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Fake The Kharkiv authorities are allegedly popularizing schoolchildren’s education in shelters for the sake of their own PR

Pro-Kremlin resources are disseminating information that the Kharkiv authorities intend to begin construction of an underground school solely in their own interests - “for the sake of a beautiful picture and PR”. They say that initiatives of this kind are being made only in order to once again steal the budget, while schoolchildren in regular schools seem to be in no danger. However, this is a fake.

In the StopFake project, the fact-checkers drew attention to this information. They noted that propaganda resources “forgot” to say that Ukrainian schoolchildren are forced to study not in the classrooms of their schools, but in underground shelters due to constant Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, including educational institutions. According to the Ministry of Education of Ukraine and UNICEF, as of November 2023, more than 4,100 Ukrainian schools were destroyed or damaged by Russians throughout the country. Of these, in the Kharkiv region, 51 educational institutions were completely destroyed, and 579 schools, kindergartens, educational institutions were partially damaged. Experts from the UN Children's Fund note that due to Russian aggression, Ukrainian children are left without access to basic rights - education and healthcare, which puts their lives and well-being at risk.

When schools and kindergartens are closed due to Russian attacks, children lose the opportunity to communicate with their peers, which is important for their development. In this regard, in Kharkiv, as in a number of other Ukrainian settlements, blended learning is practiced - online and offline in safe places. In Kharkiv it is the metro. At five Kharkiv metro stations, 19 classrooms are equipped that meet wartime safety standards, as well as educational standards. The classrooms are equipped with sound insulation and climate control, the rooms are isolated from the platforms on which the trains move. In the metro, 105 classes and 2,087 children study in several shifts. These are mainly primary and secondary schoolchildren.

Given the demand among parents of Kharkiv schoolchildren for offline education of their children in safe places, city authorities in October 2023 announced their intention to begin construction of the first underground school. The cost of construction is 58 million hryvnia. The school will be able to accommodate 450 schoolchildren, that is, 900 children in two shifts. Preparatory work has already begun.

Propagandists claim that their “high-precision weapons” only hit strategically important military targets, and that Russians shelling schools, kindergartens, cultural institutions, etc. – these are all inventions of Ukrainians. That is, the Russian army in no case supposedly attacks the civilian population of Ukraine, and therefore there is no need to worry while Ukrainian children are alive. Ultimately, this case of disinformation aims to nourish the Russian propaganda narrative about a mediocre Ukrainian government that steals everything and engages in self-promotion, instead of raising the standard of living of ordinary Ukrainians.

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