War-damaged universities, staff seek help to survive

At a time when student life in Ukraine has been completely interrupted, expressions of practical solidarity from Europe are all the more important.

Across Ukraine, schools and universities have been bombed or converted into shelters. Many classrooms are now unusable, having been destroyed by airstrikes.

Some are now used for military purposes. In besieged Mariupol, the university grounds have become a makeshift graveyard.

Academics, including some from Balkans countries engaged in the East European Association of Schools of Social Work, are trying to help their colleagues and students from Ukraine.

Vjollca Krasniqi, a professor at the Philosophy Faculty at the University of Pristina, said they are exploring ways to help Ukrainian scholars and students, and more widely, the people of Ukraine.

Naser Sahiti, Rector at the University of Prishtina, Kosovo’s primary university, told BIRN that in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, they have invited Ukrainian students to become part of the two-weeks long Summer University which will be held on July 12-22.

Krasniqi and her colleagues in Kosovo are also trying to help Ukrainian researchers document and investigate abuses and human rights violation during the war.

The experience of Balkan countries in wartime in the 1990s and after the war is particularly interesting to academics of Ukraine – and especially their experience in reconstruction and renewal of education, and how it changed after the war.

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