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2024-02-06 at 13h44

Portugal assures its "full commitment" to rebuilding a school in Ukraine

João Gomes Cravinho and João Costa on a two-day visit to Kiev (Photo: António Cotrim/Lusa)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs João Gomes Cravinho and the Minister of Education João Costa visited on Monday 5 February the debris of High School 25, destroyed in March 2022 during a Russian air strike. 

The Minister of Education stressed Portugal’s "full commitment" to recover this school in Jitomir, a region located about 150 km west of the Ukrainian capital, which mirrors the "horror" of the destruction caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This will become "the embryo of an educational project".

Prior to visiting the debris of High School 25, the two members of Government attended the III Jitomir Reconstruction Forum, with dozens of speakers throughout the day. It was co-hosted by Portugal, Ukraine, and Estonia.

"It is a horror that clearly shows [what happens] when there are strikes on soft targets, especially schools," João Costa remarked to the journalists, faced with the teaching institution torn apart by Russian bombs.

The Minister of Education recalled that this initiative, the memorandum of understanding for which was signed on Monday during the Jitomir Forum stemmed from the Ukrainian authorities, who entrusted Portugal with rebuilding High School 25, so it may "become the embryo of the educational project’s reform".

The aim, stressed the Minister, is that this not just about rebuilding walls, rather a contribution to building "a modern European educational project", far from the "closed off vision of a school of Soviet heritage".

João Costa promised "full commitment" regarding "this project that will reshape the entire school space", not just refurbishing the building that was struck, rather other infrastructures, such as cultural venues, with a view to obtaining "a new school both in terms of bricks and mortar and educational project".

On Tuesday, João Gomes Cravinho and João Costa will meet with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.