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Cyprus Education

Teaching union should be ashamed says parents’ leader

How going back to school used to look

THE HEAD of the Parents Associations for secondary schools Kyriakos Nikiforou on Tuesday lambasted the leaderships of teaching unions for announcing work stoppages next week, saying they should be ashamed.

“I am afraid with their actions they put public schools on difficult path,” he told Trito radio show on Tuesday morning. “I am really sorry for the children, as well as the parents, but they should also be ashamed to lead their colleagues to strikes which cause them to lose money when the union leaders themselves had agreed to the measures (about four-monthly exams).”

On Monday secondary teachers’ union Oelmek announced that its members would go on a one-hour work stoppage on September 25 for which they cited four reasons: the planned four-monthly exams, the need to install more air conditioning in class-rooms, their discontent over pension plans and staff shortages at schools.

“They [the teachers] themselves had agreed with the student assessment, and by mutual agreement we went to Parliament to pass this regulation, and now they find a thousand reasons why it is not going to work and try to block it,” Nikiforou said.

He was referring to the compromise deal, brokered by a Diko deputy, that envisaged the by-stages introduction of four-monthly exams and that the leadership of the secondary school teachers’ union Oelmek had accepted.

Nikiforou also commented on the lack of air conditioners in classrooms, saying that it was not something that could be tackled from one day to another.

“But now that some action has started to be taken, they decide to go on strike,” he said.

“Now they remember they should go on strike? Whom are they kidding? Themselves, the people, the students. What is being done is tiring. If they want changes we sit down and make them. I think the leadership of Oelmek should think again.”

Meanwhile, the primary school teachers also announced the staging of a work stoppage.

The board of the primary teachers’ union Poed decided to announce a one-hour strike on September 23 to express their disapproval of the way the eduction ministry had handled parent interventions at schools. Poed was angered by the education ministry giving in to parents’ demands for the removal of head teacher from a primary school in Polis.

Oelmek is backed by the secondary schools student union Psem which on Tuesday called on students to boycott classes in the third and fourth period of Thursday to protest against the implementation of four-monthly exams.

The union, made up of teenagers, warned it had repeatedly opposed the “criminal measure of examinations every four months”, a declared it would not allow them to be implemented.

“In this fight we also have the support of our teachers who are also fighting against the introduction of additional exams,” the announcement said.

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