Education Minister Costas Kadis on Wednesday presented a new programme aimed at parents and teachers, which is focused on the social and educational integration of children from third countries.
Kadis said the programme was being co-funded by Cyprus and the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
“Actions will mainly be aimed at educating parents and teachers about the integration of children with migrant backgrounds into our educational system, as well as teaching Greek as a second language,” the minister said at a news conference. The plan also seeks to involve organisations from municipalities and the wider community.
“The school environment, like today’s societies in general, is characterised by multiple forms of diversity that needs tolerance and acceptance, respect and protection,” he added.
“In recent years, the composition of the student population has created new data on the character of Cypriot schools that are becoming increasingly multicultural. Schoolchildren are now studying alongside children with a migrant background with a different mindset and different experiences.”
These children, he said are being invited to live, adapt and interact with Cypriot society, especially in the school environment.
In order for them to be socially and educationally empowered, it will be necessary for them to learn to speak and write Greek as a second language. An interdepartmental committee has also been set up to prepare a policy paper on how to come up with a concrete action plan.
The early stages of the programme in the meantime will involve issuing guidelines for parents and teachers, organising conferences and training seminars. Teacher training on integration issues will be provided by the Pedagogical Institute throughout the school year, Kadis said.
The director of the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Athina Michailidou, said that one of the aims was to empower teachers to promote relationships between the schools and parents from third countries.