RUSSO-UKRAINIAN WAR: A PERNICIOUS IMPACT ON EDUCATION

Family and friends of Indian students hold placards near Russian embassy as they demand the evacuation of stranded students. (Reuters Photo)

THE CONFLICT

The Russian Federation and Ukraine are at war; the War began in 2014, following the Russia’s invasion of Crimea from Ukraine. On 24th February 2022, the Russian president Vladimir Putin, addressing his nation, declared the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Mr. Putin has long bemoaned the loss of Ukraine and other former Soviet countries as the Soviet Union disintegrated on 26 December 1991. His true aim now may be to weaken NATO, the military alliance that has helped to keep the Soviets in check. Russia presented a list of far-reaching demands to restructure the organisation before invading, which NATO and the US refused. With the invasion of Ukraine, agreements such as the 2014 Minsk Protocols and the Russia-NATO Act of 1997 stand all but are null and voided.

Mr. Putin must bury the hatchet?
It is said in the current scenario of waging war that we cannot negotiate peace diplomatically from a position of weakness, Strength respects strength. Although Putin’s takeover of Crimea was his most audacious step to date, the global economy is now tremendously linked. According to Andrew Bostock, the consequences of a prolonged battle are simply too great, particularly in terms of loss of life and misery in Ukraine, another crucial aspect that the world is still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, which hurt the poorest countries and migratory students, who returned to abroad in order to continue their education after the distress of the pandemic, would be hurt the most. It is Russia’s responsibility to execute a ceasefire and, as a result, both sides must return to the negotiating table. Escalation is not an option.


EDUCATION IN THE WAR TIME

UNICEF Recently observed that Attacks on kindergartens and schools have been a sad reality for children in eastern Ukraine over the past eight years and called on all parties to respect the Safe Schools Declaration and protect children and their families from attacks. In the beginning of the conflict, more than 750 schools have been damaged. During a battle, all infrastructures incur damage as a result of bombs, fires, and combat. Learning institutions are not any exception. Schools and universities, likewise as museums, hospitals, and other government structures, are damaged and plundered. As according to the UN, schools are utilized as barracks, weapon storage facilities, command centres , detention centres , interrogation facilities, and assault positions with guns and observation weapons. When it involves assisting youngsters in reintegrating into their social surroundings, education plays a critical role. On a psychological and physical level, these children are subjected to a slew of abuse and wrongdoing that’s neither sanctioned nor punished by any international law, leaving their lives at the mercy of mercenaries whose political ideals run counter to legion lives and whose main goal is to eliminate any means of communicating knowledge to form a submissive and simply manipulated society. Since the onset of the conflict, the UN agency has been on the ground across eastern Ukraine, delivering psychosocial support and mine risk education to over 180,000 children, youth, and caregivers. UNICEF is also supporting repairs to damaged schools and kindergartens and distributing vital classroom supplies such as educational kits, furniture sets and sports equipment.


THE COURSE OF HISTORY

Philosopher George Santayana quoted, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It gives alarm to the present situation and stresses the nations to put the matter on the negotiation table so that the status quo can be restored. We have been witnessing many historical tragedies which led to destruction of education system; it is evitable now to prevent it from further losses. Let us look upon some significant events in the course of history that impacted on education.

DURING THE WORLD WAR I

During the first few months of the war (1914-1919), more than half of Europe’s university students enlisted. As a result, university student life was changed, with young women taking the place of male students in classrooms, and volunteer, patriotic war work replacing recreational sports and partying. The war placed budget limits and staff shortages on European colleges, just as it did on schools. In contrast to schools, the material of conventional curriculum in established courses has remained relatively constant. Furthermore, in line with their respective countries’ military affiliations, colleges and academics severed numerous international relationships and formed new ones. While academic practises and political affiliations differed. During World War One, military duty robbed universities of their students and professors, and impoverished academics and researchers in Germany began to lose their preeminence in comparison to those in the Allied powers.

