Kilkenny man launches free educational tool to help Ukrainian children in Irish schools

It allows children to work in Ukrainian before translating it over to Irish or English, while teachers can do the same to allow them to communicate.
Kilkenny man launches free educational tool to help Ukrainian children in Irish schools

James Cox

A Kilkenny businessman has set up a free online educational tool to help Ukrainian children without English to settle into Irish schools.

Tech investor Brendan Morrissey launched Ukraine School this week, the virtual school is designed to support children as they adapt to schooling in a different country.

It allows children to work in Ukrainian before translating it over to Irish or English, while teachers can do the same to allow them to communicate.

Mr Morrissey owns an educational company called eSchools, which has been in operation in the UK for 13 years across 1,100 schools.

With his experience in the field, he had already worked with language learning apps and decided to re-formulate some of his previous work to form Ukraine School after the war broke out.

Mr Morrissey told BreakingNews.ie: "I was in Dubai when the war broke out in Ukraine and I own a development company in Ukraine, I flew to Romania to see how we could help, and I wanted a solution that could help every day.

"It was a 4am in the morning job where I figured that if I re-skinned one of my platforms that educates kids at schools, I could turn it into a language platform where kids can come in and do their lessons in Ukrainian and switch it over to English or Irish for schools here in Ireland."

Teachers can then translate their response to aid with learning. The tech solution can be used for homework, calendars, learning activities and class projects.

Mr Morrissey said: "We have an app for parents, so they can connect to the school, look at the homework diary and see what’s going on in the kids’ schools. It’s a tech solution to help them get through the day in school and so that no child is left behind because of this."

He said the interest has already been "crazy" with students from Ukraine already connected along with schools from Ireland and the UK.

He expects interest in Ukraine School to increase after the end of the Easter break. "Everybody wants to help, and they’re all excited about it."

"That’s been part of eSchools for 13 years, we’ve schools around the world in the likes of Korea, Saudi Arabia and Africa, so it was just about re-skinning it for Ukrainian," he explained.

While some Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland have some English, Mr Morrissey said Ukraine School will be particularly useful for younger children who have no English to communicate with teachers and classmates.

"Most of the parents have some grasp of English, but a lot of the kids don’t have any, so it’s to help them. We’re seeing them using the platform every day now, so it’s amazing."

Brendan Morrissey has made Ukraine School available to children and schools for free.

Mr Morrissey said there are 50 languages available on the platform, so he is hoping to roll it out to other countries where Ukrainian refugees are settling in once it is set up in Ireland.

The feedback from schools and children so far has all been positive.

He is hoping to connect with a company willing to come on board to help children access the website and app at home as well as in school.

"I want to start chatting to one of the bigger companies like a Google, Microsoft or Samsung about hardware. If they could donate some hardware for us that we could give to the kids with the software pre-loaded, that would be amazing, because it’s fine in schools, but sometimes they go home and have nothing to work on.

"There’s no way we could charge for it, there’s no way I would. The motto of eSchools is 'no child is left behind', and that’s what we’re trying to do here."

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