting the largest number of Ukrainian refugees, UNICEF:

  • Support teacher training on learning Polish as a second language, remedial and remedial learning and provide mental health and psychosocial support.
  • Assistance in the recruitment of Ukrainian teachers, intercultural assistants and translators who will facilitate the transition of students to a new school system.
  • Distribute computer equipment to schools to accelerate language learning and fill learning gaps, as well as provide learning kits, classroom furniture and sports equipment.
  • Set up an education helpline, run in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Polish Center for International Assistance (PCPM), to provide information and assistance to Ukrainian parents and young people, by answering questions about child care, primary, secondary and university education opportunities.

Additionally, during the summer months, UNICEF supported NGOs in Poland to organize summer camps to help refugees improve their Polish language and meet new Polish friends ahead of the new school year. About 100,000 children have benefited from these summer camp activities, with 150,000 targeted by the end of October.

The successful enrollment of a large number of children in the education system is not only a huge undertaking, it is also of vital importance for Polish children. If this has a negative impact on the quality of education as a whole, it could lead to frustration among Polish students and parents and undermine social cohesion.

“The Polish people and the central and local government showed immense solidarity and support for those who escaped a brutal war and crossed the border into their country,” Mustafa said. “But they will need sustained and significant support to continue to defend children’s rights. UNICEF stands ready to continue its strong partnerships with Polish governments and society, such as the very important work done here in Wrocław.

UNICEF also supports refugee children in Poland who choose to continue studying the Ukrainian curriculum online. UNICEF has partnered with local government and NGOs to set up education and development hubs across Poland, where students can take online lessons, receive help with homework, interact with their peers, take Polish lessons and receive mental health and psychosocial support.

UNICEF is also giving Ukrainian teenagers tips and tools to express their opinions through the digital youth engagement platform U-Report. The U-Report Europe chatbot answers questions about access to education, as well as health services and other opportunities available to them. Last week, a Back to School survey on U-Report Europe was launched to understand Ukrainians’ education plans for the 2022-2023 school year and assess key needs and barriers. The survey revealed that 45% planned to study in the national education system in Poland and that the main barrier to enrolling in local schools, highlighted by 25% of respondents, was not being able to speak Polish.

Media contacts Hugh Reilly UNICEF Poland Emergency Response Office Tel. : +48 783 896 843 Email: [email protected]

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