By Andria Kades
THE PLACEMENT of five students from private schools at the University of Cyprus (UCy) based on international rather than Pancyprian entrance exams – provided they had been accepted at a university abroad – has snowballed into war of words that has reached social media and even the House education committee.
One MP accused UCy Rector Constantinos Christofides, and parents who supported the move to admit the five students despite union disapproval said on his Facebok page that the move was “blatant theft from the children of heroes, missing persons, casualties or children that life or nature was unfair to.” He neglected to mention that there are another 324 place at UCy that remain empty, the reasons for which Christofides explains in another section of the Sunday Mail. Also, UCy made it clear in August that no state school students would lose a place.
Christiofides was invited to attend the education committee session this coming Tuesday by chairman Giorgos Tasou. In his response to the MP’s invite, the rector said it was probably better the unions didn’t attend. Secondary school students union OELMEK got the ball rolling earlier this month when they slammed UCy’s decision to admit the five students. That was on a Friday. By Monday, Education Minister Costas Kadis said he was asking Christofides to reconsider the decision saying there might be legal implications relating to the Pancyprian exams.
In his response to Tasou, Christofides said union attendance at the House meeting could hinder the dialogue. “At this stage it will not enable a fruitful dialogue with you due to lack of time. The participation of other organisations could be done at a following session provided the dialogue between ourselves is allocated sufficient time,” his letter said.
“This opinion is submitted to you with respect and in no case do I wish this to be perceived as a disregard to your obvious right to freely draw up, using your judgement, a list of invitees for every matter you scrutinise.”
Responding to Tasou’s letter, the rector sought to correct the deputy who had said Christofides’ decision to admit the students was not in accordance with the law. “To set things straight, the decision to register students is not a decision taken by the rector. It is a decision by the competent bodies of the university (the council and the senate.)”
Meanwhile DISY deputy Andreas Themistocleous has been on the rampage on Facebook, not only targeting Christofides but the parents who supported the decision.
“What you are praising is shameful! It is denying these seats from students who coughed blood to do the Pancyprian exams,” Themistocleous wrote. “It is a blatant theft from children of heroes, missing persons, casualties or children that life or nature was unfair to. What you are praising, dear organised parents, is a sin, for which you should be ashamed of for the rest of your lives.”
The deputy called Christofides “the rector of illegal practice, lawlessness, amoralism, nepotism and having things done because that’s what he wants.”
Themistocleous, the same MP who got into a fracas with AKEL MP Irene Charalambidou telling her on Facebook she was “the utmost authority on measuring people’s manhoods”, called Christofides “the result of prolonged impunity”, and several other slurs.
Several commentators on Themistocleous’ Facebook sought to remind him that UCy has not been accepting students of high calibre as of late with some entering with results as low as 7.5/20.
The Attorney-general is reviewing the case but even if he rules UCy is correct, Kadis said they would still have to wait for parliament to discuss the matter.