01 September 2023

Rebuilding educational institutions in Ukraine: the first schools to open in one year as soon as the concepts are developed

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Тhe first international workshop on the rehabilitation of war-damaged schools took place in Kyiv. The event was attended by Ukrainian and European architects, educators, ministers, and project donors and marked the beginning of the reconstruction of educational institutions.

A project to begin reconstructing schools damaged by the war took the first major steps, with a three-day international workshop organised by Ukrainian urban bureau Big City Lab. Five concepts of rebuilding of typical Soviet-era schools will be worked up, and the program will be expanded nationwide. The reconstructed schools are expected to open their doors in one year, in September 2024.

The projects are run by the Ministry of Education and Science, in concert with the executive partner Big City Lab and Rebuild the Wonderful architectural association. The projects are carried out under the initiative of Vice Prime Minister for Innovations, Development of Education, Science & Technologies – Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov.

Михайло Федоров
Photo: Daniyar Sarsenov

Together with the Ministry of Education and Science we have developed a strategy for education transformation. It involves lots of changes, starting with the approach to teaching, shifting perception around the teaching profession, and reconstruction of educational facilities. We want to transform the system and ensure that children want to go to school,

Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister for Innovations, Development of Education, Science & Technologies — Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

In order to understand what kind of facilities educators need for comfortable and productive learning, Ukrainian urban planners conducted a number of studies, within which they spoke with focus groups of schoolchildren, held participations with directors and in-depth interviews with experts in the field of education. Based on the results of these studies, architects will create pilot concepts for new type of educational institutions.

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Photo: Daniyar Sarsenov

The CEO of Big City Lab, Viktoria Titova, explains the selection process:

Through discussion with local authorities and analysis of the educational network they determined a list of schools for priority repairs. Finally, the selected schools will have principals that align with the project values, are open for cooperation and have the potential to become strong partners for scaled up projects all over Ukraine

The concepts of new Ukrainian schools will be developed in cooperation with Ukrainian and European architects. The team includes representatives of DO ARCHITECTS (Lithuania), KAVAKAVA (Estonia) and ARCHICON (Hungary), European bureaus with expertise in transformation of old Soviet-era schools. They are also part of the Rebuild the Wonderful for Ukraine initiative, run in coordination with the Ukrainian Big City Lab urban bureau. In addition, the project will use existing expertise and concepts from Mariupol Reborn.

Today, our country is fighting for us and our future. The future of our children. The reconstruction and rebuilding of our cities, infrastructure, housing and, especially, schools should be guided by the buildbackbetter principle. Our children and the next generations deserve a better world and a comfortable and friendly environment for a better education,

Natalia Yemchenko, SCM’s Director of Public Relations and Communications and member of the supervisory board of Mariupol Reborn
Наталя Ємченко
Photo: Artem Galkin

The architectural transformation of educational facilities will create safe functional spaces that will encourage children to learn and communicate. The concepts devised under the project will be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science and then scaled up to other schools of the same type all over Ukraine. 

Schools are not only about education. They are much more than that: they are about being a place of power for children. This is what we had been doing over the past few years in Mariupol before the full-scale war began. This is what we will be doing after our victory. I thank the government for the quality transformation of the education sector. Together we can create new opportunities for our children,

said Mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko
Фото: Даніяр Сарсенов
Photo: Artem Galkin


"Mariupol Reborn" is the largest city revival project in Europe since the Second World War. The project is carried out by the team of the mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, on behalf of the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavel Kyrilenko, with the support of the EBRD, the USAID Project "Economic Support of Ukraine", the main investment partner is the SCM group of companies Rinat Akhmetov.

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