By Bejay Browne
MORE THAN sixty parents staged a sit in at a Paphos school on Monday to try and ensure the school’s future and prevent a merger with another school.
The move comes after a recent official statement from the ministry of education which said that as of the next academic year (2014-2015) pupils at Nikolaideio gymnasium would be relocated to the Kykkos lyceum for the next two years.
But parents, teachers and local authorities have urged the government to rethink their decision and are awaiting a response from the education minister, according to Andreas Maratheftis, president of the association of Kykkos school parents.
He also said that parents were prepared to occupy the school all summer if the government refused to meet their demands.
“We had some information that the Nikolaideio School would be moving to our school today and we aren’t prepared to allow this to happen,”
Maratheftis said on Monday. “We are waiting for a response from the government about a final solution and we have to push for this.”
The fate of the Nikolaideio gymnasium has hung in the balance for over a decade. In 2004, the ministry of education suggested that the school merge with Kykkos lyceum, an idea which was vehemently opposed by parents and teachers even then.
A decade on, it seems that little progress has been made with both schools opposing the merger, arguing it effectively closes two schools.
“We can’t allow for the Kykkou School to cease to exist,” Maratheftis said. “We will be here to stop such actions, every day if we have too.”
Parents of Nikolaideio gymnasium took similar action a couple of weeks ago, angered by the ministry of education’s decision to close the old gymnasium and merge it with Kykkou.
Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas, parents, pupils and other officials have been fighting to keep a school in the centre of the town.
The ministry recently announced the Nikolaideio gymnasium’s closure and its merger with Kykkos lyceum was the best solution. Other alternatives had been considered, but were unsuitable, it said. It added that the decision was based on what was best for the children.
However, Maria Zavrou, the head of the Paphos schools’ committee, said they believe this move is a bad one for Paphos and stressed the importance of a school remaining in the centre of the town.
The mayor of Paphos backs a proposal by parents, pupils and local officials that Nikolaideio should leave the current building as it is dangerous, but that new premises should be built in the centre of Paphos and that the Kykkos lyceum should remain open.