Technical and vocational programmes on wine and cheesemaking will be on offer for secondary school students as of September in the Omodos community, education minister Costas Hambiaouris said on Thursday.
Speaking from Omodos, where he met community leaders and local entrepreneurs, Hambiaouris said: “We are initiating the operation of two sectors of technical education, winemaking and cheesemaking, in cooperation with the local authorities and entrepreneurs, who have their own wineries and cheese factories in the area.”
The aim of the initiative is to support the rural communities but also to link education with the labour market, Hambiaouris added, noting that through such policies the interest among children in a technical education has risen from 15 per cent to 22 per cent.
Hambiaouris said the two programmes would be ready by the end of May so that the students can begin their studies in September.
Omodos community leader, Evgenios Michail, referred to Thursday’s visit by the education minister as “historic”, noting that the request for such a programme was made roughly ten days ago on the sidelines of a school event that was attended by Hambiaouris.
Michail added that beyond Omodos, a total of 25 rural communities would benefit from these programmes.
According to the head of secondary technical education Elias Markadjis the idea centres around the need for education programmes to be located as close as possible to where the students live, especially those in remote areas, and to offer programmes that provide the children with knowledge and skills that fit the particular needs of each area.
The two programmes will be hosted in the premises of the existing secondary school in Omodos, which will be turned into a mixed school for secondary and technical education similar to the one in Polis Chrysochous,
“It’s important to offer education to the residents of the area, not so they can complete their studies and leave, but so that they can stay in their area and develop it,” Markadjis said.