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How the war in Ukraine is affecting higher education

By Asomi College of Sciences

An overview of the Ukrainian-Russian war effects on the higher education sector

The Ukrainian-Russian conflict

On the 24th of February 2022, the Russian Federation decided to invade the Republic of Ukraine with the initial excuse of retraining territories inhabited by filo-Russian populations. That attack has led to a war between the two countries. However, that war does not only affect Ukraine and Russia but the entire world, including the higher education sector.

A brief summary

As most states condemned Russia’s choice to begin the war, they decided to adopt a series of techniques by putting sanctions on the Russian state and its goods and services. Moreover, Russia has been boycotted ever since the beginning of the war in more disciplines.

On the other side, Ukraine is being bombed. Its children are being separated from or left without their families. Many Ukrainian refugees are being received in the major European countries.

The impact of the war on education

All that, of course, has its impact also on the educational sphere. The educational institutions have to raise awareness about the war and the overall situation by inspiring people to support Ukraine and its people. Just think about international students, especially the affected students and their families.

The issues raised by the war do not only concern Ukrainian and Russian learners who are studying abroad but also international students in Ukraine and Russia. Moreover, academic ties and collaborations have been shut down with Russian universities. At the same time, governments have adopted less stringent bureaucratic measures for war refugees to ease the acceptance and accommodation of Ukrainian people feeling from the war.

The refugee crisis

The UK, Canada, and Ireland governments have eased the visa access to the Ukrainians, meaning that they can easily access the countries mentioned above and change visa classes. At the same time, the European Union has launched its Temporary Protection Directive. That Directive guarantees access to refugees on a wide scale and guarantees them the European rights for the access to accommodation, education for children and the labour market. That Directive has been put in place to fasten and ease the flow of war refugees entering the European countries. It helps to ease the acceptance of people escaping from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict that does not require analysing every single application to enter the EU countries.

Ukrainians and Russians studying abroad

Ukrainian and Russian students studying abroad have been affected by the war. First of all, the war has brought an economic crisis that has affected the banks. Therefore, students may find it difficult to pay their university fees or living expenses since it is difficult to access their financial funds. Many communities are raising funds to be put at the disposal of these students. Besides, many institutions have adopted measures to relieve the expenses for any affected learners.

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Foreign students studying in Russia

American and European universities have cancelled their exchange programs with Russian universities. They have also requested their students to leave Russia as soon as possible. However, as most of the international students studying in Russia come from China, India and ex-USSR countries, a relatively small portion of exchange students from the US or Europe are affected by this issue. Besides, the current travel restrictions from and to Russia influence the block the flow of international students in Russia.

Cutting academic ties

In addition, a lot of academic ties have been shut down too. For instance, the Russian Union of Rectors made an announcement signed by about 180 rectors from top universities in Russia stating that they agree with their president’s decision and that they support the military invasion of Ukraine. Consequently, the Universities UK International suspended their MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Russian universities. Meanwhile, the European Union broke its relations with Russia in academic exchange, research, and science.

Foreign students studying in Ukraine

Moreover, before the conflict, there were a lot of international students studying in Ukraine. Unfortunately, not everyone has managed to get home safe and sound, and there are two reported cases of international students who died during the early days of the conflict. There are still some desperate calls for help by these students who are now trapped in Ukraine and cannot get out even by using evacuation routes.

ACS supporting the affected students

ACS – ASOMI College of Sciences is close to all the students, other academic and institutional parties, and their families affected by this conflict. We hope that peace will reign soon again.

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