By Evie Andreou
Aiming to have all substitute teachers made permanent before the new appointment system is introduced, primary teachers’ union POED asked the education ministry to double to 1,000 the number of posts, the union’s chairman Filios Fylactou said yesterday .
The new teacher appointment system is part of education reforms announced by the ministry in March, according to which successful candidates would be chosen according to teaching experience and qualifications.
Education Minister Costas Kadis had said that the majority of substitute teachers were to be appointed from the seniority list within the next three years and after that, educators would be hired only based on meritocracy and examinations.
“The ministry gave us 500 permanent posts, but according to our estimates, only 350 out of the 730 substitutes currently teaching will be given these posts within the next three years,” Fylactou told the Cyprus Mail.
He said substitutes who currently teach may by then have dropped further down the seniority list when other candidates can in the meantime earn extra merit points after completing post graduate education. They would then come before the substitute teachers on the list. This would see substitute teachers drop down the list within the three-year deadline and have no chance of being hired after that.
The union wants 1,000 guaranteed posts to ensure enough leeway for all substitute teachers to be hired.
“The number we gave the ministry is estimated in such a way that all those people who are already teaching will not be fired. Several of them are having their contracts renewed each year for the past seven to ten years, and every year face the uncertainty whether they will be employed or not in the coming term,” Fylaktou said.
He added that the union, taking into consideration the current waiting list, and future retirements, proposed to the ministry that the new appointment system not be implemented within three years, as is the ministry’s plans, but at a later stage, when all 730 substitute teachers have secured permanent posts.
“The new appointment system may be implemented let’s say in 2028, but there are many other ways to upgrade and modernise the school system, including a new timetable, ways to address youth delinquency, which we have already proposed to the ministry for consideration,” Fylactou said.
Meanwhile, the higher education music teachers’ association warned, assuming they receive they said the green light from their union OELMEK by Monday, that they will not organise the customary school graduation ceremonies’ programmes, they will not grade papers or give semester grades and will not participate in any activities that are not within their work duties.
The association said they were forced to announce these measures since their opinion was not heard during the consultation period on the new high school time tables, in which music teaching hours have been reduced.
The education ministry, however, announced that it will proceed with the implementation of the new high school timetable as of September.