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‘We’re sending a clear message’: students protest over exams (videos) (Updated)

Students on the march on thursday (Christos Theodorides)

Hundreds of students on Thursday skipped school to participate in a mass protest which closed several main roads in Nicosia to demand the abolition of the new four-monthly exam system.

Organised by student group Psem, which claimed around two thousand students from different towns took part, the young protesters marched along Athalassa avenue down to the Presidential Palace demanding a say in recent educational reform which saw the introduction of regular exams in the first year of lyceum.

“With today’s mass protest, we are sending a clear message that we want a well-rounded education and not an exam centre,” Yiannis Lapithios head of Psem said in his speech.

“We do not want the previous system” he said, “We fight for a humane and democratic school … which develops critical thought.”

A delegation of students had a meeting with the deputy minister to the president Vasili Palma, and submitted a petition with their views.

Psem said students are completely opposed to the regular 90-minute exams and demand alternative examination methods.

“The legislation must change so exams will not take place in December,” Lapithios said in his statements to the media.

“We can receive criticism and suggestions, but we have some red lines that cannot be crossed.”

Lapithios claimed parents are supporting their children’s demands for changes to the education system.

“We will continue with more drastic measures,” Psem’s head added “until they realise we do not bargain with our future.”

For his part, Palmas thanked the students and encouraged them to keep fighting for what they think is justified.

But he added that the government’s aim was to make changes for the public good.

The new exam system was introduced as a pilot-run for first year lyceum students last December.

The avenue of the Presidential Palace remained closed during the protest, while some secondary roads in junction with Strovolos and Athalassa avenue were also affected.

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