Reclaiming the Right to Learn for Ukraine’s Children
Sept. 12, 2022
Every child has the fundamental right to an education. Yet, in times of war, this is one of the first rights to be disregarded. In May, the Ukrainian government sought to address this challenge - tasking War Child with finding a solution for the more than four million primary school children set to return to learning at the start of this month.
Enter: Can’t Wait to Learn. A best-in-class digital learning programme that allows children to continue their education no matter where they are. Since its inception, Can’t Wait to Learn has succeeded in educating more than 59,000 children in conflict-affected countries around the world. Now, we will launch the game-based innovation in Ukraine as part of a nationwide emergency response.
Can't Wait to Learn Ukrainian app is a co-creation with Ukrainian children and artists
Photo: Can't Wait to Learn App for Ukrainian children
Celebrating Culture - Even in Times of War
What’s unique about Can't Wait to Learn is that it is co-created together with children - ensuring that the ‘game world’ reflects their real world and celebrates their unique culture. It’s also based on government-approved curricula so that children playing the educational games can progress to the same level as those in formal schooling.
Can't Wait to Learn Ukrainian app is a co-creation with Ukrainian children...
Based on this proven model and together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and NGO Osvitoria, we were able to build a Ukrainian version of the math game in just three months. Central to this process were local artists and, of course, the children. Off the back of a co-creation workshop, they helped us create a learning world that looks, reads and feels like them - not only stimulating fast academic outcomes but also supporting them psychologically during times of sustained war.
Towards a Better Future
“Whether children are displaced within the borders of Ukraine, or are now refugees around the world, they can learn using words, sounds and stories drawn directly from home”, says Judith Flick, Can’t Wait to Learn Programme Director. “So far, in other contexts, the evidence shows that this is having a measurable positive impact on children’s social and emotional wellbeing.”
The sky is the limit
The mental health benefits aren’t just for the here and now, they also have the potential to last a lifetime. “The special alchemy of Can’t Wait to Learn is that it encompasses both the urgency and eagerness inherent in Education-in-Emergencies", says War Child CEO Ramin Shahzamani. “Children cannot afford to wait, nor do they want to wait for their education. Can’t Wait to Learn closes the gap between a child and their dreams for a better future.”
While this paints an optimistic picture, six months in, the war in Ukraine sees no sign of abating. This means we must find new ways to grow the programme and reach the two-thirds of Ukraine’s children displaced both within and beyond their borders.
In pursuit of this aim, the Ukrainian version of Can’t Wait to Learn will be made available via an online learning app. Teachers and caregivers will be able to download the game package and save it on their personal devices.
“This partnership has produced a dramatic advancement in one of the hallmarks of Can’t Wait to Learn: scalability”, says Judith. “We’ve used everything from tablet devices to WhatsApp to USB sticks to deliver the programme to date. An app means we can take this to the next level - making learning accessible to children at home, in school or on the move within communities.”
On 26 September, Can’t Wait to Learn will be made available for download from the App Store and Google Play and is supported by Android and iOS devices. This week - 12-16 Sept - we'll also be running a special “ring the bell” activation on social media.