Cyprus Mail

Teachers meet president over education spat

President Nicos Anastasiades is holding talks with teacher unions on Thursday in a last-ditch effort to avert a strike and other measures announced by state educators following their discontent over a cabinet decision abolishing a number of benefits.

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou had said on Wednesday that teachers would hear proposals during the meeting with Anastasiades that might satisfy them.

The dialogue with Poed, Oelmek and Oltek, was relaunched on Wednesday afternoon when unions had separate meetings with Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris after the first round led to a dead end.

This is the second time Anastasiades has intervened since teaching unions came out strongly against the abolition of exemptions from teaching time in lieu of extracurricular activities and seniority reasons, following the cabinet decision last month.

Teachers submitted to the minister on Wednesday a joint document with their remarks on his latest letter sent to them last week.

In their letter, the unions told Hambiaouris that the data presented to them in last week’s memo were inaccurate and misleading and did not present the real picture of the education system. The memo, unions said “is obviously trying to present a fictitious and clearly negative image of the teachers.”

In his memo, Hambiaouris had presented disappointing data on the level of public education compared to high teacher salaries, fewer working hours than the EU average and higher total expenditure on education.

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