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Cyprus

Cabinet to approve new education bill

By Evie Andreou

AFTER A long struggle at committee stage, the bill for the new system to appoint teachers will be approved by the cabinet on Wednesday and tabled to the plenum for discussion the next day, Education Minister Costas Kadis said on Tuesday.

Presenting provisions of the bill at the House education committee, Kadis said that until 2018, teachers will be hired according to the existing system, based on their seniority on a waiting list.

For four years after that, 50 per cent of vacant teaching posts will be filled using the old system with the remaining 50 per cent filled using the new system which is based on merit, Kadis said.

According to the bill, the first exams for the new system based on merit points will be carried out in 2017. Exams’ grade, experience, post graduate qualifications, class of degree and graduation date will all be taken into consideration.

“This new policy is very important to deal with an issue which all reports on the educational system pointed out as negative,” Kadis said.

He added that he urged parliament to moving quickly with the debate stage so that it can be voted into law before the House summer recess. This would ensure the transition period can start in September.

The bill was approved by secondary education teachers unions OELMEK and OLTEK, but primary education teachers union POED has expressed concerns regarding the employment of all substitute teachers before the new appointment system is introduced. To that end they had asked that the ministry double to 1,000 the number of permanent posts given to them.

“I understand there are relatively new teachers who are not ensured a post but they have an advantage with the proposed new appointment system. Discussions are underway to find a legal way to secure them,” Kadis said.

He added that his ministry cannot at the moment propose any adjustments as there was no legal basis. After the bill has been voted through and the system implemented, his ministry would bring the issue before parliament if a legal basis can be found, he said.

 

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