By Evie Andreou
THE HOUSE education committee is determined to meet every day before the summer recess to reach a consensus on the new teacher appointment system, DISY deputy Efthimios Diplaros said yesterday.
Diplaros engaged in a public spat with AKEL’s Christos Christofides on national broadcaster CyBC’s morning radio show on the bill’s provisions and the short length of time the parties have to respond, before it is put to vote.
The ruling party’s MP and committee member, reiterated the government’s position that it was possible to have the bill, which was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, voted by the plenum before July 9, when the last plenum session of the season is scheduled.
“We don’t have the luxury to lose more time; we are all accountable to society. I believe if we put above all the best interest of our children, we will reach a consensus,” Diplaros said.
In his turn, Christofides said that his party was asking for substitute teachers – at least those employed more than 30 months – to be secured a position.
“The government has invested in the salaries of these people, in all those years of employment, significant amounts to be able to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience to teach in schools” Christofides said.
He questioned the education ministry’s position that all substitutes will have an advantage due to experience, which is one of the criteria of the new system along with academic qualifications.
“According to the ministry all candidates will take the exams but due to experience, those who were employed as substitutes will fail to secure a post only if they do poorly in exams,” Christofides said.
He added that the experience criterion allows teachers from other EU countries who speak adequate Greek to seek employment in Cyprus, since salaries are comparatively higher, meaning that local candidates will have even more competition.
Diplaros said; “We can find legal adjustments through dialogue but this cannot be an excuse to stop moving forward.”
Diplaros said that there has been discussion of reforms in education for more than a decade and the government would like to see the new system voted by the plenum so that the provisions are implemented as soon as September.
According to the bill, until 2018, the government will fill several posts with the old system, seniority list according to graduation date, and from 2019 until 2022 all extra posts will be filled 50 per cent from candidates of the old list and 50 per cent from the new list, constituted according to merit.
First exams will be carried out in 2017, and until 2022, candidates will have the opportunity to be on both lists.
Higher education teacher unions OELMEK and OLTEK agreed to the proposals, but primary teachers union POED, disagreed and asked that more posts are given to them to ensure that all substitutes are appointed before the old system is abolished.