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Armenian Teachers Boycott Work to Protest Poor School Facilities

Teachers of the Vardges Petrosyan basic school in the Armenian town of Ashtarak boycotted work on Thursday to protest against the state authorities indifference towards the “wretched state” of the school building. Speaking to an Epress.am reporter, one of the boycotting teachers, Armen Grigoryan, said that the school, which houses approximately 600 students, does not have enough classrooms, and the teachers are forced to hold classes in overcrowded rooms.

“The school hasn’t had a PE hall in 25 years; there are no computer labs, no library, no performance hall: all these rooms have been turned into classrooms due to the increase in student numbers. It’s the 21st century, but our PE lessons are conducted in the yard, while IT lessons are held [in an ordinary classroom] with a book and a blackboard. The school building does not have enough toilets either,” Grigoryan complained.

According to the teacher, the school staff have appealed to all possible state institutions for help, but officials have yet to do anything to improve the situation. The education ministry, Grigoryan added, has told the staff that currently the ministry does not have funding envisaged for basic schools.

“We have even turned to the regional administration, but none of their promises ever get fulfilled. We’ve been raising this issue since 2015, but no actual steps have been taken by the authorities to resolve it,” the teacher said. He added that today’s boycott “was only a warning,” and the staff intend to fight consistenly to attract the state authorities’ attention to the miserable state of their school.