Cyprus Mail

Schools on target for extra security says minister

Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris

A large percentage of schools have already placed fences around their premises as part of the government programme to improve security in schools, Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris said on Monday.

Speaking after a visit to schools to monitor progress he said he was confident all but three to five per cent of the fencing would be completed by Septembe.

Hambiaouris visited the Apostle Varnavas lyceum, the Ayios Vassileos primary school and the Ayios Stylianos gymnasium in Strovolos in the morning.

He said the safety and health of the students is a priority, and by the end of August most of the fencing should be finished.

“We have almost completed the project with beautiful enclosures that give a sense of security without sending messages that schools are prisons,” he said.

According to Hambiaouris, head of the school district board Dinos Ellinas informed him earlier that about 65 to 70 per cent of schools are completed, 20 to 25 per cent are nearly completed and four to five per cent remain. There are some problems in schools in remote locations which will be supported by the technical services, the health ministry and the school board.

“I certainly hope that around 95 to 97 per cent will be completed by the end of August after the information I got from Mr Ellinas,” said Hambiaouris.

The said where funds were lacking, the ministry would make up the difference.

“We have been told that tenders were issued but the original funding was not enough and we have increased the funds and have covered all the costs,” he noted.

Fencing the schools is one of three new safety measures for public schools which were approved in October 2018 by the cabinet.

The first measure concerns the issuing of a card which will enable the entrance and exit of individuals authorised to collect students during school hours.

The second security measure concerns the fencing off of schools and the installation of intercoms, while the third measure concerns the placing of guards in kindergartens and primary schools from 7am to 8am.

The need to upgrade security in public schools was highlighted in September last year, when a man walked into a primary school in Larnaca pretending to be a teacher and convinced two 11-year-old boys to follow him. The man later said he was planning to hold the boys to ransom.

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