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Help for people supporting Ukrainians launched by OU

A wheat field against a blue sky that mirrors the Ukrainian flag

The Open University (OU) has launched a new free online course for people housing, caring for or working with Ukrainians in the UK. The course focuses on Ukrainian culture and language and has been developed specifically for UK residents hosting refugees, and service providers working with people who have arrived from Ukraine.

Providing an insight into Ukrainian language, food, housing, and healthcare as well as other cultural elements, the course is hosted on the OU’s popular platform, OpenLearn. Learners on the course will also have a chance to chat in the forums provided, to find out more about supporting Ukraine’s struggle and other Ukraine-related topics.

Alongside the new course, the OU has also translated into Ukrainian its package of free online resources for Ukrainian refugees in the UK including courses from English language to articles on writing a CV.

Dmytro Zavgorodniy, Director General for the Directorate for Digital Transformation, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, said:

“We applaud the efforts taken by The Open University in attempting to equip externally displaced Ukrainian people with skills and knowledge that would make their stay in the UK easier. Delivery of targeted courses for the UK hosts should likewise allow them to be better aware about Ukrainian culture and language.

“We support these resources being made available by the OU free of charge, and encourage the UK residents to make the most out of them.”

Dr Mirjam Hauck, Director of the OU's Open Centre for Languages and Cultures, said:

“So many people in the UK have reached out and opened their homes to people fleeing from the war in Ukraine. We hope this free course will be invaluable in helping them support their guests and understand Ukrainian culture, heritage and language.

“As well as supporting people in learning some basic Ukrainian, through the course you will also be able to find out about what Ukraine was like before the invasion, its geography, healthcare and education systems, history, and ethnic and religious diversity.”

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, commented:

“As the appalling situation in Ukraine and the plight of those whose lives have been upended due to the conflict sadly continues, the OU is further enhancing our package of support.

“Across The Open University, we will continue to seek ways to mobilise our efforts as a university to support people from Ukraine as they find refuge in our four nations.”

Dr Patrina Law, Head of OpenLearn, added:

“We were able to prioritise the translation of a range of courses into Ukrainian. The whole process of working with a new language with its own alphabet has been a learning curve for us technically, as well as liaising with Ukrainian translators to complete the work.

“We hope the translated OpenLearn resources are as popular as the curated set in English and are actively working with the OU’s Development Office to seek funding to translate more.”

Previously, the OU announced a package of support for Ukraine including:

  • Fee waivers for existing students from Ukraine in the 2021/22 academic year 
  • An opportunity to apply for one of 12 scholarships amounting to £240,000, complete with study starter pack and access to careers and employability services.
  • Potential job roles posted on the dedicated sites for refugees jobs4ukr.com and Talent Beyond Boundaries
  • A commitment to continued working with local and national partners, including MK Council, Department for Education, Home Office, Universities UK and Cormack Consultancy Group on how best to support refugees arriving in the UK, as well as supporting the Ukrainian HE sector, their academics and students.

20 November 2022

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