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Cyprus

Ministry reiterates girl is not being excluded from school

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A decision to assign an eight-year-old student to a special education unit has nothing to do with exclusion, the education ministry reiterated on Tuesday.

The decision was made by experts, following all procedures to ensure the child could continue learning, and statements by Cyprus’ confederation of organisations of the disabled (Kysoa) “insistence to say otherwise” is unsubstantiated, the ministry added.

“There is no exclusion of the student from school. If she’s not going to school, it’s because her parents don’t want to accept the decision of the responsible central committee.”

The girl’s parents have refused to send their daughter to school except for school trips as a mark of protest over their disagreement with the committee’s decision their child needs special education for Greek and maths.

“Keeping their child away from school violates the law on mandatory education,” the ministry said.

The girl is the second year at the B’ Makedonitissa primary. She had been evaluated by specialists in 2021.

The parents objected officially to the decision, and it was decided to allow the pupil to attend general instruction on a trial basis.

In May this year, a reassessment was carried out and all experts recommended that the student attend the special unit, the ministry of education said. The parents again filed an appeal, but it was rejected.

On Monday, her parents held a protest outside the school, with Kysoa branding the matter as exclusion.

“Kysoa’s incomprehensible and persistent insistence that there was no re-evaluation of the data concerning this particular case is inaccurate and wrong,” the ministry said.

“Around 14,000 children special education children are currently part of the country’s education system and the ministry ensures they fulfil their right to study and everything else provided by the relevant legislation. A few cases that come to light every now and then, and usually involve parental disagreement, cannot change this.”

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