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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Will the kids take over? Radical, nonsensical ideas for education

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EVERY few years someone decides it is time to make a fuss about the corruption and sleaze plaguing the government’s Service for the Administration of Turkish Cypriot Properties. Although outrage is sparked by revelations nothing is ever done to properly clean things up and the issue resurfaces in some form a few years later.

In its current reincarnation, the corruption at the service relates to employees who have apparently been exploiting huge expanses of Turkish Cypriot properties, either personally or through close relatives. Often, they sub-let these properties or land to third parties who are ineligible to use them. Sixteen of the service’s 70 employees are exploiting TC properties, it was reported.

This time, it was Akel deputy and president of the House refugees committee Nikos Kettyros who made the fuss after the committee heard that a public employee’s family held and exploited huge tracts of TC land in Paphos. Kettryros wrote to the service six months ago asking for the names of the service’s employees and their relatives in possession of TC land and properties but has still to receive an answer.

One of the reasons he has yet to receive an answer, according to a report in Politis, is that some of the service’s employees cite protection of personal data as an excuse for not giving their names and those of their relatives making money from TC properties. In Kyproulla even corruption is covered by the protection of personal data.

 

SUCCESSIVE governments have consistently failed to clean up the service and end the corruption in the administering of the TC properties, even though they all have half-heartedly tried to do so.

In 2018, the government adopted measures to ensure transparency and public accountability, by publishing all the TC properties available for those eligible. But this measure shed no light on the thousands of properties that were handed out before the new measures.

Now, apparently the interior ministry, which has the service under its authority, is working on updating the legislation by setting criteria for concessions and even sub-letting. It has taken 48 years, and for all the properties to have been handed out, for the law to be tightened.

In five years it will be revealed that the updated law is not being enforced by the service and that the government will take action to tighten the law.

Meanwhile Phed Express raised the ante last weekend, by claiming there was a mega-ton scandal regarding TC land in Mandria in the Paphos district. He did not give names, but he was referring to a supermarket owned by a refugee that was located on a big piece of TC land in Mandria and was subsequently leased to a big supermarket chain that is not owned by refugees.

We await the Phed Express to deliver the names involved in the mega-ton scandal.

 

THE FIRST instalment of the Diko candidate’s election programme was delivered last week, and it was about “people-centric education” which was introduced with the customary hot air generalisations he specialises in.

“The programme constitutes a live document and a dynamic process that will be enriched within the framework of two-way communication with society and the constantly changing socio-economic environment,” said an announcement.

He will “invest in experiential learning and in participatory teaching with the aim of developing skills and the cultivation of critical and creative spirit, freeing students of the process of rote learning, promoting the decongestion and restructuring of analytical programmes.”

Does participatory teaching mean that kids will be taking over from the teachers?

 

AN EVEN more idiotic idea than the participatory teaching, was the “upgrading and strengthening of the institution of professional orientation from the sixth grade of primary school, with the aim of the correct and targeted choice of direction by students based on their capabilities and also the needs of the economy and the labour market.”

What sort of idiot thinks that a kid of 11 or 12 is ready to choose professional orientation? At that age most boys want to become footballers. Perhaps Nikos Christodoulides knew that he wanted to become president when he was 11, but most normal kids have no clue what they want to be at that age.

What if they enjoy participatory teaching so much they will all want to become teachers when they grow up? How will that cater for the needs of the economy?

 

OUR LACK of perspective reared its pretty head again last week after some authoritarian headmaster at a Larnaca gymnasium gave a two-day suspension to 50 kids, on their first day back to school, for their inappropriate appearance.

This became the big story of the day as the local parents’ association, the confederation of parents’ associations, the ultra-sensitive commissioner for the protection of the rights of children, student groups and, of course, Akel all condemned the headmaster and his anti-pedagogical actions.

Akel, renowned for its liberalism, accused the education minister, who had nothing to do with the suspensions, of being backward and seeing schools as army camps. Commissioner Despo Michaelidou likened the head’s actions to those in Greece during the dictatorship.

