Investments in Schools: A Good Thing
We all know that schools in Azerbaijan are not really in the best condition. They can be cold, poorly lit, and sometimes the doors don’t even close right. It’s not uncommon to see classrooms full of students bundled up in coats, scarves, hats, and gloves as their bundled teachers attempt to teach. How can anyone learn or teach effectively in such a situation?
So it gladdens me to see that there is going to be investment in school infrastructure for Azerbaijan in 2011! While governors in the US are busy slashing education funding, the Azerbaijan Business Center reports that schools in Azerbaijan will receive a boost in funding amounting to AZN 80 million, nearly AZN 50 million for repairs and to finish construction from 2010. Another AZN 33 million will go to the construction of new schools.
This is a great start. Yet, as always, there is reason for caution. One issue is, how many schools is this really going to help? And then, will this funding stretch to the crumbling village schools that haven’t been touched since the fall of the Soviet Union? Another concern is that officials will elect to just build new schools without taking out the old ones. Around Lənkəran, you can see various schools where they have left standing old, unusable buildings and built the newer sections right next to them. It makes for an odd picture. Last, who’s to say they aren’t going to just build a facade over the old building, so that it looks nice and shiny from the outside, remaining its crumbly, drafty self on the inside?
Assuming that this money actually reaches the projects intended for construction, there should also be a noticeable uptick in employment in the construction sector. Laying out a policy to invest in schools is something this country would really benefit from on many fronts, and AZN 80 million is a significant push. I’m looking forward to seeing new and repaired schools.