Rural Estonia has a number of schools struggling to survive and give a handful of children in the community an education close to home. One school, Massiaru primary in Pärnu County, no longer has even a single student, but for the time being it is still technically operating.
The alma mater of weightlifter and early 1970s Olympic gold medalist Jaan Talts, Massiaru already had the fewest number of students of any Estonian school last year, when it still had three.
Now, with zero students, the schoolhouse is still being heated and one teacher is currently on payroll, reported Delfi.
The local deputy mayor, Toomas Abel, said the school, located in the small town of Häädemeeste, will probably be closed next year. Until then, the lone teacher is tasked with managing the school's affairs.
"We are preparing to [close down]. A big issue is the Massiaru schoolhouse, which is a large and architecturally valuable building from 1938," Abel said.
"Even with three students, Massiaru primary school was important to us, because we often had students from farther towns seeking individual-based instruction […] But Häädemeeste is not an exception; people are moving to where the jobs are and there are fewer children," Abel said.
The building is occasionally used by the community for various activities, including ball games and singing. But now the temperature is kept too low for such activities, as the old heating system does not permit heating individual rooms.