Failed investment of 80 thousand euro for modern school in Lakavica
The officials see no hope in a school built with World Bank funds, saying it is failed investment
The village school in Lakavica is almost empty and it is just a matter of time when it will be closed. The officials see no hope in the capacities of the modern school, which once served as a role model in the region, built with funds from the World Bank. Now, it is only seen as failed investment. The main reason for this is the discontent over building a modern school in deserted area, instead of investing in the central primary school “Vanco Prke” in Novo Selo village, near Stip, for which the country has not provided even a penny. The similar case was found in Dobri Dol near Skopje, where the World Bank has provided amazing 200 thousand euro for a school attended by only ten children.
The experts say over one billion euros entered the country in the past ten years through various projects, but it is not known where they were spent. This is mainly because the state institutions have no documentation on foreign donations. Macedonia is permanently criticized as a country unable to manage the projects, so the opening of foreign agencies in the country, through which the investments would come in Macedonia, is constantly postponed. Lakavica school is built through the Project on rehabilitation of education in 2001, which included renovation and construction of thirty schools. The project amounted to 158,803 Deutsch mark or around 80,000 euro provided through a Dutch grant. The school is built according to modern, world standards, prescribed by the World Bank. However, the problem is that only 40 children attend the classes in four classrooms, which are almost empty. The lowest is the number of first and third graders, seven in total, while eight children are in second and fourth grade. Ten children attend seventh and eighth grade, while the highest is the number of fifth and sixth graders – 15.
“The school in Lakavica is a failed investment. The number of residents is constantly declining, so the number of students is being reduced each year. The facility somehow managed to stay open, but with the decentralization process and the transfer of schools in the hands of the municipalities I do not know whether it will pay off to maintain the school,” says director of “Vanco Prke”, Biljana Kazandziska, who is also responsible for the school in Lakavica. However, the greatest threat will be to close the school in Lakavica, as it can turn out either way. “On one hand thirteen teachers will lose their jobs and on the other hand someone should pay for the student transport to Stip”.
Kazandziska regrets that money has been invested in a dying school, instead of providing funds for the famous school in Stip “Vanco Prke”, which has never been renovated, although it has a historical background, because the legendary Macedonian revolutionist Goce Delcev went to this school. The Helsinki Committee of Human Rights also discussed the poor conditions in the school, as the children are still sitting in the same desks as Goce.
“The money invested in Lakavica could have been given to Novo Selo school, which has 130 students. Through the Education Ministry we applied with a project to the Norwegian Embassy, but it is very difficult,” director Kazandziska says. The project is aimed at renovating the toilets, replacement of wooden parts and reconstruction of facade. They intend to turn the upper floor into memorial room in honor of Goce Delcev.
From today’s perspective, World Bank representative to Macedonia, Sandra Blumenkamp says that according to their analysis it would have been better to build new schools than to renovate the existing ones, as it was great burden for the budget of the bank. She adds the schools required major repairs, so they spent the money much sooner, although it was initially planned to make the repairs in several occasions.
The Ministry of Education and Science does not have documents on foreign donations in education from this period.
Namely, in the period 2003-2006 various donors invested 15 million euros for improving the school conditions. In spite of everything, the school assessment of Helsinki Committee was extremely bad.