Some 880 students set to graduate this year will be exempt from paying fees to sit university entrance exams this year, Education Minister Costas Kadis announced on Wednesday, after cabinet approved the move along with a national strategy to combat and prevent violence in schools.
Speaking after the session, Kadis said students who belong to vulnerable groups and are eligible for the food programme will be exempt from fees payable for the issuing of a school leaving certificate and to take the university entrance exams.
The measure has been extended from last year.
It will cover a maximum of 880 students set to graduate this year, he added.
“It is a measure for social welfare. It doesn’t just concern poor students but a wider group of students from vulnerable groups in society and who are included in the school food programme.”
Cabinet also moved to approve a national strategy to prevent and combat violence in schools which has been in the works since March.
Since then, ministries, government services, NGOs and relevant authorities involved in the rights of children have been working together to prepare a series of measures on the issue.
This involves promoting values of respect and peace, supporting families whose child exhibits worrying behaviour and relevant information for teachers, Kadis said.
“This is a matter that as you can understand is a serious cause for concern in our society. There are measures in place for tackling delinquency in our schools but what we wanted was to put all of them in a single framework, find the gaps and fill them.”
Although more details will be revealed soon, Kadis said one measure includes creating a data bank of all instances of violent behaviour in schools, the causes behind it and how it is combated “so we can have a full picture of what is going on in our schools.”