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Kindergartens Are Supposed to Help Parents: Yerevan Parents Protest City Hall Decision

“Kindergartens are supposed to help parents, yet they’re further complicating our lives,” said 29-year-old Anna, who dropped off her child at kindergarten at 8:25 am today and is deeply unsatisfied with the Yerevan mayor’s decision.

Recall, Yerevan City Hall issued a statement yesterday in which it said that, in the Armenian capital, “a pilot project is being implemented between Apr. 18 and May 18 (22 working days), according to which at 16 Kentron [“Center”], 5 Arabkir, 2 Shengavit and 1 Erebuni administrative district schools, as well as at 20 preschools in the Kentron administrative district, classes will begin at 8:30 am.” This is the city’s answer to morning rush hour.

An Epress.am correspondent paid a visit to two kindergartens in the Kentron district this morning in order to get parents’ opinions — and heard numerous complaints in the process.

Anna said she found out the news on Friday during a parents’ meeting, and she’s not happy. “Kindergarten becomes a huge headache. The work day ends at 6 pm, but parents are forced to pick up their children at 4:30 pm. Both my husband and I work, and we don’t have any help — every time it’s a problem. And now we have to wake up our kid at 7:30 am in order to make it.”

The mother of a 4-year-old boy who overheard the conversation intervened and angrily described how the kindergarten closed its doors at 8:30 am yesterday and she was left outside with her son — simply because she was 10 minutes late.

“If I had the means, I would go and remove the mayor from there,” she complained.

Narine, 28, who drops off two kids at the kindergarten, said because of the rain yesterday, there weren’t any taxis available. They waited a long time and finally arrived at the school 20 minutes late, but the doors were closed.

“I had no choice: I didn’t go to work and now they’re talking about me. And now I don’t know what to do. Before, we were able to make 9:15 am. Now I have to wake up my 2 kids at 7 am in order to get to everything,” she said.

Many of the parents called the mayor’s decision absurd.

“What does it mean to close the door in front of my face and not allow us in? Now that the kindergartens are free, they can do anything [they want]? It’s as if we’re children. We’re human; we can’t make it; in the morning, I have to see one child off to school, give my husband breakfast — when are we supposed to wake up to manage it all?” said one 34-yeard-old disgruntled mom.

Only one of the 14 parents Epress.am spoke to said that arriving at 8:30 am was regular for her, because her older son’s school always began at that time.

At the second kindergarten Epress.am went to, a number of parents were gathered outside the entrance and were actively discussing the issue. Here too everyone was angry and dissatisfied.

“They’re resolving the issue of traffic jams on account of the kids. Let them build two metro [stations] and bring about 100 buses. And also, let them not go into town with 10 security vehicles [referring to the black cars with tinted windows that accompany high-ranking officials for security purposes], and the entire issue will be resolved,” proclaimed one 35-year-old man.