Earlier this month, Hetq published an article entitled “Artsakh Border Community School in Need: New Ping-Pong Tables Aren’t the Answer”highlighting the problems facing students and teachers at the Aknaberd School in Artsakh’s norther Martakert District.
The school, in the former Azeri village, was built in 1974 and needs serious renovation, both inside and out.
We contacted Artsakh Minister of Urban Development Karen Shahramanyan on the issue. His reply was that there weren’t enough pupils in the village to warrant renovating the entire school building.
“If I’m not mistaken the school can accommodate at least 300 students,” was the minister’s reply, arguing that since the school has an enrollment of 111, renovation isn’t a priority.
Minister Shahramanyan also noted that renovation of schools in Artsakh is conducted on a priority basis drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Science, claiming that every year numerous schools and kindergartens are renovated as per the five year program in place.
When asked if the Aknaberd School will be renovated by the close of the program, Shahramanyan said it would.
When Hetq visited Aknaberd, school principal Narineh Osipyan told us that she had received government assurances that renovations would start next year.
Minister Shahramanyan didn’t conceal the fact that he is banking on private funds from local entrepreneurs to support the upkeep of the school.
But as Hetq noted in its previous article, such assistance merely covers the cost of furniture and recreational items, and not renovation of the structure.
The minister concluded that the government is now focused on constructing new schools rather than renovating existing ones.
“We aren’t a wealthy enough country to work on just one school ten times,” he said.