They all demanded an investigation into this outrage, reminding that, a few months ago, the same head had not allowed five boys to attend their graduation because of their inappropriate hairstyle.

In the end, faced with this hysteria and accusations that the kids had been traumatised because they had not been welcomed to school with love, as Michaelidou had wanted, the education ministry cut the suspensions from two days to one.

 

peaky blinders season 6 cr: robert viglasky/netflix
Abomination: the hairstyles on Peaky Blinders

HAVING recently defected to the grumpy old men club, I have to express a certain admiration for the Larnaca headmaster for swimming against the tide, strictly enforcing school rules and giving the two-fingered salute to the moral majority that believe kids must be treated like little princes.

And can you blame him for objecting to the horrific ‘Peaky Blinders’ hairstyle that has been the fashion for young males in the last few years? I refer to the shaved back and sides with the rug of hair on top, which in Greek, I found out from a radio presenter, is known as a ‘kapellaki’ (small hat).

It is an abomination, and I fully sympathise with the headmaster taking a tough line against it. Hopefully, the education ministry will issue a directive to all schools, private and public, banning the ‘kapellaki’, declaring it an inappropriate hairstyle for students.

One question for the Larnaca head. The two-day suspension for the rug-head boys would not have been enough time for the shaved hair to grow, so when they returned to school and their appearance was still inappropriate, what would he have done?

 

OLDER students can go into university with a rug-head, but they face another problem, about which they have been whining for weeks. Rents for one-bedroom flats are unaffordable, especially in Limassol, and their relentless whining has prompted caring deputies to discuss the problem at the House interior committee.

Akel had been ranting about it for weeks, slamming the government for not enacting legislation that would allow the placing of ceilings on rents and for not increasing student grants, while opposition deputies castigated the “indifference of the state.”

The sense of entitlement encouraged among students is quite shocking, especially those at the public universities who pay no fees. If they cannot afford to rent a one-bed flat, they should stay at home or they could live in villages outside the town centres, where rents are cheaper, or house share.

Most of them have cars, although they have not started protesting yet about the high cost of parking spaces close to the university; and those who don’t have a car can take a bus to classes or walk like students do in the rest of the world.

They are students and should live like students instead of demanding cheap luxury housing five minutes away from their university, as if it is a human right, while our good for nothing politicians pander to their sense of entitlement.

 

THERE IS also a patriotic issue related to the high rents that was highlighted by Diko deputy Panikos Leonidou. Students were being forced to rent flats in the occupied area, thus supporting the economy of the illegal regime.

This, however, is a drop in the ocean compared to what non-student car owners are spending in the north on petrol. Millions are spent on fuel in the north and the association representing petrol station operators has instructed its lawyers to report the Republic to the European Commission, for doing nothing to stop this.

A spokesman for the operators told Alpha TV “it’s not just the money, but the acceptance on the part of the Republic of the illegalities that are taking place.” Of course the money is a minor issue for the petrol station operators, who are much more concerned about the fact the government was allowing violations of the Green Line regulations, by refusing to check if cars crossing from the north were running on pseudo-petrol.

The Commission will be pleased to know that at least garage owners are fighting for compliance with the Green Line regulations.

 

THE CONSUMERS’ Association has turned into a propaganda organ of Akel. Listening to its head Marios Drousiotis talk you’d think he is a spokesman of the Party.

On Thursday, speaking on a radio show, he was demanding, not for the first time, the taxation of the windfall profits of RES companies and slamming the government for dragging its feet on the matter, echoing what Akel has been calling for on a daily basis.

The government should tax the windfall profits of RES companies but what business is this of the Consumers’ Association? How will the taxation of windfall profits protect the interests of consumers? Will it make electricity and tashinopittas cheaper? Just asking as a consumer.

Speaking of tashinopittas, I had an excellent one from a bakery in Astromeritis, for €1.80, significantly cheaper than what is charged at my local Nicosia bakery for inferior quality.

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