The COVID-19 virus infection took the entire world like a storm. Within a few months after its initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, it spread rapidly across the globe and quickly became a global pandemic.
Ukraine, like many other countries, was not prepared to handle such a huge medical challenge, especially considering its unexpectedness, novelty and scale of daily new infections.
To help checkmate the situation, the Ukrainian government introduced the quarantine regime from March 16 2020, as well as the closure of borders.
Businesses, markets, public gatherings and educational institutions were all shut down to reduce the spread of the virus.
Ukraine operates a fixed educational calendar, which meant that the quarantine could have very negative consequences in the overall educational operations if nothing was done.
To address this, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education & Sciences mandated schools and higher institutions to immediately switch to online teaching.
Good enough, many universities had infrastructures in place for distance education, but that was not the case for many primary education centres, which had to rise to the challenge.
Thanks to that decision, most students were able to continue their academic activities with minimal disruption, already from home. The academic calendar continued as supposed to.
The Ministry of Education & Sciences of Ukraine also introduced additional real-time approach for airing lessons via specific television channels and YouTube for pupils in some of the schools without the technical skills for online lessons.
From the 11th of May 2020, the government started a gradual relaxation of the quarantine. Measures were put in place to minimize spread such as social distancing, mandatory mask in public places, use of sanitizers, and restrictions to gatherings of not more than 10 people.
Notwithstanding the gradual relaxation, schools still continued to operate from home via online classes and eventually concluded the 2019 / 2020 academic year online.
This prompt action from the Ukrainian Cabinet Ministry helped prevent disruptions in the academic calendar, and most importantly, minimized the spread of the infection among students and pupils.
All of these wouldn’t have been possible if not for the good and affordable internet connectivity available in Ukraine, as most of the classes were real-time videos and required huge data consumption.
Of particular concern to many universities were international students that study in Ukraine. They were made to stay in the university hostels, attend lectures online like other students, and only go out for groceries and essential requirements.
The COVID-19 global challenge demonstrated how many countries around the globe could rise to unexpected challenges and confront it squarely.
Ukraine performed excellently, especially in the academic sector, as the pandemic had minimal damage to the overall academic activities at all levels, thanks to the prompt intervention of the government in general, and the education ministry in particular.