Students have to sit exams through heatwave

Students have to sit exams through heatwave

Thousands of high-school students had to suffer through June’s early heatwave with no air conditioning or fans as they sat the nationwide university entrance exams this week.

Primary school students were ordered to stay home on Wednesday and Thursday, while the Acropolis and other archaeological sites were closed during the hottest hours of the day.

But seniors had to go sit the test in hotbox classrooms as most schools in the country lack the necessary cooling and ventilation systems. 

According to the European Commission’s Guidelines for healthy environments within European schools, “physically comfortable operative temperatures in school classrooms should be maintained throughout the year according to the season and the external air temperature.” 

This guideline states that a “comfortable” temperature range is between 20 degrees and 26 degrees Celsius. But temperatures in schools of Athens can surpass 30 degrees Celsius, air conditioning is non-existent, and some classrooms are over capacity.

“We were reading the Education Ministry’s guidelines, which say that children need to be in a shady place during school breaks, and we were laughing,” said Katerina Kyriakopoulou, president of the Parents and Guardians Association for the seventh district of Athens Municipality. “Don’t they know that there is no shady place in the schoolyards of Athens, since there are no trees or shelters?”

“Every year when temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius, when 25-28 children are crammed into classrooms, lessons become unbearable, since in the vast majority of schools there are no air-conditioners,” the association said in a statement.

“Even the ceiling fans, wherever they exist, have not been maintained for years, as is the case with all school building infrastructure – which is why it rained plaster all winter in classrooms. So in 2024, the only way to protect students from the poor conditions in schools is… not to go to school,” the statement stressed. 

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