While the government condemned Thursday’s strike by secondary school pupils Akel defended their actions on Friday.
Yet again the students protested against four-monthly exams which will be introduced for those currently in the first grade of lyceum. The first exams are expected to take place from December 9 to December 19.
While President Anastasiades lamented the intervention of parties which attempt to guide student youth at the expense of education, opposition party Akel was quick to refute his comments.
“I regret to note that even the student movement is involved and wants to set policies. To determine when, how and where they will be examined. Unthinkable. Unfortunately, the interventions of the parties that determine or guide or want to guide the student youth are to the detriment of education. At some point the children will realise it, but it will be too late because it will take some years for them to realise that the endless partisanship and interventions in the affairs of education are not beneficial for our country,” the President said.
It is not only, he continued, what the parents want, nor what the students expect, but what the government wants as well.
The state determines the policies, following the advice of educators “who know much better than us politicians”, he added.
“President Anastasiades, once again spoke about manipulated students,” Akel MP Giorgos Loucaides said.
“This is not the first time Mr Anastasiades has underestimated and depreciated students. And at the same time, he underestimates and disparages teachers, also describing them as being led by parties.
“Apparently those who disagree with him and the anti-pedagogical measures taken by his government are according to him time party-driven.”
Loucaides said the overwhelming majority are against the Anastasiades government’s “anti-education measures” and are staging the “most massive protests in education since the founding of the Republic”.
“We urge Mr Anastasiades to abandon his authoritarian and obsolete practices when dealing with those who disagree with the government policy and to show more respect for the democratic functioning of institutions as well as more respect for students and teachers,” he concluded.
Less than 50 per cent of secondary school pupils took part in the strike on Thursday, most of them students of lyceums, ministry of education representative Spyros Antonellos said on Friday.
Antonellos commented that the students’ protest was unnecessary as the ministry is moving forward with the exams following the approved law.