Recommendation on Improvement of Infrastructure and Measures of Safety in Public Schools

On August 16, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia with regard to the improvement of infrastructure of public schools and implementation of necessary measures for the protection of safety of school students.

During 2016-2017, the Public Defender’s Office has been actively studying the infrastructural situation and physical environment of general educational institutions. The above issues were outlined in the Public Defender's parliamentary and special reports as well, but a number of important issues remain unsolved.

As a result of the study, it has been revealed that conditions in a significant part of general educational institutions are not safe for students. The situation is particularly grave in high mountainous regions and rural areas. According to the information requested from the Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency (LEPL) of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, buildings of 189 public schools are damaged across Georgia. In 2016, 209 public schools were functioning in damaged buildings, 42 of which cannot be renovated. Almost all public schools need repair and rehabilitation. 42 394 students study at damaged buildings (this includes the data of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara). According to the information provided, some measures are being taken for the safety of students in the damaged schools, though such measures cannot ensure proper safety of students in most cases.

It is welcome that new public schools have been constructed in different regions of Georgia in 2015-2017, but their number is small. The recovery and rehabilitation efforts are not enough either. In particular, according to the preliminary data, construction of 22 public schools was started and construction of 8 schools was completed within the framework of the 2015-2017 infrastructure development plan of the Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency. It should be praised that rehabilitation of 35 public schools and partial rehabilitation of 518 public schools are planned within the framework of the 2017 Action Plan for Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development, but it is necessary the process to be implemented in time and the start of the 2017 autumn semester not to be hampered.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its General Comment No. 1, the States parties shall ensure equal access to general education and safe functioning of educational institutions. In order to ensure this, the State must take all necessary measures and ensure relevant standards in general educational institutions.

The Public Defender of Georgia indicates that it is necessary to actively implement measures aimed at improvement of the rights situation of students in public schools, focusing more on access to education and providing secure physical environment. At the same time, the infrastructure of general education institutions should be improved and the educational inventory should be upgraded, particularly in rural areas and mountainous regions. In addition, it is important to build new public schools more intensively.

რეკომენდაცია საჯარო სკოლების ინფრასტრუქტურული მდგომარეობის გაუმჯობესებისა და მოსწავლეთა უსაფრთხოების დაცვისათვის საჭირო ღონისძიებათა შესახებ

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