DURING THE WORLD WAR II

The war adversely impacted on schooling, higher education, and children and youth between 1939 and 1945. Students could not evade conscription by studying longer since the beginning of the war. On the contrary, the only way to escape from the military was to stop school and work in an armament factory or (until 1941) to work as a self-employed farmer. One could argue that at least some of the individuals born between 1930 and 1939 experienced not only the effect of attending elementary schools during the war but also the effect of being born during the Great Depression. the loss of earnings for individuals who received less education just because of the constraints imposed by World War II. These estimates can be used to infer the long-run educational cost of impediments to educational attainment similar to the ones imposed by a war. An example of a possible relevant situation is shown by Pupils whose fathers are unemployed, in jail, or missing for other reasons, or students living in earthquake-prone locations, have unique challenges.


INDIAN ASPECT OF THE IMPACT

The highly contested states of Jammu and Kashmir have been the site of four wars between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947. While tensions have lingered over the last 60 years, wars between the two countries over this region have been frequent but relatively short, taking place in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Thousands of people have been displaced and live in Jammu and Kashmir or in camps in bordering states (Sudan 2010). Due to the lockdown of educational institutions leads to depression & disarray in educational agents. J&K and naxal affected areas are often remaining affected and the tension between the armed groups impediment to the educational development.


IMPACT OF THE WAR ON INDIAN STUDENTS

Prior to the outbreak of the conflict, about 20,000 Indian students were in Ukraine. What was the point of their presence in the first place? Because Ukraine provides high-quality education at a low cost, under INR 2 million for a 6-year programme, compared to INR 5 million or more for equivalent courses in India. They relocate in search of greater chances, which the local environment does not supply. Simply said, it’s for a better life, to be the person we want to be rather than the person we are. If you grasp this, you’ll understand why Indian students study medical, engineering, and other fields in Ukraine. The scarcity of medical seats in India’s government institutions, as well as the higher level of fees in private medical colleges, may be the primary causes for Indian migration. Many Indian students stranded in Ukraine share the same experience of worry and panic, as the deteriorating situation restricts their access to basic necessities such as food, water, and money.
Amid the Russia-Ukraine war crisis, the government of India has launched ‘multi-pronged’ ‘Operation Ganga’ to evacuate our citizens stranded in Ukraine. Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla has said the government will bear the complete cost of the evacuation process from Ukraine. Following the operation Naveen S., a fourth-year MBBS student at Kharkiv, was killed in the city after shelling while standing in line outside a grocery store. Another casualilty of Indian in Ukraine was of Chandan Jindal (22),who had a stroke, died on Wednesday, March 2nd in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, at a hospital. Hundreds of Indian students and professionals in Kharkiv are angry and frustrated after the Indian Embassy in Kyiv issued an advisory demanding them to leave on ‘short notice’. “If the situation was this bad, why did the government not ask us to leave before. Students like me repeatedly asked the government to take some action as the situation was worsening rapidly. But despite these requests nothing happened. And, now students have been asked to leave at such a short notice,” said Bhanvi Bhatia, however the Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched three C-17 transport aircraft to Romania, Hungary and Poland on March 2nd, Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Vice-Chief of the Air Force, said. A fourth C-17 was sent later in the day. The C-17 was sent as it can fly non-stop to these countries. Following India’s diplomatic stand as neutral and non-aligned to both sides, Indian migrant students were facing the ruthless behavior of frustrated officials of Ukraine such as taking bribes of $2000 from students to cross the Ukraine-Poland border, some were turning them back saying, “when your government has not cooperated with us why should we cooperate with you.” that is how civilians of India were targeted. 


CONCLUSION

When the war is wagged between countries, the institutions and educational agents (students, teachers and students’ parents) often suffer from death or displacement. A strong nation military, nuclear weapons and war crafts should be there for one reason only, to maintain the peace and tranquility rather chaos and mayhem in the world. A generation of youngsters living in violence will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies if they do not have access to education. The protracted nature of conflicts today is affecting the futures of entire generations of children.

 


Hasan is a first year student of B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at AMU, Aligarh. the views expressed are personal (sahasan@universitytimes.in).

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This is Syed Affan Hasan a freshman of B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. enthusiastic and self motivated to learn the intricacies of the whole jurisprudence. An avid reader and peculiarly interesting in blog writing.

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