By Evie Andreou
THE Private Institute Association (SIFK) has hailed the long awaited publication by the education ministry of the list of licenced private institutes.
“This was something we waited for a really long time. It was one of the permanent demands of our association,” SIFK chairman Giorgos Gavriel told the Cyprus Mail.
The ministry’s goal had been is to better organise and regulate the institutes and to clamp down on illegal ones.
The list was accompanied by a circular asking owners to update their information on the register and those owners who are licensed but not yet on the register to submit the relevant information.
The list will be updated after each meeting of the Private Education Advisory Board and every time a new institute gets a licence.
“Many institutes are unlicenced either because their owners are employed by the government, or they don’t want to pay taxes or even because they don’t have building permits,” Gavriel said.
“Why should we pay taxes for our businesses and others do not, just because they want to teach from a room in their house?” he asked.
Many private institutes have seen enrolments drop by 40-50 per cent in the last two years due to the economic crisis and cutbacks by parents.
“Unlicensed institutes charge a lot less than we do, because they don’t have to pay taxes, rent and other expenses that we do,” Gavriel said and also raised the issue of public safety.
“In the case of a fire or gas leak, where are the students going to exit from? Some unlicensed tutors have 10-15 students in one room, usually in their homes. Licensed institutes have building permits and are required by law to be built in such a way that safety is not compromised,” Gavriel said.