Dilapidated schools threaten 1.5m Iranian students

December 3, 2017

TEHRAN — Some 1.5 million students are studying at old and structurally unsafe school buildings across Iran, director of schools renovation, development and equipment organization Mohammad Taqi Nazarpour has said.

He highlighted that since 2006 some 50 percent of the schools nationwide have been reconstructed and the rest are waiting for budget allocation to be renovated.

In general, he added, some 61,000 classrooms need to undergo reconstruction nationwide.

He made the remarks on November 19 a week after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the western province of Kermanshah, causing considerable damage to schools in the area. 

Ramshackle schools in Tehran

According to Tasnim news agency in Tehran alone some 700 schools are in a state of ruin and are unsafe for students. 

Despite the fact that these schools are listed as ‘ramshackle schools’ they still admit students annually and no one seems to care unless a disaster strike. 

Experts have all previously agreed and warned that hundreds of thousands of people could die if a powerful earthquake struck Tehran one day. No one can predict an earthquake but three major faults lines which are surrounding and undercutting the city offer the prospect of a major disaster in the future. The largest of these fault lines, the Mosha, the Tehran, and the Rey, are each on their own enough to flatten the capital and it’s only a matter of time before they actually get active.

The city ranks 5th regarding the number of structurally unsound schools as some schools are still up and running for seven decades and even a rain or snow can cause devastation to them, Abbasali Baqeri, director general of Tehran education department has said. 

In Tehran some one fourth of the schools age between 40 to 50 years which are too small for the number of pupils and are of poor construction but due to the lack of standard schools they are still operating.

Old schools harming health and performance 

A study by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), published in Independent in 2016, found that one in five teachers have considered leaving their school as a result of stressful, overcrowded working environments caused by the poorly designed buildings they have to teach in.

In is not so farfetched to place the same result to the context of Iran. While poor conditions of schools would negatively affect both teachers and students' performance it can also severely endanger their health and wellbeing.

Budget deficiency have always been an issue in addressing shortcomings in all sectors but underestimating the well-being and lives of a generation who are supposed to build the future of a country and are hold dear by their parents seems unwise.

MQ/MG

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