President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday decided to refer the contentious law that deals with pre-primary education to the Supreme Court.
The law has seen much back and forth between MPs, the education minister, parents and also private nurseries which said a law like this has no place in a progressive democratic society.
One of the consequences of this law is that the provisions which were added to the law would make it impossible for the Cyprus-Tomorrow plan to be utilised, the president said.
As a result, €12.2 million in funding from the EU Commission, set to help thousands of beneficiaries, would be lost.
Detailing the reasons why he is sending the law to the Supreme Court, Anastasiades said there were two.
“The way the law was authored and voted through from parliament prevents citizens from having the choice to send their children to a public or private school.”
Secondly, the provisions of the law create difficulties for registering children in pre-primary school for the year 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.
The law means compulsory preschool will start for children aged four years, rather than the current four years and eight months. This law provided the change would be implemented over the coming three school years.
Last week, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said the law was unconstitutional and virtually impracticable.
Anastasiades sent it back to parliament, however his motion to amend the law was rejected. It is now in the hands of the Supreme Court to decree its constitutionality.
Confusion came to the fore over how exactly this plan will be implemented, with some unions proposing that new classrooms should be built, even if these are prefab, while others suggested that the private preschools should be taken over by the state.
The Cyprus private preschools association (Sipek) said parents should have every right to choose to send their children to a private nursery or kindergarten if they wish, and the move from MPs to prevent this by the contentious law on preschool education raises more questions than answers.
The Federation of Employers and Industrialists (Oev) said that the deprivation of the parents’ rights to choose a private nursery or preschool for their children is “unjustified, unfair and harmful.”
“In no modern and privileged state is the compulsory schooling of children only in public institutions, at any level of compulsory education, imposed by law,” Oev said.