The 2020/2021 school year is due to start in a few days time, but many schools are unable to provide the basic facilities for children.
Over 200 schools in the Elbasan region are due to commence the term next week but parents of children attending many of them say they don’t even have toilets or running water. In the village of Godolesh, children were forced to use toilets in nearby homes as the schools do not have running water or proper toilet facilities. Villagers said that they only get running water for around 60 minutes, once a day.
Father of two and resident of Godolesh, Shkelqim Haka said:
“The doors are broken, there is no water and kindergarten children share the same bathrooms. In the last few years, only the concrete yard has been paved in the last few years. The whole village has problems with a lack of water and it only comes once a day. Instead, we use water from springs and transport it by donkey. Every family in Godolesh pays 1040 lek a month but only gets water once a day for less than an hour. There are day’s it doesn’t come at all.”
In October 2019, Bajrami N won a tender of 56 million lek to bring long-awaited changes to residents. So far, nothing has happened.
Also in Godolesh, damaged walls and problems with damp were noted by Faktoje who visited the area.
In Shegune, the Haxhi Mersin Duka primary school is experiencing similar problems. The water has never worked in the school, and a few metres from where children play, urban waste is dumped into the canal.
Families in the area are hesitant to send their children back to school this year due to the lack of water, the poor conditions, and the COVID-19 situation.
In Krasta e Vogel there is no school or kindergarten and children attend Adem Paralloi about four kilometres away. The children travel each day by bus but parents are concerned over how the children will be able to socially distance during the journey. No information has been given to them about measures to contain the spread of the virus and the 300 or so families cannot afford online learning.
Furthermore, the school itself is in a state of disrepair and there is no sink for younger children to wash their hands. Preschoolers share toilets with older children and the conditions are described as “a disaster” and full of dirt
The Municipality did not provide Faktoje with information on hygienic conditions, running water, and plans to improve the situation in light of the current pandemic.
In parts of the country impacted by the November earthquake, none of the damaged or destroyed buildings have been reconstructed. It’s not known where the thousands of displaced students will attend school, taking into account the need for social distancing within educational institutions.