Following the start of a full-scale military offensive on Ukraine by Russian forces, which included bombing cities outside the separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy imposed martial law in the country and suspended all higher education programs.
The escalating confrontation between Ukraine and Russia has not only heightened regional tensions but has also drawn the attention of the entire world. The impact is seen most acutely in sectors such as higher education, which are disrupted by political and economic pressures.
- Ukraine-Russia situation affects higher education industry
- Infrastructure damages, displacement of students and faculty, and temporary suspension of classes and higher education activities
- MSM Unify partner institutions took a stand on the Ukraine-Russia crisis
However, while Ukraine was at war, institutional leaders remained focused on the task at hand, maintaining communication with their students and employees and ensuring that they received correct and up-to-date information.
Since its formation as a Soviet republic, the government has worked hard to develop Ukraine’s higher education industry.
Higher education accounts for at least 6% of the national Gross Domestic Product, according to research (GDP). While this may not appear to be much, it has surpassed popular international student destinations like the United States, China, and Canada.
The acts of colleges demonstrate the many roles that large and small institutions play during times of global strife. Higher education institutions influence international relations while also being influenced by them.
MSM Unify’s partner institutions have taken a stand on the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis, in the name of the international higher education industry.
A quick look at the Ukraine-Russia crisis
The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict has had a significant impact on the higher education industry. Eighteen public institutions, two private colleges, and 11 other schools have recently reported decreased enrollment and even class disruptions.
Some of the most visible consequences of the current crisis are infrastructure damages, displacement of students and faculty, temporary suspension of classes and higher education activities, and psychological effects on individuals.
After Russia launched a military incursion in Ukraine on Feb. 24, students and staff at Ukrainian universities have been advised to stay at home until further notice.
Until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukraine was home to nearly 80,000 international students – the majority of them were from developing countries.
India alone accounted for about a quarter of the total number of international students in Ukraine, with about 20,000 Indians studying there in 2019, who were concentrated in the country’s major industrial and educational centers.
Many of Ukraine’s top universities house a large number of the country’s overseas students, and many of these schools are in eastern Ukraine, where the most intense conflict is currently taking place.
Anglo American University
Anglo American University (AAU) president Jiří Schwarz has released a statement on the Ukraine-Russia crisis, emphasizing that AAU is a global and inclusive community that promotes not only academic excellence but also diversity, multiculturalism, and global awareness.
The institution guarantees to provide a safe learning environment for students of various nationalities and backgrounds, as well as an academic venue for open conversations in classrooms and events.
At the same time, future AAU students who wish to begin their degree or study abroad study at AAU should be aware that the current events in Ukraine and the international community’s reactions to them have no bearing on visa procedures for studies in the Czech Republic.
A message from President Christine M. Riordan on current events has outlined Adelphi University’s support services for its students.
The Office of International Student Services at Adelphi University has reached out to its Russian and Ukrainian students to offer personal assistance. Students can contact the Student Counseling Center at any time for ongoing help.
If an employee needs counseling, they can also contact the university’s Employee Assistance Program.
Through the statement of the Vice-Chancellor, Bangor University expressed its absolute condemnation of the Russian government’s decision to expand its encroachment and occupy Ukraine.
Bangor University’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people was evident in their calls for a quick and peaceful solution and an end to the invasion and the human catastrophe it has created.
Canterbury Christ Church University
Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor at Canterbury Christ Church University, has expressed his support for the people of Ukraine and detailed what the University is doing to help its students, employees, and community.
The university is a part of Student Action for Refugees, which provides scholarships, bursaries, and fee exemptions to those who have applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. Any unaccompanied Ukrainian asylum-seeker children placed in foster care in Kent and Medway will be assisted by the university’s outreach support program for children in care.
As part of its CELTA English Language Teacher program, Ukrainian refugees over the age of 18 will be allowed to take free English sessions at the university.
Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dundalk Institute of Technology is committed to peace and opposes all forms of violence and aggression, that’s why they continue to support students, faculty, and other stakeholders who have been affected by the crisis.
Its Pastoral Care Coordinator Alan Conlon and the DkIT Czech Society have put up a separate Red Cross donation web page specifically for the DkIT community.
The student services staff has already called and visited with students from Ukraine and Russia who are enrolled at DkIT to reassure them of the university’s concern for their well-being and inform them of the resources available.
Robert Gorden University
The initial goal of Robert Gorden University (RGU) has been to reach out to its Ukrainian students and employees to provide them with practical counsel, wellness services, and support. Its Russian and Belarusian employees and students have also been contacted.
The university has established an Emergency Financial Support Fund to which any student who has been impacted by the crisis is eligible to apply.
All of its support services, including qualified counselors and wellbeing specialists, are available to all students, regardless of their location or style of study.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Students at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) helped raise money for the Ukrainian Red Cross. In addition, medical and humanitarian aid is being provided by groups on the ground and around the world to people in Ukraine—as well as refugees seeking safety abroad.
RIT is keeping an eye on the situation and its potential impact on its study-abroad programs and Eastern European campuses.
The institution is also a part of a group of more than 500 college and university presidents that have petitioned US government leaders to grant Ukrainian nationals living or studying in the US Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Special Student Relief (SSR).
TPS grants work permits and protection from deportation to people from certain countries who are unable to return home safely. SSR gives international students from Ukraine more freedom and relief, protecting them from losing their F-1 visa status.
University of Windsor
The University of Windsor provides assistance to members of the campus community who have been affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
In addition to mental health services, students who are in need as a result of the circumstance will be eligible for bursaries and other resources, such as work-integrated learning opportunities and internships, available scholarships, and summer housing options.
Apart from scholarships, the university will assist applicants from the affected regions with the waiver of some fees and faster application processing.
Western University teams have deployed to support people most affected by the crisis since Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine. Western International has been collaborating with campus partners to meet current students’ immediate needs, as well as with institutional partners throughout the country to develop a national response as a global citizen and a higher education institution.
Western International is assisting individuals in need in Ukraine by serving as a donation drop-off location and providing a safe space for affected students to study and meet.
During this stressful time, Western’s student support and case management team is working closely with academic counselors from all faculties to help smooth student requests for academic accommodations.
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