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Sitting in Class in Winter Coats: Bardzrashen Residents Demand Heating for the School 

Residents of Bardzrashen community of Ararat Marz have raised a protest demanding renovation of the community school and heating of the classrooms. The building of Bardzrashen school is assessed to be seismically weak (category 3 prone to earthquakes), does not have basic conditions and heating. According to parents, the average temperature in classrooms is 11 degrees, children sit in class in winter coats and many simply do not attend classes.

Parents raised the issue of heating yet at the beginning of the educational year, financial resources were raised for that purpose, however no solution was reached.

The administration of the school defends itself saying that the amount raised was not sufficient for resolving the issue of heating.

“1mln 380 thousand AMD was allocated. However the electric pole was burnt, we had to pay 480 thousand AMD for that. We were given the finances and told to use them as we deem. They are not sufficient. The temperature in the warmest classroom is 15 degrees. We all have to work wearing coats during winter. I personally went to the Ministry of Health and presented the situation. No response. They say that the school has issues related to seismic strength and the priority is to solve that issue and then the issue of electricity,” says the Principal.

The Principal also complains that no funds can be raised for a building in such a condition, the solution has to come from the Government.

Gevorg Manukyan, assistant to Ararat Marzpet, was at the protest involving parents, children and teachers on a strike. He promised that the issue would be discussed at the Marzpetaran in order to find solutions. “We will turn to the Ministry of Emergency Situations and relevant structures for the seismic assessment to be ready as soon as possible. If they give a positive conclusion, we well prepare the package of the documents and will call for a bid. This is not something to be resolved in 1 week or 1 month. In the coming year, we will take steps towards renovating the small block of the school building and installing local heating.”

According to Manukyan, the Ministry of Education (and Culture, Sports and Science) plans to renovate the school only in a couple of years.