When I spoke to one official, he said that he would begin every inspection of his subordinate agencies on a toilet. It frankly surprised me, why the toilet?! It turned out that it is precisely because of the state of the toilet room that he evaluates the activity of the head of this institution. Because a good owner always has a clean and tidy toilet in order to make the toilet clean and tidy, one does not need any high orders and extraordinary efforts. Therefore, a clean and comfortable toilet is evidence that they take care of people, and workers, and visitors here.
Over time, I agreed with this theory, because everywhere I saw broken washbasins, dirty window sills, cabins, full of junk ‒ the theory was confirmed by the corresponding attitude of management and workers to people.
In my life, there were two schools and two universities. In the first school, everything was fine, but the school with 3 floors and many classes for thousand students had two toilets, both on the first floor, and both could be found by smell. It mercilessly smelled from there, terrible cabins with terrible toilet bowls on which it was necessary to climb from above, a terrible sink with extremely cold water, moreover, it did not work most of the time. In the Soviet and post-Soviet system, such toilets probably had to bring up resistance and disgust to any systems. Because for 9 years of study at that school, I learned only how to stand 3 hours a day without using the toilet. It was really scary going there.
Then I had a village school. The village was rich and beautiful. Almost in every house, there were toilets and showers, and baths, a system of out-of-house utilities remained only in old people. But at school, for some reason, everyone believed that the toilet in the building was an unsanitary condition, so let the large and small students went to the toilet behind the school. An out-of-building toilet had the following system ‒ the “hole in the ground”, the smell was appropriate there, but in winter there also was a fierce wind. Therefore, the skill acquired earlier was also very useful here.
Studying in the secondary school opened up the new standards of toilets, there was only an out-of-building system too, with huge queues, the wind, only teachers and students went there simultaneously. Such a toilet democracy. The teachers had the right to pass the queue. And there was a smoking place behind the toilet, there were also teachers and students, to whom the same teachers only talked about the harm of bad habits during the classes.
And finally the university, I could not believe that the toilet can be warm, there can be sinks with warm water, a mirror and even toilet paper. You know, in such conditions, you immediately feel like a person. As if the soulless system somehow expresses its respect to you.
But all these horrors were long, so long ago. More than twenty-five years have passed since that first school. It would seem that people have changed, the world has changed, everything has changed. And they have learned to provide some basic human needs even where it is extremely difficult to do this. Oh, yes, even in my secondary school, instead of an outdoor monster, a spacious bright toilet with white cabins, soap and toilet paper appeared. In the kindergarten, where my child studies, there are nice and warm toilets, with small sinks and comfortable toilet bowls, as the monitor said, “A child must understand that he or she is respected here.” And only schools remain an outpost of terrible toilets. I already have the impression that these terrible toilets are a component of the pedagogical system, a favorite component of the supporters of Oleksandr Makarenko’s principles of education. It is some legal punishment, just in case, so that you do not accidentally feel too human.
In most schools, where I had to go lately, there are no water and soap, toilet paper in the toilets, toilet bowls are almost always absent as a phenomenon, not to mention overhead seats, there are even no partitions between the cabins, and it happens that a number of these “shameful” holes in the floor are located opposite the same row ‒ full openness as a principle of the educational system. Even in such intimate moments, a child has no right to stay alone, has no right to preserve self-esteem. Therefore, it is not surprising that toilets are places, where they fight in school, find out relationships, or share cheat sheets. Those rare schools that have normal human toilets evoke some kind of initial joy as if now is not the 21st century, but the 19th, and suddenly the first car passed on the street. People that live in houses with all the comforts, travel, order any goods from any part of the world should undergo humiliation due to visiting the school toilet, and should rejoice because it has long been the norm, the normal norm.
But these are old, it would seem now schools are allocated a lot of money, of course, if the director is not too lazy to issue a budget request and at least ask for funding. Schools can conduct capital and redecoration repairs, and no longer at the expense of parents. It would seem that right now they can make normal toilets, normal amenities so that after visiting a school toilet, one does not have to feel inhuman. But no… Toilets have remained a system of pedagogical influence, it is probably impossible to let students feel like a human even for a minute.
So last year, the Irpin school of “linguistics and spirituality” received 760,000 UAH to repair a toilet, received and implemented ‒ “four holes in the floor, and zero privacy”, so my FB-friend Mykhailyna Skoryk says about this new toilet. And so it remained. And probably the same will continue. Almost a million hryvnias for plastic tanks, which broke in the first month of operation, and a “hole in the floor” system, almost a million hryvnias for children to go through humiliation, use a bucket to wash out and use a broom instead of a brush. And if you think that this is only in Irpin, and nowhere else ‒ you are mistaken. Such is the system, the system of pedagogy through the toilet humiliation.
Almost a million of the taxpayers’ money to ensure that our children in no case feel like people. Million for daily humiliation. Million for toilet pedagogy.
This school and this system bring up a disgust to any systems, they train only the strength of the bladder, and the ability to run home quickly. Dignity and respect are out of the question, where basic physiological needs turn into humiliation and torture.