For one meter less they cannot build a school gym, they lack “only two classrooms” to save electricity and heating, they need “just a new roof” so as not to destroy the renovated school. These are the most common problems faced by primary schools in Skopje to boast they can have classes in normal conditions.
Inbox 7 team toured several schools in Skopje to see if they meet the basic criteria prescribed by law: hygienic premises, a school gym, way of using electricity, water and heating, whether student transport is provided, whether they have arranged schoolyards, access for students with disabilities, diet and whether and how security is guaranteed.
In all the schools we visited there are no access ramps for children with special needs. We noticed that some do not have security cameras, but we also visited schools facing a shortage of space, struggling with a dilapidated roof, or forced to save on heating in order to buy new school doors or change the asbestos roof.
Due to a meter less they have not had a school gym for 30 years
Primary school “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” is the oldest school in Macedonia. Even though located in the very center of Skopje, opposite the old MNT building, it has no school gym. Students here practice in an improvised gym, which is otherwise a classroom.
When you enter this school you wonder why the first floor of the school is “covered” with bars, and children constantly run out of the classrooms looking for their teachers. You do not know whether they go out of their PE lesson or spend their lunch break here.
Gorica Velovska, director of this school explains that the bars have been put to protect the windows from breaking because the school has no gym so children have their PE lessons here.
“Because of one meter and 20 centimeters the school gym does not fit, of the 145 gyms project, so we did not get permission from the municipality to build and the problem has not been solved yet. I think that in some way it has to be agreed between the Municipality Centar and the Government for this to be solved. It seriously affects the enrollment of students. No parent wants to enroll a child where there is no school gym and where the child plays with jeans and shoes. It also affects the school hygiene because when children go out for their PE lesson with the same sneakers they enter the school. When three classes have a PE lesson outside and they enter the classroom, the whole dust and mud is left in the cabinets. Our school was the second in football in the Municipality Centar, first in handball. It is a great pleasure”, said Velovska.
All this reflects the hygiene, which, as Velovska says, is hard to maintain despite the fact that Municipality Centar, where this school belongs to, regularly provides money for this purpose. As in other schools, so in “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, students collect plastic bottles later replaced with hygiene products.
Although the classrooms have been reconstructed, added and floors often destroyed, yet the school has a sufficient number of classrooms that are heated and they have no problems with electricity and providing food for students.
At parents’ insistence, in the school there is security that cares for children from the moment they enter the school until they leave. However, Velovska appeals for greater vigilance of both teachers and parents.
“Children can buy food at school, but they mostly want to eat out, and that jeopardizes their safety given the fact that the school is surrounded by busy boulevards. We had a case when children, our students, were attacked in the trade center “Mavrovka”, says Velovska.
Municipality Centar announces a school gym in “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”
At the request of INBOX 7, Municipality Centar replied that it was planning construction of a school gym in the primary school “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, which although located in the very center of Skopje, still has no gym.
The reply we received at our request under the Law on Free Access to Public Information says:
“A few years ago the old leadership of the Municipality Centar had a plan to build a school gym in agreement with the Ministry of Education and Science. The building was not realized and it stopped in the Urban Sector in the municipality Centar, where a building permit could not be issued because the project was out of the prescribed dimensions of the detailed urban plan for that site”, it is said in the response by the Municipality Center. They announce that they have ordered a project plan to build the long-awaited school gym. They point out: “This is the last school in Municipality Centar without a gym”.
The school has been renovated starting from the roof, facade, windows, electrical installation, all toilets have been renovated and there is a new fence. Only a net lacks that is to be placed on the fence that needs to divide the schoolyard from the street past the school itself.
Primary school “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” is the first school in Macedonia. It was established in 1836 as a cell school within the church “Virgin Mary”. It has continuously been conducting its educational activities for 178 years. In this school there are 511 students in 29 classes in two shifts.
The school improved, but the roof dilapidated
In the school “Strasho Pindzur” in municipality Gjorce Petrov they have a big problem – part of the roof is dilapidated and threatens to destroy everything that has ever been invested in restoration. In this school there are 608 students in 29 classes.
Otherwise the school has a beautiful school yard and a gym, security cameras and security service. This school is also located on a busy street, so the management in cooperation with the Parent Council has managed to make the relevant municipality Gorce Petrov place traffic lights and protective fence that separates the school from the street.
“We have been working a little specifically since the computers were brought and they are used only with the higher classes. Therefore older students only study in the upper floors and younger ones downstairs because they have their laptops”, they say from the school.
Parents whom Inbox7 discussed with are generally satisfied with the conditions in the school, but they react to the fact that long ago they paid around 2,000 denars for uniforms, but they have not been purchased yet.
“We paid as soon as they asked. Not for one, but for two uniforms. But it is near half term and the children have not received them yet”, says 44-year-old Tanja, mother of Anton who is in the 5th grade.
The school management, however, assures that this problem will soon be solved.
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska
Tomorrow: They save on heating to buy doors and change the asbestos roof