The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD) is highlighting the situation of universities and students in Ukraine on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. It also points out the need for long-term support for Ukrainian higher education institutions as well as assistance to refugee Ukrainian students and researchers in Germany. There is a need to quickly rebuild the higher education sector once the war has ended. Ukraine must also be more closely involved in the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area.
‘The war is still continuing a year after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, and the people there are affected by death, extensive suffering and deprivation. Universities have even been attacked and destroyed. Many students and researchers are attempting to pursue their studies or their research under shelling’, said DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee shortly before the anniversary on 24 February. ‘The DAAD, its member institutions and student bodies have stood firmly by the people in Ukraine since the war began. German universities and their student bodies have in this past year demonstrated considerable commitment to welcoming and supporting refugee students and researchers, and through joint projects with Ukrainian partner universities.’ Continuation of the war has made the long-term prospects for Ukrainian higher education institutions and refugee academics all the more important: ‘Here in Germany, we need a broad and multi-year support initiative, which must include assistance for Ukrainian refugees, activities to maintain German-Ukrainian higher education partnerships and long-term funding for the rebuilding of universities after the end of the war, Mukherjee continued.
Programmes for refugees and Ukrainian HEIs
Financial support from the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Development has enabled the DAAD to mobilise around 21 million euros in the past year for projects relating to Ukraine. These were focused on maintaining higher education within Ukraine and assistance and scholarships for refugee Ukrainian students, academics and researchers in Germany. The DAAD also funded around 170 projects involving German and Ukrainian universities, especially with regard to the digitisation of teaching and administration of HEIs. In addition, DAAD programmes for the support and qualification of refugee Ukrainian students have been expanded or newly launched. Around 10,000 Ukrainian students, academics and university staff have been supported by the DAAD and the Erasmus programme to this date.
Moreover, since March 2022, the DAAD has also used its ‘National Academic Contact Point Ukraine’ to act as a centralised information and advisory hub for refugee Ukrainian students and researchers in Germany.
A voice from Ukraine
‘It’s inconceivable to imagine the rebuilding of Ukraine after the war without a renewed and reformed Ukrainian education system. This ultimately influences the democratic values that prevail in society, people's ability to think critically, assume leadership responsibility, produce significant ideas and create new knowledge. The revitalisation of Ukraine after victory in the war will be partly dependent on the role played by Ukrainian universities in further social development within our country. Ukraine requires special attention with regard to the formation of modern, autonomous and internationally competitive universities. The DAAD’s activities have made a significant contribution to development of the Ukrainian higher education sector. Ongoing German-Ukrainian cooperation will undoubtedly result in more rapid adaptation of Ukrainian higher education institutions to the European academic environment’, said Professor Serhiy Kvit, President of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
Long-term thinking required
The DAAD believes that the diverse support projects implemented by German universities should receive reliable and long-term funding from the Federal Government. ‘We in Germany need to have an action plan until 2030 that ensures the rapid and successful rapprochement of Ukraine with the EU and a comprehensive reconstruction of the Ukrainian higher education system. After all, a close and lasting link between Ukrainian higher education institutions and research institutions with European and German partners also increases our security within Europe’, stated the DAAD President.
- You can find the press release in Ukrainian here.
- You can read a guest article by DAAD President Joybrato Mukherjee on further support for Ukraine here (in German).
- Service for editorial offices: If you are interested, we will be happy to put you in touch with Ukrainian students who are studying at German universities with DAAD support or are taking preparatory courses.