Education in Chechnya disrupted
By Umalt Chadayev
CHECHNYA – The present winter in Chechnya has probably been one of the coldest in the past few years. In many schools classes have been cut by almost half because of the cold weather.
"To describe what is happening in our schools today, I can use only one word – disaster," Grozny resident Seda Karimova, 44, told Prague Watchdog’s correspondent. "There is practically no teaching going on in the schools at all. In September the classes at secondary school № 44 (in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district), which my daughter attends, began over two weeks late. Later, because of the December State Duma elections, the classes were cancelled for almost the same amount of time."
"Now one lesson lasts only 20 minutes. It’s because the classrooms are horribly cold, and the children simply can’t tolerate it any longer than that. What kind of normal education can there be under such conditions? Our children aren’t really getting any teaching at all,” the woman says angrily. "Why isn’t the education ministry doing anything? Why isn’t anyone being punished?”
For several years the republic’s schools have been heated by small gas stoves and open gas rings because the central heating systems have fallen into disrepair as a result of the military activities. In 2006 Ramzan Kadyrov demanded that gas stoves should be removed from school premises and proper central heating installed. Seda says that before the school year began it was announced that repairs had been carried out in all the republic’s schools, and that all matters related to heating were fully resolved. However, she believes that in many schools this was not in fact the case. “Every director, every civil servant in charge of these things needs to be asked why the problem still exists,” she says.
According to the director of one Grozny school who does not wish to be named, the heating problems in many schools are the fault of their management. "In my school, for example, everything is fine," he says. "There are no breaks in classes, and we’ve had no cancellations or cuts in the length of classes (from 45 to 20 minutes, as in some other schools). It’s all down to the fact that we used the money we were allocated for the repair of the heating system for the purpose it was earmarked for. But others, in order to save money, or even for some other reasons that I wouldn’t want to go into, have not done so. And the result is, as the saying goes, plain to see."
Many Chechen school teachers say that the level of education of Chechen schoolchildren is significantly lower than the average. This is due primarily to the fact that during the past 15 years there have been two military campaigns in the republic.
"Our children want to learn and are eager to do so in spite of everything. For that they need the basic conditions, which should be supplied by the appropriate bodies and individual officials. That’s what those officials are paid for, they occupy their posts but they don’t do the work they’re supposed to do. They’re more interested in the advantages they can gain from their jobs, and they only care about their own well-being," Seda says.
(Translation by DM)
(T) RELATED ARTICLES:
· President Kadyrov appoints Anzor Muzayev as Education and Science Minister (Chechnya.gov.ru, 22.1.2008)