By Poly Pantelides
THE education minister said yesterday he was committed to modernising the way educators are hired in state schools.
Kenevezos was speaking during a press conference on his first eight months on the job.
Under the current system, graduates fulfilling the criteria add their names to a list and are appointed on a first-come first-served basis. This could take more than a decade and over 30,000 people are now waiting for a coveted appointment in state schools.
Kenevezos wants to introduce new criteria, including a written exam and compulsory teacher training for secondary and technical education. The unions have so far resisted these changes.
The minister said yesterday they were trying to push meritocracy by hiring the people most worthy of the job. But he said they were still open to discussion.
Kenevezos also referred to ongoing programmes to provide needy school students with breakfast. The budget has been kept intact this year though the number of students who are getting free breakfast has gone up from 10,500 last year to 12,038 this year, Kenevezos said.
He said that about 11.0 per cent of the whole student body was getting free breakfast at school. Dairy company Charalambides Christis has said it will start providing free milk to some 3,000 of those students every school day, and would be offering a discount for the rest, Kenevezos said.
But in addition to trying to help the little ones, the education ministry is also looking forward to the natural gas prospects and the need to train people in the field.
Kenevezos said the ministry wanted to cover both short term and longer term needs by training people with a view to get as many Cypriots employed in the field as possible.