Ukraine: EU helps ensure increased safety for school in conflict zone

© UNDP Ukraine

Ukraine: EU helps ensure increased safety for school in conflict zone

Dangerously close to a conflict zone, one school in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, is, with the help of the EU, working hard to improve the safety of its students.

Why would a school need turnstiles and electronic badges?

Information about pupils entering the school is immediately sent to the school portal, which allows both teachers and parents to know when a student is on the premises. This information could be vital for safety reasons, since Bakhmut's School No. 9, in the Donetsk Oblast, lies about 20 kilometres from the frontlines.

Our school is located by the highway in an area that has been shelled, so we’ve been worried a lot about the safety of our children,” says Natalia Drozdova, the school principal.

In addition to the access infrastructure, the school purchased 25 laptops for the teachers to assign homework, register grades, and even exchange messages with their students' parents.

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Each student has a personal profile on the school portal.

Mrs Drozdova says that while most children welcomed the innovations, teachers initially worried it would require extra work. Some parents also disliked the fact they wouldn’t be able to freely enter the school.

But eventually, both groups realized the benefits of the changes.

Yevheniya Budnik, a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature, says communication with parents has actually improved thanks to the online platform.

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The parents monitor their children’s performance and check the home tasks more thoroughly now,” she says.

The school's 625 students include 26 internally displaced children. The school was damaged by shelling in 2014, but it has been able to continue functioning despite the armed conflict.

Mrs Drozdova says the recent innovations have already attracted more pupils to the school.

We used to have 600 children here at the beginning of the school year, but now we have applications from 650 children for the next year,” Drozdova said proudly.

School No. 9 in Bakhmut is part of a wider project launched in February 2018 and funded by the European Union's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The project is implemented by the UNDP's Recovery and Peacebuilding programme.

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Photo credits: UNDP Ukraine