- The PM said he believes education is one of the areas Ukraine can tap into to strengthen its relations with African countries.
- Shmyhal who spoke during a meeting with journalists from 10 African countries said the Ukrainian government is ready to have them return to complete their studies.
At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, thousands of African students were among the millions of people who were forced to flee from Ukraine.
About 21 months down the line, many are yet to return to Ukraine, a country that continues to experience downscaled attacks from Russia, thanks to its improved defence infrastructure.
According to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, some of those who left the country included students from African countries and many are yet to return.
He notes that despite this being the case, there are those who continued their studies in other countries and there are those who are yet to resume.
Shmyhal who spoke during a meeting with journalists from 10 African countries said the Ukrainian government is ready to have them return to complete their studies.
The PM said he believes education is one of the areas Ukraine can tap into to strengthen its relations with African countries and that they now have a plan to have the students who left return.
“Thousands of African students were studying in Ukraine at the beginning of the war we made it possible to safely evacuate all these people from Ukraine. The same was done for those who were in Mariupol, Kharkov and Kherson but today we stand ready to resume these educational programs.
“I was underlining that Educational programs are one of the areas we can start and be successful in our cooperation,” Shmyhal said.
He noted that Ukraine has now developed a targeted educational program that will include some form of financial support for African students in Ukrainian universities.
He added that for those who had already cleared their fees, the Ukrainian government is also ready to provide a safe return for them and have them resume studies in more secure areas of the country.
“We have developed a specialised, targeted Ukrainian educational development program including diplomacy that envisages co-financing for African students studying across Ukrainian universities,” PM Shmyhal added.
“Ukraine stands ready to disburse all its commitments if there are students who did not complete their studies because of war and have paid for their education we stand ready to provide for all facilities for them to resume their studies in western parts of Ukraine which are more safe. In particular medical universities that provide good quality education in the medical sector."
He said all students who paused their studies are welcome back to resume.
The Ukrainian Prime Minister noted that the officially registered number of refugees outside Ukraine according to the United Nations is five million and out of these, one million are children.
He stated that at least seven million Ukrainians were internally displaced but had moved from the occupied territories to safer places.
Another three million Ukrainians remain in occupied areas or have been deported to Russia, he said, and that between seven to eight million people left Ukraine in the first days of the war to find shelter in safer European countries.
“As of today, the percentage of those who will get back is much less than 90 per cent. We stand nevertheless ready to bring all back,” Shmyhal said.