The miserable state of hygiene in Armenian schools
A recent study conducted in Armenia by physicians and an NGO revealed the unsettling hygiene conditions in schools and kindergartens in Armenia.
Schools in both urban and rural areas were randomly selected for the study, covering 121 schools and 80 kindergartens.
What the study shows
The study found that 86 per cent of schools and 56 per cent of kindergartens lacked hot water.
Armenian Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan described the situation as depressing:
“In a number of schools, water is inaccessible due to broken or missing taps. During the study, there were instances where only one faucet worked in the whole school.”
The Ombudsman drew attention to the dangers a lack of sanitation poses for student health:
“There are many cases of infectious disease outbreaks in schools.”
The children have to drink water directly from the tap, or have to share glasses.
The study also showed that in most rural schools, sanitary facilities are located outside instead of indoors. In 41 per cent of rural schools, only squatting toilets are available. In many of these bathrooms there is also a lack of privacy due to the absence of partitions.
“In some cases, even if there are separate sanitary facilities, their doors either do not close at all, or do not close properly – thus children cannot use them,” the ombudsman said.
The physicians involved in the monitoring were struck by the lack of basic hygiene in schools. Most school toilets did not have soap, and 76 per cent did not have toilet paper, let alone hand dryers or towels.
The Ombudsman also stated that only 8 out of 121 schools and 2 out of 80 kindergartens had facilities for the disabled.
The worst sanitary facilities were observed in the rural schools located in Shirak and Vayots Dzor.
Will there be any changes?
Tatoyan has already discussed the study’s findings with the Minister of Education and Science. The results were also sent to the Mayor of Yerevan and the Minister of Territorial Administration and Development.
“We agreed that the government will take steps towards solving these problems,” the Ombudsman said.
The study also reports that school principals themselves requested aid for sanitary facilities, but did not receive a response.