By Angelos Anastasiou
A government bill for the drastic overhaul of the system of appointing teachers in public education was voted into law on Thursday, with 31 votes in favour and 19 abstentions.
Implementation of the new rules will start in 2017, and full implementation is scheduled to take place in 2027.
According to the bill, from September 2018 to August 2027 appointments will be made jointly from the current list, which comprises all university graduates ranked according to graduation year, and the new list – which will grade graduates on various criteria, including written examinations.
As of September 2027 the old list will be scrapped and all appointments will be made from the new list.
Prior to voting, plenary discussion was attended by Education minister Costas Kadis.
The plenum rejected a request by main opposition AKEL to put off the vote so that the bill can be evaluated further.
President Nicos Anastasiades said the voting of the bill marked an “historic day for our education system, which is a significant step towards the great goal of reform of public education”.
“It finally scraps the antiquated appointees’ list,” he said in a statement.
“From now on, worthy teachers will be appointed, and our students will be able to have the teachers they deserve.”
Kadis was equally enthusiastic.
“We welcome the voting of the new appointments system by parliament, and are relieved because it paves the way for the modernisation of one of the most important aspects of our education system,” he said in a statement.
“It paves the way for better public schools, better learning results, better citizens, a better future.”
DISY deputy Andreas Themistocleous justified the rejection of AKEL’s request to postpone the vote by pointing out that discussion around a new system of appointments had started during President George Vasiliou’s term – well over 20 years ago – and 10 Education ministers since then have listed reform of the list of appointments as their top priority.
AKEL deputy Giorgos Loukaides said the bill shows serious weaknesses, noting that it will define the lives of thousands of people. At the same time, he said, his party welcomes the aim of modernising the appointments system.
But, he argued, the criterion determining 50 per cent of teacher ranking under the new regime – written examinations – will simply give birth to an industry of private courses, which will only benefit private universities.