CHF through the USAID funded Small Infrastructure for Education in Kosovo Program (SIEK) is implementing 17 school construction projects in 2009 with average cost of well over $200,000 (cost share included). The projects being implemented are designed to reduce classroom shifts and improve learning conditions in Kosovo’s schools.
CHF has also identified a few smaller pilot projects that are proving to have a big impact. One of these projects is in Vushtrri where materials were provided to a group of teachers and students allowing them to renovate school bathrooms themselves.
When CHF visited the Technical School Eqrem Qabej in Vushtrri, it was determined that even though conditions in the school were poor, the school would not qualify for a large investment from the SIEK program. However, local officials and CHF were concerned about the schools bathrooms which were in such poor condition they had become practically unusable and a serious heath concern.
Teachers from the school noted that it would be a good practical exercise for the students to design and repair the bathrooms themselves. CHF agreed and trained a group of students to prepare the technical specifications and bill of quantities. The students were very enthusiastic about the project and prepared the needed technical documentation. The total cost of the materials was about $3,000.
Students were thrilled to be part of the effort and showed terrific enthusiasm during implementation. Upon completion of the repairs, both students and teachers indicated they were ready to take on other projects to improve their school. During the final inspection, a student noted, “It will be easier to take care of the bathrooms now because we (students) have a new sense of ownership on the facility since we made it ourselves.”
The Director of Education in Vushtrri, Qerim Selimi, played an important roll in developing and monitoring the project and said “this project helped students to perform using their learned knowledge, learn to work in a group, and after this project, they will be more sensitive to caring for the environment of the school.”
”We would like these kinds of projects for the future as needs in the schools are big,” school director Nexhmi Magjuni expressed. CHF also feels this is an interesting way to approach renovation in technical schools where students are being trained in construction techniques and it shows how a small investment can go a long way in improving education and learning conditions in Kosovo.