Almost 15 per cent of public school students are non-Greek speakers and frequently disrupt the educational programme of local students, chairman of the House education committee Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis said on Wednesday.
He said that changes to the system of integrating foreign students are already under way.
“A large number of foreign-language students are joining our schools, which is burdening the educational programme of schools as a result,” Hadjiyiannis told members of the committee.
Under the current system, foreign-language students, including migrant and refugee children, are included in the mainstream programme followed by local children of their age, and are given extra Greek language classes on the side.
“We fully respect our obligation to offer these children the right to education, and as such it should be ensured,” Hadjiyiannis said, “but we must organise our educational system so that we can achieve the best results for all children, both local and foreign.”
The education ministry is already preparing a series of programmes which will be implemented in the next academic year, Hadjiyiannis added.
Among these are induction courses which foreign students will first follow to learn the Greek language and the culture of Cypriot society before being admitted into the main educational programme with other local students.
“At the same time, the weight of foreign students should be more equally distributed among schools. Some schools cannot continue to be transformed into foreign student schools only, just because local students from certain areas have shown more inclusive behaviours,” Hadjiyiannis said.