By Andria Kades
PARENTS are calling on the education ministry to have teachers undergo a psychological evaluation by a medical board in light of recent news of teachers hitting students.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), head of the secondary education parents association Petros Koulermos said this would be “a step in the right direction as there are a lot of problematic examples in our schools.”
Only a few weeks ago, a teacher in Famagusta was arrested after a 10-year-old pupil, accompanied by his father reported the teacher hit him because he had not washed paint brushes after an art class.
The young boy, according to his father, suffered a broken nose and doctors found he had bruises on his back and face.
Head of the teachers union Philios Phylactou, however, said the notion of psyche evaluations was “unthinkable and could not be accepted.”
“It is unnecessary and there is no need to do such a thing,” he said, as incidents of teachers hitting students were “isolated and rare”, while the largest problem of violence in schools stemmed from youngsters hitting each other.
Koulermos hailed a recommendation to set up a committee dealing exclusively with school and teacher complaints saying at the moment, although the education ministry offers such services, they are shared across two or three departments requiring a lot of coordination and take too long.
“A committee staffed with psychologists and anything else deemed necessary to coordinate and resolve problems efficiently and on time, would be ideal.”
Phylactou, on the other hand, said several mechanisms are in place to combat such problems. However they are severely understaffed and the ministry needed to get their act together to resolve the issue.
Both Koulermos and Phylactou saw eye to eye in setting up a training programme both for teachers and students on how to handle difficult situations and improve the relations between the two.
The teachers union head said in the present age it was harder to obtain a driver’s licence than become a parent because at least for the former individuals undergo tests.
“Educating parents in various ways will positively contribute to the goals education aims to reach, building a stable communication bridge between family and school.”