Mahmud Darwish once wrote about war:
“The war will end. The leaders will shake hands. The old woman will keep waiting for her martyred son. That girl will wait for her beloved husband. And those children will wait for their hero father. I don’t know who sold our homeland But I saw who paid the price.”
Over the years, many countries have been destroyed by war and dictatorship. Many of these countries were developed before war had ruined them; full of culture and advancements, like Syria, Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and many more.
The greed and selfishness of dictators and corrupt politicians have caused nothing but loss to these countries. Many innocent lives have been lost; many countries are suffering from poverty as a result of poor governance by oppressive regimes. National infrastructures have collapsed because of wars, while these countries’ environments have also been greatly affected.
The Costs of War Project, Watson institute of international and public affairs, Brown University, 2021
Ukraine has now joined the train of the countries that have been destroyed by war due to the greed of dictators. Vladimir Putin didn’t only invade a neighbouring sovereign state, but his regime also exercises full censorship regarding the Russian presentation of and discussion on the war. Independent Russian media outlets and journalists who speak out against Putin’s regime and tell stories about Russians suffering under his leadership, are harassed, intimidated, and unlawfully detained. The same treatment is meted out to protestors who oppose Putin and the crimes committed by his regime in Ukraine, such as forcing young Russians to join the armed forces without informing them that they are going to participate in the invasion of Ukraine. All these are textbook examples of the workings of a totalitarian state.
How has Ukrainian education been affected by the war?
The impact of the war is clearly visible in the education sector: there is limited access to education due to a shortage of educational materials and poverty. Many educational facilities, such as schools and kindergartens, have been destroyed or damaged due to the war, which endanger the future of children in Ukraine. 
UNICEF recently published a report regarding the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the report, the invasion has left more than 350,000 school children with no access to education, as school infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed. At the same time, the teaching methods Ukrainian teachers were trained to use have often become insufficient in these new circumstances, which also limit children’s access to quality education. This means, that the war has taken away the chances for Ukrainian children to have safe shelter, water, or proper education. 
Some issues Ukrainian child refugees face in host countries
Many Ukrainians have sought refuge in different countries since the start of the war. There has been a lot of concern for child refugees and how they can be incorporated into school systems in other countries, especially because of language barriers. Despite these challenges, schools in Poland, for example, have approached these issues with a positive attitude and welcomed Ukrainian child refugees trying to help their integration as much as possible. Polish teachers have been providing support for the new Ukrainian students to overcome the language barrier and adapt to the Polish education system.
However, not all countries have taken the challenge of this child refugee influx so well. Ukrainian children in the UK are facing significant challenges, as registering and integrating new students with often little or no knowledge of the English language exceeds the capacities of most British schools. Added to this, insufficient funding for the education sector puts UK schools under a lot of pressure, and results in refugee students being turned away 
The war’s effects on international students in Ukraine
International students who studied at Ukrainian universities, many of whom came from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East, also became victims of the war. Many of them were not able to complete their studies and were forced to escape to other countries in the hope that they would be able to come back to Ukraine soon and complete their studies. Many of these foreign students have actually struggled to find refuge or to flee since they were not Ukrainian citizens and so their cases were handled differently by potential European host countries. Moreover, at least two foreign students were killed in the early days of the war. 
The effect of war on Post-Soviet States and on Russia:
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citizens of post-Soviet states have been living in fear that Putin’s control will overtake their countries. An example from Azerbaijan is particularly worrying, where the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, signed an alliance agreement wit Russia. The 43-point agreement includes an educational and economic alliance which inevitably increases the Putin regime’s influence in Azerbaijan. For example, Russian language is becoming mandatory in educational institutions, more so than it previously was in post-Soviet States.
Lately, Russia’s Ministry of Education has started to spread propaganda via online education in an effort to influence children with ideologies that glorify Putin’s leadership and justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by explaining “why the liberation mission in Ukraine was necessary”. There is a high risk that these lessons will contribute to the creation of a generation that supports both the war and Putin’s dictatorship in Russia, which poses a threat to the potential of a future democratic Russian society.
Hopefully, the day will come when wars end, and displaced people can return to the homelands where they left their loved ones. Leaders will shake hands to establish peace in the world, but at what cost will this happen when so much damage has been done already? Well, the homeland was sold for sure, and it was its very own people who paid the price.
By Zinat Asadova
- “The war will end” Poem by Mahmud Darwish
- Save the Children. (2022). Ukraine: Attacks on schools endangering children’s lives and futures. Retrieved from https://www.savethechildren.net/news/ukraine-attacks-schools-endangering-children-s-lives-and-futures
- UNICEF Europe & Central Asia Region (ECAR). (2022). Ukraine Situation Report – 24 February 2022 (p. 2). Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/media/116031/file/Ukraine-Humanitarian-SitRep-24-February-2022.pdf
- Deutsche Welle (DW). (2022). Poland fights to give Ukrainian kids access to education [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/poland-fights-to-give-ukrainian-kids-access-to-education/av-61185207#:~:text=About%202%20million%20Ukrainians%20have,Poland’s%20education%20system%20is%20enormous.
- Abrams, F. (2022). Ukraine refugees may struggle to find places in English schools, councils say. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/mar/05/ukraine-refugees-may-struggle-to-find-places-in-english-schools-councils-say
- Fallon, K. (2022). Foreign students fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine hope to return. Aljazeera.com. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/5/they-told-us-to-go-home-student-recounts-ukraine-war
- International education’s continuing response to the war in Ukraine. ICEF Monitor – Market intelligence for international student recruitment. (2022). Retrieved from https://monitor.icef.com/2022/03/international-educations-continuing-response-to-the-war-in-ukraine/
- Azərbaycan Respublikası Xarici İşlər Nazirliyi. (2022). No:056/22, Azərbaycan Respublikası Xarici İşlər Nazirliyinin Mətbuat xidməti idarəsinin məlumatı (AZ/RU). Retrieved from https://www.mfa.gov.az/az/news/no05622
- President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. (2022). Declaration on allied interaction between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. Retrieved from https://president.az/en/articles/view/55498
- Aliyeva, J. (2022). Azerbaijani president notes importance of Russian language. Report News Agency. Retrieved from https://report.az/en/foreign-politics/azerbaijani-president-notes-importance-of-russian-language/
- Russia’s Ministry of Education Official Page on Vkontakte. (2022). An Open lesson “Defenders of Peace” (Открытый урок «Защитники мира») [Video]. https://vk.com/video-30558759_456242419?list=8411aa6de207bc39a2