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Cyprus Education

Teachers to protest vote on new appointment system

Primary school teachers’ union Poed said on Thursday it would organise a protest outside parliament on Friday during the House plenum to demand the postponement of the vote of the new appointment system.

The union threatened “drastic reaction measures” in the event the plenum approves the amendments filed by the education ministry. Poed wants the new system to be put on hold until the ministry provides a definite answer as to the union’s demand to grant open-ended contracts to all teachers who have been working as temps or substitutes for more than 30 months.

Poed urged all parliamentary parties to support its proposal for the postponement for a year the introduction of the new appointment system to give time “for a substantial dialogue and find solutions” to ensure that everyone who has completed more than 30 months of service to receive open-ended contracts.

The union invited its members to gather outside the parliament in the morning. Poed’s board is to convene on Friday to discuss the possibility of taking drastic measures, depending on the outcome of the vote.

Earlier in the month Attorney-general Costas Clerides withdrew an appeal he had filed over a court decision recognising the right of contract teachers who have worked in state schools for more than 30 months to obtain open-ended contracts.

The court decision had prompted 350 teachers to demand open-ended contracts from the education ministry, and Clerides withdrew his appeal after Education Minister Costas Kadis intervened on the grounds that more consultation was needed.

The legal services had appealed the decision, but withdrew the appeal because of warnings from Poed that the state needs to sort out the labour issues surrounding contract teachers before introducing a new, merit-based appointment system, or risk chaos.

The government, the union had said, will either have to compensate those who will be awarded open-ended contracts, or fire some of those who will be appointed through the new system.

Under a law passed last year, from September 2018 until August 31, 2027,  some 50 per cent of appointments will be made from waiting lists and 50 per cent according to the new system. From September 2027, onward all appointments will be made based on merit.

The new system will take into consideration each candidate’s exam results, their university degree grade, additional academic qualifications and teaching experience.

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