The reform of the educational system is an obligation to society and its children, Education Minister Costas Kadis said on Monday.
Kadis met with preschool and primary education head teachers to discuss reforms that include changes in curriculums and teacher appointments and evaluation. Reforms also concern the introduction of policies to better support children with learning disabilities and to tackle youth delinquency.
“We receive feedback, we use it in our policies and we continue with the reforms,” Kadis said following the meeting.
He added that similar meetings had already taken place in other districts. “We realised that it was something head teachers needed, to have direct contact with us and to submit their suggestions based on day to day operations of schools.”
Commenting on the stance of primary education teachers’ union Poed that announced last week it would no longer discuss with the ministry any of its reforms, Kadis said he hoped that more mature thinking would prevail.
“If we all behave with maturity and if we all see through this dialogue how these policies can become even better I am certain that we will reach the desired results,” Kadis said.
Poed head Phylios Fylaktou said that he had not found the meeting very useful as “all issues are being discussed superficially”.
“It made an impression on me how the minister heard (the suggestions) of some head teachers and made specific changes. These of course are not ways to promote any changes. There are procedures,” he said.
He added that in no way would Poed hinder any reforms. “There are simply intense concerns for a number of reforms which are being promoted without taking into consideration the assessments the education ministry has made,” Phylaktou said.
The union, that staged a warning one-hour work stoppage earlier in the month over problems in schools and the employment status of a number of teachers on temporary contracts this school year, had called on President Nicos Anastasiades last week to intervene so that these colleagues were given 12-month contracts instead of 10-month ones.
Poed announced that if the president does not intervene by October 12, it would escalate measures, among them, six one-hour work stoppages spanning two months.