In a bold move to protect its students from frequent bomb and missile attacks, Ukraine’s eastern metropolis of Kharkiv is set to build the country’s first fully underground school.
Mayor Ihor Terekhov announced the initiative, stating, “Such a shelter will enable thousands of Kharkiv children to continue their safe face-to-face education even during missile threats.”
According to Aljazeera, as Russia’s aggression continues, many schools in frontline regions have been forced to conduct online classes. However, Kharkiv has taken a unique approach by creating approximately 60 separate classrooms within its metro stations, accommodating over 1,000 children for in-person learning.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is particularly vulnerable, with parts of the city located less than 35km from the Russian border. It has faced near-daily rocket and missile attacks, often leaving residents with limited time to reach shelters.
Before the start of the school year, the city authorities came up with a creative solution – utilizing the city’s deep metro system. During the peak of bombings last year, 160,000 people sought refuge in the Kharkiv underground, including 7,000 children. Olha Demenko, Kharkiv’s head of education, explained, “We did activities like playing and singing with them during that time – and, when this new school year was ahead of us, we wondered: what if we could do it again, but in a more organized way?”
Terekhov emphasized that the new school would meet modern regulatory requirements for protective structures, ensuring the safety of Kharkiv’s children during missile threats. However, details regarding the school’s size and opening date remain unclear.
Despite the ongoing conflict, Mayor Terekhov affirmed that funding for schools would not be reduced, stating, “Kharkiv is the most intelligent city in Ukraine” thanks to its educational community.
The war, which shows no signs of ending, has resulted in thousands of casualties and displaced millions of civilians. Ukraine’s Ministry of Education reports that 363 educational institutions have been destroyed, with nearly 3,800 damaged across the country.
In a courageous move to protect its students, Kharkiv pioneers a fully underground school to shield children from Russia’s missile attacks. Mayor Terekhov states, “Such a shelter will enable thousands of Kharkiv children to continue their safe face-to-face education even during missile threats.”