Faulty, Patchwork Repairs: Students in Armenia’s Lori Province Attend Schools in Need of Total Renovation
Hetq reporters visited Lori Province to investigate the state of schools renovated during programs carried out in 2006-2015. implementation for 2006-2015 in mind. Our findings show that the situation in Lori is just as disturbing as elsewhere.
Vanadzor School # 6
Vanadzor Primary School No. 6 was renovated as part of urgent governmental projects in 2013 and 2014, with reserve funds of the state budget. According to the information provided by the Regional Administration of Lori, 23.655 million AMD was spent to rehab Vanadzor School No. 6. The note from the Governor’s Office did not specify what kind of work had been done, but mentioned that the work was carried out by Andriesyanshin LLC.
People at school did not remember what the company did, but remembered that it was another company that replaced the roofs of the gym, events auditorium and cafeteria.
Renovation of Vanadzor Primary School No. 6 was carried out only partially by state funds. The roof and some of the windows were replaced. However, the roof started dripping in 2-3 years.
On the day of our visit, children sitting in geography class were lucky enough not to have the falling plaster hit their heads. The replaced windows aren’t in perfect condition either, as the water flows inside the classrooms.
“The government focuses mainly on high schools, but they should pay attention to primary schools too”, Aida Hovhannisyan, deputy director of the school, said. In her opinion, partial renovations are not efficient.
She adds that school rehabs must be performed under strict supervision, without the usual involvement of friends or relatives. School No. 6 needs some additional equipment. Informatics instructor Ruzanna Pepanyan said that although they have seven computers, the operating systems are so old that it is impossible to work during the class
Vanadzor Primary School # 12
This school was allocated rehab money three times - in 2011, 2012 and 2014. According to the Regional Administration of Lori, part of the roof was repaired in 2011, the heating system was installed in 2012, and the rest of the roof was repaired in 2014. The total amount spent was approximately AMD 30 million.
However, no rehab work was carried out inside the building. The windows weren’t changed and have to be covered with plastic in winter. The restrooms are in desperate need of repair. According to the head of the school, Marine Hovakimyan, they lack laboratory and sports equipment. Moreover, she avoided opening the gym door, using the excuse that the key was with an absent teacher. The real reason, however, was the poor condition of the gym. School No. 12 was relocated to this building in 1993. Before that, this building used to be a kindergarten. The earthquake in 1988 turned the previous school building into ashes, and it took a few years to relocate it.
Arevashogh Secondary School
Arevashogh secondary school is a relatively new building, built in 1996. The first school building was renovated in 2014, while everything remained the same in the second building. M. Sisakyan LLC did the renovations and around AMD 33 million was spent.
The Arevashogh school does not have a gym. In winter, children exercise inside, in classrooms, and go outside in summer. Promises of building a gym have never been fulfilled.
There is a local heating system in the renovated school building, while the other building is being heated by gas stoves, which is unsafe especially for children in elementary grades.
Shahumyan Secondary School
The secondary school in Shahumyan village was also partially renovated. In 2007 and 2014, part of the school roof was changed. The construction budget was AMD 29 million. The windows are a legacy of the Soviet era. Only the school library windows were replaced, using the savings account of the school itself.
Partial reconstruction of the roof affected the gym’s condition. Rain falls inside through the broken tiles, causing the rotting of the wood floor.
The school also needs school and laboratory equipment. The government isn’t proactive in helping with this, either.
Another problem facing the school is the Tandzut River flowing nearby. Floods destroyed a part of the barriers, while those still standing, hanging in the air, are in danger of being toppled as well.
The government has allocated considerable funds to school building during recent years, but most of it hasn’t been spent efficiently. Nobody knows when the partly renovated schools will be renovated in full.