Cyprus Mail

UCy rector calls MPs ‘incompetent and blind’

UCy rector Constantinos Christofides

THE outgoing members of parliament are petty, incompetent and blind governors, University of Cyprus rector Constantinos Christofides said on Friday, a day after deputies failed to vote on a bill that would allow private school students to get their foot into state universities.

Instead, it was left to the new parliament to deal with after the current House, elected in 2011, was dissolved on Thursday to prepare for new elections on May 22.

Christofides held nothing back saying “the political system cares more about the next elections and not the next generation” as yet again, the deputies’ decision meant “the door of opportunity for private school students to study for free in their home country was slammed in their face.”

Speaking on state radio, he said all parties except AKEL had been supportive of the bill. “This is a matter discussed since 2007. It’s been some nine years, yet on Thursday they said it hasn’t been discussed enough to go to the plenum.”

All “to protect some people’s tutorial schools,” he said.

This decision will set the Cypriot economy back by some €40m as yet another generation of students will opt to go abroad for their higher education, Christofides said.

It’s important, he noted, to see how they disappointed the students again “and then we wonder why so few go to register to vote.”

Nevertheless, UCy will not sit with its hands crossed but is actually working on a ‘plan B’ to legally allow private school graduates a way in without the Pancyprian state entrance exams.

It will be unveiled within the next few days.

Christofides told the Cyprus Mail that he will reveal the plan once it was finalised as the university’s legal advisors are currently working on it.

The plan will be within the framework of the law.

“The UCy is an autonomous organisation,” he said.

The head of the national federation of private school parents associations, Nicos Shiarlis, said parliament’s decision was saddening but “as a matter of principle we won’t leave it” and will continue to fight.

“We don’t have the same interests that those not pushing it forward have.”

This was the first time the education ministry “had the strength” to make a new bill encompassing private school students, he added.

Pancyprian examinations are seen “for some reason as the sacred cow,” Shiarlis said, and are stitched and sowed to suit public schools.

In February, the cabinet approved a bill which provides alternative exams for any student to take, organised by the two state universities, but which will be supervised by the ministry’s exams service.

Students can also opt to sit for the Pancyprian exams while all will have to pass a Greek language exam.

As this was not voted for in parliament, it leaves another tranche of private school graduates twiddling their thumbs to find out if they can get into UCy or not in September.

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