The heating systems in 136,000 classrooms across Iran do not have the required standards, the Islamic Republic's Deputy Minister of Education has said.
"As most of these classrooms are located in the province of Sistan & Baluchestan and other regions with no gas pipelines, it is impossible to upgrade their heating system for the moment," Mehrollah Rakhshani Mehr asserted on Saturday, January 26.
According to Rakhshani Mehr, a possible way to make classrooms safe is replacing kerosene with diesel fuel for the heaters, but, providing it in some of the provinces, including the border areas, is unfeasible.
Scores of Iranian schoolchildren have died or badly burnt in recent years in classrooms heated with substandard and unsafe kerosene stoves.
Iranian media reported on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, that a school fire killed three girls in the country’s impoverished mainly Sunni populated Province of Sistan & Baluchestan.
Immediately after the blaze, Deputy Chairman of Majlis' (parliament) Education and Research Commission, Qassem Ahmadi said that two-thirds of schools in Iran either needed renovation or essential repair.
The Deputy Education Minister who is also the head of Iran Schools Renovation Organization (ISRO) said that if a new parliamentary motion is approved, the share of ISRO from the increased price of natural gas would rise from 20% to 50%. This would enable financing for changing the heating systems to safer fuels.
Earlier, when it was reported that eighty schools were totally demolished in November 2017’s 7-3 magnitude earthquake in Kermanshah, western Iran, the Minister of Education, Mohammad Bat’haei declared that one-third of school buildings across Iran are unsafe, needing renovation or retrofitting.
Furthermore, the director of the renovation of Tehran Schools, Dariush Varnaseri announced on December 10, 2017, that there are more than one thousand unsafe educational sites across Tehran province.