Telendos Primary School is counting days…
Once upon a time, a small Primary School grew on the small rock of Telendos, the rock that peeks over the island of Kalymnos. “It was built like most small schools in our country after World War II. The Municipality of Kalymnos, in its effort to ensure that the children of the most remote settlements of the island are not left uneducated, founded in 1945 the Primary School of Telendos – Kalymnos. It is worth noting that the Municipality of Kalymnos maintained a sufficient number of educational institutions during the years of slavery. The Municipality did not think about the efforts and the money, but its main concern was that the children of Kalymnos were educated and, above all, that they taught in Greek. During the first year of operation of Telendos Primary School, teaching took place in a cell (small room) next to the church while the teacher was paid by the Municipality, with which he was contracted. The following year, the Elementary School was housed in a familiar building 100 meters from the first.
In the years 1947-1948 all teachers were paid by the Greek State. For 11 years the school was housed in the house. Later following the actions of the then-active teacher, the school building was built behind the Holy Church of Panagia. The new school functioned for the first time in 1959 and consisted of a small vestibule, an office, and the classroom.” (text from the PROCEEDINGS OF THE TELENDOS KALYMN PRIMARY SCHOOL)
The Primary School of Telendos as it is today, 24.10. 2023 In 2018, it was the first time we reported on this small quirky school of our Aegean. Back then, he had one or two students, and occasionally depending on the season maybe four. In recent years he managed to have a permanent student, all year round. The student’s mother was originally from Telendo and lives permanently on the island. In these last years, the little student has been keeping Telendos Primary School open. Life in winter for the one and only child on such a small rock is not easy. Unfortunately, even though Telendos is located at a very short distance from Kalymnos, it does not have a significant number of inhabitants in the winter.
The Primary School that exists on the island has not managed to improve for many years. All the work they have tried to do has fallen on deaf ears. And this June, the final blow came for the small school. While the restoration work began on the building and its courtyard, which in recent years had been in a poor condition, and while all the residents and tourists were happy that such an important life project for the island would finally take place in little Telendo, the work, stopped. Another move was made in late summer, but again the project stalled. So he opened his doors to his one and only student for the new school year, with scaffolding. And a courtyard that is not suitable for students. Even for a student. So what parent who respects their child would send their child to such a school in 2023-24? No one. That is why the mother of the only student of Telendos, even though she is from a single-parent family, made the decision for the good of her child to rent a house in Kalymnos so that the little one can go to a “normal” decent school in the winter. So in the middle of November, the Primary School of Telendos will be closed.
The school with such a long history is now counting down. A wounded school that ultimately failed to come back to life. Not even as a building. Not even with students.
In Greece, we count births, students, and young people. In an old country. We are closing schools – places, because ultimately we are not able to fill them. And as Confucius said: “If you think for a year, plant a seed. If you think for ten years, plant a tree. If you think for 100 years, teach people.”