The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continues to highlight how the war is having a dramatic impact on the lives and futures of Ukraine’s children.
“The start of the academic year in Ukraine was one of hope and promise for children following COVID-19 disruptions,” said Murat Sahin, the agency’s Representative to Ukraine.
“Instead, hundreds of children have been killed, and the school year ends amid the closure of classrooms due to war and the decimation of educational facilities.”
Education under fire
Since Russia’s invasion, hundreds of schools across the country are reported to have been hit due to use of heavy artillery, airstrikes, and other explosive weapons. Others are being used as information centres, shelters, supply hubs, or for military purposes.
At least one in six UNICEF-supported schools in the east of the country have been damaged or destroyed, including the only “Safe School” in Mariupol.
The “Safe Schools” programme was established with the education ministry, primarily in response to attacks on kindergartens and schools in the Donbas region, where armed conflict has simmered since Russian-backed separatists took charge in some areas in 2014.
A safe space for children
UNICEF said being in classrooms was critical for children affected by crisis, as it provides a safe space and a semblance of normality, and also ensures that they do not miss out on learning.
“Ensuring access to education can be the difference between a sense of hope or despair for millions of children,” Mr. Sahin added. “This is crucial for their future and that of all Ukraine.”
Amid the conflict, UNICEF and partners are working to provide as many children as possible with safe and appropriate learning opportunities.
An online education programme for grades 5-11, developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to reach more than 80,000 students displaced in Ukraine.
In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, children have been forced to seek shelter and safety in metro stations. UNICEF-supported volunteers have set up spaces in these locations where teachers, psychologists and sports instructors play and engage children on a regular basis.
Other initiatives include an ongoing digital campaign to educate children about explosive ordnance risk, which has reached eight million users online, while a new online kindergarten platform regularly receives hundreds of thousands of views.
Millions of youngsters have also fled Ukraine for other countries. UNICEF is supporting governments and municipalities to include these children in their national school systems, along with alternative education pathways such as digital learning.
Twitter Will Integrate Crypto Payments if His Takeover Bid Is Successful: Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested integrating crypto payments into Twitter. “My goal would be to maximize the usefulness of the service,” he told Twitter’s employees in his first all-hands meeting with them.
Tesla and Spacex CEO Elon Musk, who may become the new owner of Twitter Inc., had his first all-hands meeting with Twitter’s employees Thursday.
Musk answered many questions about how he plans to run the social media company if his bid to buy Twitter is successful. However, the $44 billion deal is currently on hold, and Musk has accused Twitter of a material breach of the merger agreement.
During the meeting, Musk mentioned crypto a few times, according to a leaked transcript of the meeting and a leaked video posted by Project Veritas.
Leslie Berland, Twitter’s chief marketing officer, asked Musk: “Can you talk a little bit about Twitter and payments?”
The Tesla boss began by stating that “money is essentially a form of information,” adding that it is “fundamentally digital.” He added:
I think it would make sense to integrate payments into Twitter so that it’s easy to send money back and forth, and fiat currency as well as crypto — essentially, whatever somebody would find useful.
“So my goal would be to maximize the usefulness of the service — the more useful it is, the better. And if one can use it to make convenient payments, that’s an increase in usefulness,” he clarified.
Crypto Scams and Spam Accounts
Berland also asked Musk about some problems he sees with Twitter. The Tesla CEO replied:
There’s definitely an ongoing challenge with Twitter with bot accounts and spam accounts. There’s quite a lot of crypto scams on Twitter.
It’s gotten better, but there’s still a fair bit of that,” he continued. “There are also people where they’re not necessarily bots, but they might be operating. You know, one person’s operating hundreds of accounts and trying to make them look like individuals, but they’re not.”
Musk previously said that the spam bot is the single most annoying problem on Twitter and he vowed to defeat it “or die trying,” if his bid to buy the social media platform succeeds.
Transparency, Trust, and Free Speech
Musk further explained to Twitter’s employees: “I think it’s extremely important that there be transparency. So that’s why I’m an advocate of having the algorithm be open source so that people can critique it, improve it, identify bugs, potentially, or bias.”
Noting that “transparency obviously increases trust,” the Spacex boss emphasized:
I think that trust is extremely important, and then just the usefulness of the system — getting rid of sort of troll farms and bots and spam is incredibly important.
Regarding free speech, Musk said: “I think it’s essential to have free speech and to be able to communicate freely … It’s free speech within the context of the law. So I’m not talking about suggesting that we just flout the law, because we’ll just get shut down in that case.”
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