‘It’s not a school, it’s a barn’
Cracked walls, rotten floors, broken windows - this is secondary school No. 2 in the village of Gazyan in the Ujar Region of Azerbaijan. Parents say that the school, where more than 200 students study in morning and evening shifts, hasn’t been properly maintained or renovated in the past 50 years.
"The building was put into operation in 1958,” local resident Nemat Mehdiyev told Meydan TV. “Now it’s completely dilapidated. Believe me, there may be no other school in this condition left in Azerbaijan, this may be the last one…. We’re tired of appealing to the relevant agencies. It’s no use, nobody has ever even come to have a look at it."
Both of Mehdiyev's two children study at school No. 2. "We’re worried that the school will collapse. That’s the kind of condition it’s in. Our children study in a school that’s unsafe."
Elshan Aliyev, another local parent, says that the school is not heated in winter. "We’re tired of spending money on firewood and kerosene,” Aliyev told Meydan TV. “We have to skimp on food to afford these things for the sake of our children, but they still get ill. In winter, all of our money goes to medicines. And you can't have them skip classes. Everybody wants their children to do well in school and to have a good future."
Gahraman Rahimov also has two children at school No. 2 in Gazyan, although he says he can’t send them there in the winter because of the state of the building. “The school is in terrible condition,” Rahimov says. “When you walk in, you can’t imagine that it’s an educational institution. It’s like a barn, you feel like you’re walking into a barn. Although our barns are in much better condition than it is. The school is falling apart, it’s disappearing. It’s dangerous to study in it. All the supports under the building have rotted and are falling apart. If the building collapses tomorrow with our children in it, what kind of an answer will they give us?"
Despite numerous appeals to authorities, Rahimov says that there has been no response. "We’ve written a lot of letters so far, we’ve appealed to every agency, but nobody responds. We ask them to please find a solution to our problem, come and take a look and see where our children study."
In response to a query from Meydan TV, the Ujar Regional Executive Authority said that school renovation is not a matter that can be resolved in one day. "You say that they appealed to us. If they did, first we will look into their appeal. After evaluating the condition the school is in, we send their appeal to the Education Ministry in Baku. The Education Ministry endorses it and based on its request money is allocated from the budget for the renovation of the school. The process really isn’t very simple at all. If those people did send us an appeal, we will be sure to look into it."
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