Today, a new school year starts in the DNR. According to the DNR Ministry of Education and Science (MON), 484 schools will enrol about 140,000 students.
Schools on the Firing Line
Schools along the Contact Line are in a special situation. About 27 schools (this could fluctuate with the situation) in the DNR won’t open for the new academic year. Yesterday, DNR Chairman of the Government A V Zakharchenko said, “I’m saddened and disappointed that we couldn’t open all the schools that are under fire on the Contact Line”. For example, the Day of Knowledge won’t take place in seven schools in Donetsk, in Kievsky, Kuibyshev, and Petrovsky Raions. Ivan Prikhodko, the Head of the Kuibyshev Raion administration said, “We couldn’t reopen three schools in our raion out of 21, but it wouldn’t make sense to do so; they’re all near Oktyabrsky, and everyone knows that place is under constant bombardment”.
However, DNR Education and Science Minister Larisa Polyakova reported that even closure of a building wouldn’t stop school operation, saying, “In this case, we transfer everything to another building. We’ll either divide the premises or use two shifts for classes. We do this to keep the school community and the teaching staff intact”. Besides this, 1 September is the start of classes at our colleges and universities. According to preliminary MON figures, there are about 60,000 post-secondary students. Polyakova emphasised that the test results of those taking entrance exams for higher education institutions surpassed expectations, in spite of all the hardships caused by the war, 10,063 people enrolled in higher education institutions out of 17 281 graduates.
Safety on the Demarcation Line
By the beginning of the school year, the aggressors reduced the intensity of their shelling across the Contact Line. The parties reached a verbal agreement to this effect at the 26 August meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk. OSCE representative Martin Sajdik said, “The Contact Group considers it necessary to ensure a sustainable ceasefire on the Contact Line during the first school week”. In this regard, DNR Advisor on Children’s Rights Ya V Chepikova expressed the hope that the Knowledge Day ceasefire in the Republic would persist, saying, “I hope that they’d observe their agreement for a truce on 1 September. For our part, we’ll carry it out precisely because we want the kids to be at school”. To ensure safety today, there will be an increased police presence, the DNR MVD told us, “All schools will have on-duty patrol lines, to avoid emergency situations”.
Help from Russia
Up to the beginning of the school year, the Russian Federation sent over 700 tonnes of educational material to the DNR, including educational literature, school supplies, school furniture, and more. The largest shipment, of 500 tonnes, came on 27 August in the 37th MChS Rossii humanitarian aid convoy. They delivered beds for kindergartens, as well as lockers and desks, special easels (with a worktop and a folding easel), and chairs for pre-school institutions. Chepikova told us, “All over Russia, leading up to 1 September, they had a campaign called Day of Knowledge in Novorossiya. It collected more than 200 tonnes of humanitarian aid for our children… stationery, classroom materials, and school uniforms. I want to thank every person who decided that’s necessary for our kids to have at least a pencil, a notebook, or paint”. From the beginning of the war, junta aggressor shelling damaged 480 DNR schools.
1 September 2015
DAN Donetsk News Agency