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Cyprus Education

House committee divided over Disy’s Enosis proposal

The House education committee chairman said on Wednesday that a ruling Disy amendment putting the education minister in control of issues such as whether schools should commemorate the 1950 Enosis (union with Greece) referendum was not a matter of priority.

Disy had tabled the amendment in the wake of last month’s controversial parliamentary vote that public schools should mark the 1950 referendum.

The chairman, Disy MP Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis, was equally downbeat over proposals from Diko, Citizens Alliance, and far right Elam about the inclusion of Turkish Cypriot literature on the curriculum.

“We are not abolishing, when we should have, particular bank holidays or some other two-period, three-period celebrations,” he said. “We are studying all these at present, looking at all the aspects based on our initial law proposal … We will leave it open for consultation and when we are ready, we will see the committee programme, and will discuss the proposal.”

It could go to plenum if they manage to garner a majority, he added.

Replying to a question, Hadjiyiannis said the Disy proposal and those by Diko, the Alliance, and Elam concerning Turkish Cypriot literature, were not priority issues.

Following an article in daily Politis on Tuesday that the issue concerning Turkish Cypriot literature could further harm relations between the two communities following the freeze in reunification talks after parliament approved Elam’s proposal to introduce a commemoration of the Enosis referendum, Akel said it did not back the move.

Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou said Disy was regressing “and moving on dangerous nationalist paths”.

The MP said Disy held the committee chair and had cosigned or consented to the submission of subjects that did not serve the country’s proclaimed political goals.

“First, they imposed compulsory teaching of ancient Greek and religious studies despite the education minister’s different intention and against international and European treaties for the protection of the rights of children,” Georgiou said.

After that, they submitted for discussion the inclusion of Turkish Cypriot literature in the syllabus.

Diko MP Panicos Leonidou, who had backed registering the issue along with Elam and the Citizens Alliance, said on Wednesday that he did so after receiving many complaints from parents who were against their children being taught Turkish Cypriots literature.

“My intention was not imposing censorship or having them removed, nor to cause tension in our relations with the Turkish Cypriots,” Leonidou said.

On the contrary, he said, just as students read international and European literature, they should also read Turkish Cypriot, even Turkish literary texts.

His aim, he said, was to make sure that the texts of Turkish Cypriot authors taught in schools, “do not create racism, and problems between the two communities”.

“If this would cause more damage to the talks, of course, we will have to recall the discussion and have a private meeting with the minister instead for a briefing,” he said.


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