Studying in these schools is also dangerous for students’ health. The wooden floors are rotting, the roof is leaking, the ceilings and walls are black with damp. “Water stood at about two meters here. Many teachers are ill, and students too,” say faculty members of the Usenbaev school in the village of Mirmakhmudov, Osh Region.
It can be especially difficult in winter. “In winter, we try not to have classes in this classroom: if it is heated, we suffocate. There’s smoke all over the school, and you can’t see anything in the hallway. We have to choose: it’s either warm but not enough air or enough air but cold. We usually choose the latter. Both the children and we ourselves often get sick,” say faculty members of the Yusup Abdrakhmanov secondary school in the village of Ananyevo, Issyk-Kul Region.
Of course, the quality of education suffers from all this. Due to illness, children miss lessons, and during classes, they complain about smoke and cold. Not enough light comes in through the windows, so children have eye pain. At the same time, almost every school is overcrowded: children study in three shifts, and three people sit at one desk. The link between school infrastructure and children’s academic success is confirmed by research
These problems exist in almost all schools in Kyrgyzstan. As of 2011, only 13% of schools had central heating. The rest were heated mainly by coal or electricity; 16% of schools had no heating system at all. More than 86% of schools did not have a fire alarm system installed.
Only 183 schools had indoor toilets, and most of these schools were in the capital. A lot of data on the physical and technical condition of schools have not been updated since then, which also shows the government’s indifference toward the issue.