The education ministry is ready for the new school year, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Tuesday.
Speaking after an event held at the ministry for Cypriot athletes, Prodromou told reporters that everything seems to be ready for the start of the school year, with work on school facilities underway.
Some schools are being handed over, while work has started on others, he said, explaining that several projects are scheduled for 20 to 25 schools out of 700 during the school year.
According to a written announcement by the ministry since the beginning of 2022 and for the duration of the school year 2022-2023, projects were either completed or are due to be completed in 17 schools, with a total cost of €11.1 million.
Among the completed projects is the restoration of Pancyprian Gymnasium, which cost €6.6 million, as well as the construction of a new kindergarten for Paphos, and other smaller scale projects.
In addition, infrastructure projects are scheduled for 25 schools with costs amounting to €27.9 million.
“July and August, which are summer vacation months for most, are always a period of intensive work for the ministry of education,” Prodromou said.
The first order of business is to get staffing sorted by the beginning of September, an important step the ministry has been taking in recent years, he said, explaining that procedures are being expedited to make sure no time is wasted and the year begins smoothly.
Prodromou also mentioned his ministry’s plans to expand state-provided free pre-school education for children from the age of four, which it hopes to implement in the following school year 2023-2024.
He said however that from this year, children can be registered for pre-school from the age of four and a half, which will gradually be lowered to four and four months, and finally just four years old.
The minister added that primary school pupils will be tested from early on to detect any learning difficulties and beyond.
“The advice we have is that the earlier we know the data, the characteristics of the student population, the better we can deal with needs and any existing problems”.
Mentioning twice-yearly exams, Prodromou said the evaluation system will be extended to lower secondary schools as well, alongside a set of changes for special education.
These will include new teaching and evaluation procedures regarding the familiarisation with the language and elements of social and cultural integration for pupils with a migration history.
Lastly, Prodromou said his ministry is implementing a pilot programme for the use of air purifiers in 100 classrooms, with positive results, pointing out these are portable devices and don’t require any infrastructural intervention.
To this he added that his ministry is in constant communicaton with the health ministry with regards to any measures decided around the pandemic.
Asked about textbooks, the minister said that they will be sent to schools and distributed as scheduled, like every year.
“Our hope is to continue with the innovations that we are trying to introduce with new methods. The ultimate goal is a ‘multi-book’, but also the creation of digital books, which can enrich the pedagogical tools that our teachers can use”.