The European Union (EU) education ministers had a meeting on Wednesday, March 16 to discuss how the EU countries can help provide concrete assistance to Ukrainian pupils, teachers, and education staff.
The meeting which was held virtually was chaired by Jean-Michel Blanquer, the minister for national education of France.
According to the Associated Press, since February 24, more than three million Ukrainians have left Ukraine, half of them children. In view of the influx of refugees, a coordinated response by education ministers is being set in motion.
Sherhiy Shkarlet, the minister of education and science for Ukraine opened the meeting at the invitation of the president. The European education ministers expressed their solidarity and support with the Ukrainian people and more specifically with children and all education staff entrapped in the war engulfed country.
The ministers resolved that while the European education area is being strengthened, there is a need to establish real European coordination to promote the exchange of good practices and thus provide a joint responsibility for the schooling of Ukrainian children in all the countries of the union.
The ministers are keen to foster the link between these children and their country and wish to propose tailor-made solutions in cooperation with the European Commission and the Ukrainian ministry of education.
The member states and the commission have discussed closer cooperation among national authorities to better coordinate initiatives in order to connect all EU ministries as soon as possible.
According to the resolutions reached during the meeting, the key points will be to focus on the sharing and pooling of digital educational content to facilitate continuity of education in Ukraine and within the European Union.
Besides, to ensure pupils’ wellbeing at school and support teachers taking responsibility for them in a crisis situation, countries have also agreed on the need to have common arrangements in place for welcoming Ukrainian pupils. This work strand will also cover the best educational practices for approaching the situation in Ukraine in the classroom.
And to use the experience gained during the health crisis in terms of remote learning, the member states will be able to work on making the best use of existing platforms.
The next meeting of EU education ministers will be on April 5 at the council of education ministers in Luxembourg to discuss how they can continue to collectively support Ukraine.