The ministry of education is going to set up an independent central agency which will manage school exams as well as job appointments and promotions in the state sector, Education Minister Costas Kadis confirmed on Tuesday.
“The independence of the examination office will be studied in the context of the modernisation of the structure of the ministry of education and culture,” the minister said after a cabinet meeting.
“The service is currently under the Department of Higher and Tertiary Education and because of the validity it acquired over the years, no one disputes either the procedures or the validity of the exams,” he said.
The new body, Kadis said, would take over the exams under the new teacher appointment system, and also the exams for the appointment and promotion of civil servants.
“Thus, it will acquire an enhanced role and this role will be seen through the new organisational structure of the ministry in which the examination office is to have an independent structure, not covered by any service, and it will be directly reporting to the general directorate of the ministry,” he said.
He expressed the view that the proposal for the reorganisation of the ministry would be submitted to the cabinet within the next two months.
At the moment, the higher education department of the ministry deals with 90 to 95 per cent of the workload. It organises the Pancyprian examinations – the high school leaving certificate – and deals with entrance examinations to Cypriot and Greek universities.
It is also already involved with appointments and promotions in the public sector, though not in all cases. There is a big demand for such positions.
Recently, there have been as many as 7,500 applications for 20 open positions, a source at the ministry confirmed, adding that this was the rule and not the exception. It has been estimated that the first written exam for prospective teachers which will be held in the period September-December 2017 may attract more than 47,000 people.
Due to the number of people who apply, it may be necessary to use additional buildings and hire more personnel, but this is not yet clear, according to the ministry. “This plan is in the early stages, we are having first thoughts. There are a lot of people and negotiations involved,” a spokesman said.