IF THE FEW hundred students who walked out of state schools at noon yesterday were on the streets to celebrate the shortening of military service it would have been understandable. But the reason they had left their schools – to protest against an education ministry plan to introduce exams every four months – was anything but understandable. There is no other country in the world in which it is considered a reasonable practice for teenage children to have a say in how the education system should be run,
We have written about the lunacy of school-children unionism on many occasions in this space, joking that before long the kids would be demanding the abolition of exams. They have not gone that far yet, but they are getting there given yesterday’s protest. They actually believe they have the right to veto ministry plans for exams twice a year and keep the system of finals, because this is what suits them. Of course it is not the fault of the teenagers that we are witnessing this lunacy, but of ‘our grown-up’ and responsible rulers who in government and the political parties have taken the idea consensus to an absurd extreme.
It is the adults, with their foolish populism and misguided idea about so-called consensus, that have given say on educational policy to kids that the law does not even allow to vote. How rational is it to have teenagers that are considered too immature to vote to dictate state education policy? Behind this lunacy is the AKEL-promoted idea of consensus which supposedly promotes democracy but it is in effect a devious way of giving unions and interest groups a say in government decisions, which they should not have because they are not accountable to voters. And as all unions have a say in education policy, how could a union of teenagers be excluded from the decision-making?
Education Minister Costas Kadis should also take a share of the blame for this situation. Yesterday morning he was telling a radio show that he could not understand the reaction of the students as he had a meeting with them and explained the government’s thinking; he also complained that some of the local branches of the student union had not attended the meeting. What hope is there when the minister consults teenagers about education policy and complains that they did not attend a meeting? This is democracy gone mad.
Kadis also complained yesterday that AKEL had instigated the protests because it controlled some union branches, but he had no right to do so as nobody forced him to consult the teenagers. AKEL has an agenda – to impose the union mentality on people from an early age – and Kadis, by having dealings with the children, is helping it pursue this.