The education ministry on Friday denied claims by parents earlier this week that several children with special needs have yet to go to school this year due to lack of escorts.
It said that any child who was still at home was because the parents had questioned decisions taken by school district committees over the schooling proposed for them or the level of support offered.
The ministry said some parents wanting to have a say as to who would be their child’s escort had meant some children were still at home.
Cabinet will convene next Wednesday to discuss further increasing posts for school escorts for children in need of support. The education ministry said that it had made the due arrangements for the hiring of 60 escorts for this school year based on needs submitted by all school district committees last month.
It acknowledged, however, that problems have arisen due to extraordinary needs, resulting from new registrations, transfers, mainly for relocation purposes, new referrals as well as objections to decisions of school district committees. Consultations are taking place with the finance ministry to increase escort posts.
The ministry reiterated that it had signed an agreement last March with the EU’s Structural Reform Support Service for the preparation of a study on the existing support system for special education and for suggestions for a new policy and legal framework.
It added that experts of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education that met this year with all stakeholders in Cyprus will be back next month with preliminary observations for another round of consultations before submitting their final suggestions.
The education ministry is also in consultations with the finance ministry over the possibility of hiring 20 more educational psychologists to further support the special education school district committees.