The education ministry on Thursday said it has drawn up a plan to overhaul the schooling experience of migrant children, aimed at better induction and smoother integration.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said the composition of Cyprus’ student body has changed significantly in recent years and continues to do so at a fast pace – across all levels of education.
As the government’s policy is to ensure the reception and smooth integration of such students into public schools, the ministry said, the core precondition for that to succeed is learning Greek and getting the children up to speed with the social and cultural framework.
The main thrust of the ministry’s proposals is to ensure that all students pass and obtain the necessary Greek language levels according to their age group.
That includes end of year targets which must be reached, namely passing the B1 level in primary school and B2 in secondary school. Those who are unable to reach that provision must undergo extra schooling during the summer.
It has been further proposed that every student who does not have Greek as their native language will be assessed upon their first entry to school – evaluating the level of extra teaching which may be required. Those who do require added assistance will attend specialised transitional classes, some of which will take place in the afternoon.
Reaching the required level of Greek is to be mandatory and students will not be able to avoid the specialised classes until they have passed the test. There is a further consideration that such grading be part of the graduation certificate – acting as an added incentive to do well.
Elsewhere, the ministry acknowledged that there are hurdles in being able to communicate with the families of some students and will therefore prepare information packs in the main languages from which students have a migration background.
The ministry reiterated that each student’s academic profile is now digitally accessible.
Highlighting that the overhaul is a pressing matter, the ministry emphasised that 90 per cent of such students upon their initial evaluation had a grade lower than B1, during the academic year of 2020-2021. The year previous the rate was at 92 per cent, and the year prior to that was 83 per cent.
The announcement concluded that the proposals will be put to cabinet and if necessary to a vote in parliament.