A collaborative effort of Lithuania and Ukraine lights up a creative spark to redefine the future of Ukrainian education. New joint project aims to bring best architects together to shape the future of Ukrainian schools. Through an open international architectural competition, the most outstanding concept for a School of the Future in Ukraine will be evaluated and selected by professional international jury. Architects from Ukraine, Lithuania, and other countries will be invited to participate. The winner of the competition will earn a contract to develop standard technical design for an innovative future school. This design will be a valuable resource for both Ukrainian institutions and international partners engaged in Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction efforts.
This is stipulated in the Memorandum on the preparation of a standard technical design for the School of the Future in Ukraine, signed on the 22nd of August by representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine.
“Our commitment to rebuilding and innovating the Ukrainian education system reflects our nation's resilience. This collaboration is more than an architectural competition; it's a manifestation of our shared values and dedication to education, recovery, and hope for a brighter future," says Mustafa Nayeem, Head of the State Agency for Restoration.
Lithuanian Government has allocated €500,000 for this project. It will be led by Lithuania’s Central Project Management Agency (CPMA) and implemented together with Ukraine’s Agency for Restoration alongside the Architects Association of Lithuania. CPMA has been working on the ground in Ukraine since 2014 and has recently completed successful reconstruction projects worth more than €11 million euros, restoring the school and kindergarten in the Kyiv region.
“The whole procedure is designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among European and Ukrainian educational visionaries, architects, and other creative minds. It will not only save resources but also give Ukrainian children the best and most innovative School of the Future. We have a unique opportunity to replace destroyed schools with even better ones, putting the famous motto 'build back better' into actual practice," says Arturas Žarnovskis, CPVA Co-Create Future of Ukraine Programme Manager.
“It's not only the quality design of a new school in Ukraine that matters, but also the process of obtaining it," says Rūta Leitanaitė, Board member of AAL and coordinator of the project. "Architectural competition is the most transparent, open, and fair way to get the best design possible, choosing it out of many ideas evaluated by quality architecture criteria."
The joint Lithuanian-Ukrainian initiative will start with an immersive workshop in October 2023. During the workshop, Lithuanian and Ukrainian educators, architects, engineers, and representatives of the public sector will discuss the concept of a Future school for Ukraine, and develop recommendations and a program for the upcoming architectural competition. The launch of the competition is anticipated for late autumn 2023.
As a result of Russian military aggression, 441 schools have been destroyed. The war has disrupted the learning process for children in Ukraine, putting them at risk not only of physical and emotional trauma but also of losing access to education. Schools throughout Ukraine remain shuttered, and learning has shifted to a remote format. But once the intense hostilities are over, rebuilding schools and turning to offline studies will be pivotal in restoring the education system.