Why do Ukrainian children need an Education Center in Poland?
Children who came from Ukraine to Poland in the first weeks of the war were reliant on remote (on-line) learning. We know that this is not the best form of education for young people. Especially as for the last 2 years before this full-scale war in Ukraine they were also learning on-line due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not spared Ukraine. Therefore, the idea of establishing the center resulted from the needs that we had observed and that had been previously reported to the PCPM Foundation. The main objective of the project is to support Polish schools by giving them relief and to include Ukrainian children in the formal stationery education system. Thanks to this, it is possible to prevent social exclusion, support the socialization of children (as the child learns attitudes, learns about standards of conduct, values and shapes his or her personality), and also give children access to a support network (psychologist, teachers, peers).
The PCPM Education Center in Warsaw was launched in October 2022 after several months of difficult preparations and seeking funds, as education there is free for Ukrainian children. 220 children study there. The center also gives employment to Ukrainian teachers. The concept of the Education Center was created by a non-governmental organization – the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation (PCPM), which also manages this project. The PCPM Foundation also cares about the quality of all internal processes, including the quality of education.
All teachers working at the PCPM Education Center are employed by the PCPM Foundation as part of the proprietary “Cash for work” program – interventional employment of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Under this program, the PCPM Foundation employs over 1,500 employees throughout Poland. Mainly as a teacher’s assistant, but also in other professions.
When hiring teachers, we carried out a recruitment process that included over 140 meetings with candidates, of which we selected 17 teachers. Recruitment was carried out among people who came to Poland after February 24, 2022 and live in Warsaw. Education the PCPM Education Center takes place stationary in Warsaw, therefore there is no need to conduct on-line lessons.
The PCPM Education Center is not a private school. This is an educational project created and run by the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation and financed by private donors (including mBank, Pfizer Foundation and CAF America). Children from Ukraine receive education in the Ukrainian educational system at the PCPM Education Center free of charge. That allows them to pass exams and be promoted to the next classes, and in the future will give them a chance to return to schools in Ukraine, if they wish so. The PCPM Education Center eliminates difficulties related to, for example, the language barrier that children from Ukraine have to overcome in Polish schools. The PCPM Foundation planned to operate the center until the end of June 2023, but if the need arises and the organization manages to obtain additional funds, this project can be extended for another year. The PCPM Foundation is also seriously considering launching further educational institutions, that could operate according to the same proven model.