Cyprus Mail

Private-school students excluded from police exams

File photo: New recruits at the police academy

Students who graduated from private schools have been excluded from sitting the police entry exams scheduled to take place on Saturday for allegedly not speaking Greek well enough.

The problem, though stemming from a technicality, was exacerbated after police did not comply with a letter from the ombudswoman’s office saying this was unlawful.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail on Friday, Despina Koni from the ombudswoman’s office which dealt with the case, said they had received a complaint from two applicants who had graduated from a private school, after they were told they could not sit the exams.

According to Koni, when police announced the job openings, the specifications outlined applicants needed to have “good knowledge of the Greek language.”

Citing the public service commission circular 246, she said that proof of ‘good knowledge’ of Greek could be proven by either passing specific exams held twice a year by the education ministry or by having a GCE O level Modern Greek with a minimum grade of C.

The fault however, lay with police for not specifying that applicants needed to show these certificates, Koni said. “The government gazette, for the past two years, says job openings are required to specify what qualifications they require.”

By the time the applicants were informed they needed to provide these documents, it was too late, she added, as the next education ministry exam is in July – too late for Saturday’s police exams.

Akel MP Irini Charalambidou sent a letter to the justice ministry asking that anyone excluded from these exams for this reason, should be allowed to take them.

The request was echoed in a letter send by the office of the ombudswoman to police outlining that as they had been the ones that had not specified their requirements, the students should be allowed to sit the exam.

This was evidently not followed through as the two applicants were not contacted.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said the recruitment board had rejected the recommendation from the ombudswoman’s office and “the position of the board is that they followed standard procedure and the law.”

“This has always been how job openings were announced.”

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