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Teachers say new school timetables ‘doomed to fail’

Education Minister Costas Kadis

By Elias Hazou

THE new school timetables and the re-jigging of the syllabus, announced this week by the education ministry, are destined to be a flop, the secondary school teachers union OELMEK warned on Thursday.

“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 a letter to Education minister Costas Kadis, which they made public.

Among other things, the teachers say the new system as devised by the ministry curtails inter-disciplinary study, downgrades certain classes – such as English – to electives, thereby forcing students to take more private lessons, and channels students into specialising in certain areas of study at a very young age, in stark contrast to the current flexible state of the labour market.

OELMEK went on to accuse 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.”

The union said its leadership would convene next week “to assess developments and take measures”, should the Education ministry persist in ignoring their repeated calls for dialogue.

They did not elaborate what those measures might be.

As announced a day earlier, under the new timetables – to be introduced as of the new school year – teaching periods are to be increased from 37 to 38, and small modifications will be made relating to the distribution of teaching periods according to subject and selective courses.

The reconfigured teaching regimen abolishes the unified education system in lyceums, introduced in 2000, and introduces six new programmes of study: humanities, foreign languages and European studies, applied sciences that include technology and computer science, economics, services and fine arts. Furthermore, music and sports lyceums will be established in every town.

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