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28 July 2020 - News

Ukraine is among 37 countries where a systematic pattern of attacks on students, teachers, schools, and universities occurred from 2015-2019

[Kyiv, July 9, 2020] On the 9th of July, the Education under Attack 2020 report, a global study of targeted and indiscriminate attacks on schools and universities, their students and staff, from 2017 to 2019, was released by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).  The report was presented at a launch event organized by GCPEA and the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in Geneva. The Permanent Missions of the State of Qatar, Nigeria, Spain, and the Argentine Republic co-sponsored the event. The release of the report coincided with the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.  According to the findings of the report, globally education was attacked over 11,000 times in the past 5 years. 

“Pursuing an education is a fundamental right, yet in an increasing number of countries, the lives of students and educators are at risk simply for teaching and learning,” said Diya Nijhowne, Executive Director of GCPEA. “Schools and universities should be safe havens, not sites of destruction or fear.”

Ukraine is among the 37 countries profiled in the report. Attacks on schools and the use of schools for military purposes in Ukraine affected the education of hundreds of students between 2017 and 2019.  Since the beginning of the hostilities in 2014, over 750 education facilities have been damaged and many more experienced disruptions to education. The Ukraine Education Cluster estimates that over 700,000 children and teachers in more than 3,500 education facilities in eastern Ukraine are affected by the hostilities and in need of humanitarian assistance. Between 2017 and March 2020, the Ukraine Education Cluster collected reports of at least 97 attacks on schools. Mortars, small arms fire, and other explosives damaged schools in dozens of incidents that took place along the contact line between 2017 and 2019. Some schools were struck multiple times.


The international organization Save the Children is one of the humanitarian actors working in eastern Ukraine providing humanitarian aid to children affected by the conflict.

“Despite the endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration in November 2019, attacks on education in the east of Ukraine continue. Our organization stays committed to advocating for the Government of Ukraine to implement the Safe Schools Declaration. The Declaration is a tool to prevent attacks or threats of attacks against education institutions and their students and personnel as well as guide military forces in refraining from using schools in violation of applicable international law. We call on the Government of Ukraine to protect school children and teachers from the risks of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine and give them access to safe education and future development,” says Dariusz Zietek, Country Director of Save the Children in Ukraine.


The report is the fifth in the Education under Attack series. It analyzes global trends and profiles attacks in 37 countries.


The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a coalition of United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations including Save the Children working in the fields of education in emergencies, protection, and higher education.

Support for Education under Attack 2020 has been generously provided by the Education Above All Foundation, Education Cannot Wait, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an anonymous donor.


Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. Around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and be protected from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. In Ukraine, Save the Children has been operating since 2007. In 2014 following the outbreak of the conflict, Save the Children immediately started responding to the needs of children and their families in the east of Ukraine. As of today, 285, 000 children from eastern Ukraine have benefited from the assistance which makes education safer and more accessible, protects children`s emotional state and meets basic needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized children and their communities. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube