Wednesday, 19 September

Principal Avetisyan: "Many wouldn't leave the Koutakan if the school was in decent shape"



The school building in Gegharkuniq’a Koutakan village dates back to 1948 and hasn’t seen smidgeon of renovation ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Only six of the classrooms are suitable for use.

“It’s a crying shame,” says Principal Rafayel Avetisyan when describing the sate the school is in.

Holes dot the ceiling and dirt is always falling down into the classrooms. The floor is damp and decrepit. The window frames have also rotted away. You can’t get up to the roof because it’s so weak any intrepid repair worker would fall through.

Principal Avetisyan says he’s knocked on all possible government doors to get the school renovated but hasn’t gotten any specific proposals for his trouble. He assumes that given the tightness of the budget, officials haven’t gotten around to Koutakan as yet.

Avetisyan went to the Social Investment Fund for help in 1997. A plan to renovate the school was drafted but it was put on the back burner. In 1998, the tenth year of the Spitak earthquake, monies were prioritized for the earthquake zone.

The principal has also written to the president.

“I can’t blame anyone for the state of the school. In a way, I blame myself for not trying as hard as I might have. Wherever I’ve gone seeking assistance, no one has actually refused. They all say we’ll help, we’ll help, but that’s the extent of it,” says Avetisyan.

Koutakan is a village populated by some 150 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan. The school has forty pupils. All the classes have been combined due to lack of space. Enrollment is decreasing annually.

In 1992, when Avetisyan was appointed principal, the school had 119 pupils.

The major exodus from the village occurred in the late 1990s when all the stored wheat and other provisions ran out. Avetisyan points to the terrible state of the school as another factor contributing to the emigration.

“We’d like to have a wonderful school but that’s a pipedream. The environment really helps to shape an aura and impacts the pupils’ sense of aesthetics and comprehension. Many families wouldn’t leave the village if the school was in good shape,” the principal says.

Since the school receives financing according to enrollment numbers, its budget is tight and doesn’t even cover teacher salaries. Thus, teachers are paid from a 14 million AMD reserve fund.

“If it wasn’t for the reserve fund, we could only pay two months of wages based on the budget alone,” says Avetisyan.The school building in Gegharkuniq’a Koutakan village dates back to 1948 and hasn’t seen smidgeon of renovation ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Only six of the classrooms are suitable for use.

“It’s a crying shame,” says Principal Rafayel Avetisyan when describing the sate the school is in.

Holes dot the ceiling and dirt is always falling down into the classrooms. The floor is damp and decrepit. The window frames have also rotted away. You can’t get up to the roof because it’s so weak any intrepid repair worker would fall through.

Principal Avetisyan says he’s knocked on all possible government doors to get the school renovated but hasn’t gotten any specific proposals for his trouble. He assumes that given the tightness of the budget, officials haven’t gotten around to Koutakan as yet.

Avetisyan went to the Social Investment Fund for help in 1997. A plan to renovate the school was drafted but it was put on the back burner. In 1998, the tenth year of the Spitak earthquake, monies were prioritized for the earthquake zone.

The principal has also written to the president.

“I can’t blame anyone for the state of the school. In a way, I blame myself for not trying as hard as I might have. Wherever I’ve gone seeking assistance, no one has actually refused. They all say we’ll help, we’ll help, but that’s the extent of it,” says Avetisyan.

Koutakan is a village populated by some 150 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan. The school has forty pupils. All the classes have been combined due to lack of space. Enrollment is decreasing annually.

In 1992, when Avetisyan was appointed principal, the school had 119 pupils.

The major exodus from the village occurred in the late 1990s when all the stored wheat and other provisions ran out. Avetisyan points to the terrible state of the school as another factor contributing to the emigration.

“We’d like to have a wonderful school but that’s a pipedream. The environment really helps to shape an aura and impacts the pupils’ sense of aesthetics and comprehension. Many families wouldn’t leave the village if the school was in good shape,” the principal says.

Since the school receives financing according to enrollment numbers, its budget is tight and doesn’t even cover teacher salaries. Thus, teachers are paid from a 14 million AMD reserve fund.

“If it wasn’t for the reserve fund, we could only pay two months of wages based on the budget alone,” says Avetisyan.


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