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State school teachers outraged over university move to accept private school students

File photo of the University of Cyprus

Teaching unions were in uproar on Thursday over a decision allowing private school graduates to obtain a place in state universities Tepak and the University of Cyprus (UCy) using the results of their international exams rather than taking the state Pancyprian examinations.

The decision is a temporary one, valid for the academic year beginning in 2019 – 2020, and can only be utilised by private school students in cases when there are places which have not been allocated elsewhere.

An announcement signed by three teaching unions Oelmek, Poed and Oltek said the decision violated the principles of equality and undermined the public school system, calling on anyone they could – the minister of education, the government as a whole – to intervene and stop any student getting a place at Tepak or UCy based on their international exam results.

Should the universities not go back on their decision, the unions will react with their own measures, they said in a statement, calling on the attorney general to assess the legality of the announcement by Tepak and UCy.

The unions also said they would ask for the House education committee to immediately convene to discuss the matter.

Their issue lies not in the fact that private school students get what seats may be left over but that the students may get accepted into the universities without sitting the Pancyprian exams.

The unions are opposed to any form of acceptance into state universities other than the Pancyprian examinations for students who have graduated from Cyprus.

The row stemmed from an announcement earlier this week outlining that Tepak and UCy will be accepting applications for this academic year for students which graduated from private schools, using the results of their international exams such as GCEs or International Βaccalaureate.

Should the universities not rescind their decision, unions will decide on measures as a reaction, their announcement said, calling Tepak’s and UCy’s move as “arbitrary and illegal” saying this contributed to privatising Cypriot education.

“The two state universities are duty bound and have the ethical responsibility to offer all available seats to the students which followed the law and took the Pancyprian exams,” the unions said. Not following this undermines the public school system


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