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Deputies discuss ways of making state scholarships fairer

scholarships

Confusion reigned the house education committee on Wednesday as deputies discussed state scholarships for university study, with the vague aim of making them fairer.

The possibility of amending the legislation governing state scholarships was also explored with deputies saying they would look at the issue again in September.

Sokratis Frangou, deputy director of the Cyprus state scholarship foundation (Ikyp), argued that proposals to add quotas could undermine the programme and have the unintended consequence of exacerbating inequalities instead of reducing them.

He also explained that about 30 per cent of students failed to complete their studies, which meant that those funds remain untapped were are not properly allocated to those in need.

Committee chair, and Diko  deputy, Pavlos Mylonas stressed that absolutely no decision can be taken which would lead to money being reduced from the scholarship pot and being funneled to civil servants.

It was reported that Ikyp’s budget reached about €8.8m, with Yiorgos Skalias, the unit’s chief, calling for the articles which have already been agreed upon to be finalised. He further stated that the unit’s requests should also be processed so that they, too, can be approved.

It is expected that the scholarship unit will submit its counter-proposals by September, prior to the vote on the bills.

But Akel MP Christos Christofides raised concerns that the amended legislation could pass without addressing important issues. He referenced requests which seek the inclusion of another three categories for the eligibility of scholarships, namely distance learning, part-time learning and professional certifications.

In comments made to reporters after the meeting, Christofides added that there will have to be a separate programme and an increase in the funds so that all students who are truly in need can be covered.

Diko deputy Chrysanthos Savvides said that the law was being modernised to support students and help achieve equality in education.

It remained unclear, who the new legislation aimed to help, although Mylonas ruled out the idea of scholarships being given to civil servants.

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