TUESWU Statement on Unacceptability of Pressure on Teachers in the Temporarily Occupied Territories
Russian occupants have been striking and shelling Ukrainian cities for more than six months, killing civilians and children, destroying residential buildings, civil infrastructure. The aggressor massively destroys educational and research facilities. More than 2400 educational institutions have been damaged by bombing and shelling, 269 of them have been completely destroyed while 1300 schools remain under occupation.
The Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine has received numerous reports from its organizations located in the temporarily occupied territories and territories where active hostilities are taking place, about pressure and blackmail by the russian occupation regime of workers of educational institutions and members of their families.
Thus, according to reports from regional trade union organizations, a significant number of teachers are still in the temporarily occupied territories and are unable to leave due to the absence of green corridors or some personal reasons. Educators who managed to escape from the temporarily occupied territories are now in safer regions of Ukraine or abroad.
Teachers under occupation are in an extremely difficult situation. Ukrainian education system is being destroyed in these territories. The “occupation authorities” force teachers to work according to russian standards. Teachers are blackmailed, threatened with torture and arrest, and threatened with deportation to an aggressor country for refusing to cooperate with the occupiers. Parents who do not allow their children to go to school are threatened to take them to boarding institutions.
Communication in educational institutions in the Ukrainian language is prohibited. The Ukrainian language and literature, history of Ukraine are excluded from the list of school subjects. Teachers are forced to teach all subjects in Russian.
Ukrainian teachers in the occupation are forced to conduct lessons and educational activities in which the russian invasion is justified, the symbols and attributes of the aggressor country are studied, the history of Ukraine is distorted and falsified, etc. There have already been cases of the persecution and kidnapping of teachers for their pro-Ukrainian stance, their unwillingness to cooperate with the occupation authorities, and their refusal to start teaching according to russian curricula.
As noted in the reports, there have been cases of theft of multimedia and computer equipment and laptops from educational institutions. Ukrainian-language textbooks and books of Ukrainian writers and poets were completely withdrawn from the libraries of educational institutions.
In the temporarily occupied territories there are attempts to ban the activities of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine. All workers of educational institutions are forced to join the “newly formed” educational trade unions otherwise threatening them with dismissal, which is a direct violation of their rights and freedoms and contradicts the basic principles of trade union activity. There have been cases of confiscation of property and computer equipment from regional trade union organizations.
The Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, condemning the actions of the aggressor country, terror and killings of Ukrainian people, destruction of the Ukrainian national identity and educational system, calls on the international community to unite and stand together on the educational front against the illegal russian invasion of Ukraine – for peace and security in the world, for the protection of democratic and human values!
Bureau of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine Presidium