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High school students stage two hour walk out

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Students across the island staged a two hour walk out on Friday, co-ordinated by student group Psem to protest plans by the education ministry to implement twice-yearly exams from the next academic year.

While the students said they want to pursue a real and meaningful dialogue, the ministry of education on Thursday asked the students to change their minds and to continue the dialogue “which has been held today in a great climate, with positive results”.

Psem insists there were no such results.

“Yesterday we were told that if we did not withdraw the current measures we would have the sole responsibility for any failure of the dialogue that is in progress,” head of Psem Panayiotis Georgiou said.
The students warned if the ministry does not change its decision they will take more action. They will have a meeting next week to decide what to do next.

Over the past three school years, the group said, it has often expressed its disagreement with twice-yearly exams with notices, resolutions, abstentions, referendums, signatures and protests.

“As mentioned before, we do not want exam centres for schools, or schools centred on competition and individualism,” the group said. “We want a school that offers a well-rounded education.”

Psem said that the education ministry has not listened to its views during a meeting on Thursday, which is why they decided to insist on the walk out.

Initially, the government had announced plans to implement twice-yearly exams in the current school year, which stirred heavy opposition from parent and student groups.

In October last year, the government announced it would postpone for a year the introduction of the exams in secondary state schools following the opposition, though remained adamant the changes would be implemented as of September 2019.

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