By George Psyllides
Education Minister Costas Kadis said the ministry was going ahead with implementing its decision on the new timetables, as he voiced regret over an “offensive” letter by secondary education teachers in which they expressed their disagreement.
“I think the wording used was inappropriate, to the level of indecency,” Kadis told reporters. “I think it does not honour an organisation (OELMEK) that wants to respect the institutions because it did not refer to a random individual.”
Among other things, the teachers claimed the new system curtailed inter-disciplinary study, downgraded certain classes – such as English – to electives, thereby forcing students to take more private lessons, and channelled students into specialising in certain areas of study at a very young age, in contrast to the current flexible state of the labour market.
“For this inevitable failure, it is you and all those who collaborated, openly as well as behind the scenes, who shall be solely responsible,” the teachers said in their letter.
OELMEK accused the minister of brazenly ignoring their feedback on the mooted changes. They also said Kadis was being disingenuous in claiming that he engaged in dialogue with them whereas in reality he did nothing of the sort.
“Your proposal has no scientific or pedagogic foundation whatsoever, since the positions you formulate are flimsy and unsubstantiated, which is unacceptable for a modern, European country.”
Kadis said the ministry was going ahead with its decisions and he rejected claims that no dialogue had taken place.
The minister said there numerous meetings with OELMEK had taken place, a council with academics, parents, and students, and others involved in education.
All views were taken into account an a final proposal was prepared, he said.
“This proposal is scientifically substantiated and we are going ahead steadily with its implementation,” Kadis said.
OELMEK, the minister said, speaks of unsubstantiated positions but at the same time it has submitted three different proposals without a word to back them.
Kadis said OELMEK was going through a difficult phase, seemingly being split over the matter.
“You realise the ministry cannot adjust to every opportunistic majority or every decision taken by OELMEK,” he said.
The union said its leadership would convene next week “to assess developments and take measures”, should the ministry persist in ignoring their repeated calls for dialogue.
They did not elaborate what those measures might be.
“Let us wait and see which half of OELMEK will prevail in the end and what the final proposal would be because the balance changed from day to day and the ministry cannot wait,” Kadis said.