Primary school teachers trade union Poed on Thursday reiterated calls for additional permanent positions, saying reliance on a large number of contract teachers creates a series of unnecessary educational and labour problems.

In a statement carried by the Cyprus News Agency, Poed said that the large increase in the number of contract teachers for primary, special and pre-primary education confirmed the urgent need to increase the number of permanent posts.

Using contract teachers obstructs the timely staffing of schools, mainly because of the time needed to appoint them, Poed said. Moreover, the uncertainty which comes with working on a contract for many years leads to job insecurity and stress, it added.

The biggest problem appears to lie with special education where contract teachers are more than 50 per cent of all special education teachers.

Specifically, from a total of 1,050 teachers working in special education, 550 of them are non-permanent contract teachers, it said.

Poed said increasing the number of permanent positions will lead to a sharp drop in the contract teachers, without additional costs for the state.

The union also called for an increase in the number of posts for school heads and deputy heads in pre-primary education, saying that currently dozens of nursery schools are understaffed.

Despite verbal assurances from the education ministry acknowledging the issue, it has so far failed to act.

It urged the ministry to move quickly so as to avoid a disturbance in education.