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The State of Education in Eastern Ukraine

Students and faculty in the East have been entirely abandoned by the Kiev government

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An often overlooked consequence of the civil war in Ukraine is the state of education in the East. Many separatist zones have been almost entirely abandoned by the Kiev officials who instead focus on implementing educational reform with a cash-strapped government and rewriting curriculum to promote an alternative history that serves their ideological needs.

Besides a lack of government sponsored aid, schools in Donetsk and Luhansk face the brunt of the crisis. Out of 1,735 schools, over 100 have faced destruction and are unable to operate at full capacity. With over 500,000 students who wish to return to school, this places increasing pressure on remaining facilities to adjust for the losses without humanitarian aid.

<figcaption>Graham Phillips goes to university in the East</figcaption>
Graham Phillips goes to university in the East

Many teachers have chosen to flee from Donetsk, cutting the city’s educational faculty by half and making it even more difficult to serve the remaining 70,000 students. Despite this, the area is free from Kiev’s attempts to rewrite curriculum and restrict the use of the Russian language. 

Parents in Donetsk have the ability to choose what language their children are taught in, whether in Ukrainian or Russian, according to the Headmistress of Donetsk. Ukrainian textbooks are still in use, a big contrast to the West’s refusal to have anything to do with Russian language and culture.

Higher education has also suffered from economic blockades imposed by Poroshenko that cut state funding to social services. Donetsk has suffered from the loss of 70% of students and faculty who have fled to Western territory, where a university was relocated 800 kilometers away, in hopes of better opportunities. Despite this, the prime minister’s promises of payments to faculty have yet to come through.

The original Donetsk University is still up and running but many students fear that their degrees will no longer be recognized by the Education Ministry. To solve this, the local government will recognize diplomas from Donetsk National University along with Russian cooperation. Donetsk Education Minister Igor Kostyenuk hopes that diplomas in the separatist region will be accepted across Eurasia (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) giving hope to many students for promising futures.

In the face of all these struggles, students have become increasingly devoted to the East’s future. A video by Graham Phillips shows a bright bunch of Ukrainian students who will be the backbone of a promising future for the East.

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