Education minister Athena Michaelidou held a reception on Friday for the highest achievers of this years Pancyprian examinations.

Michaelidou said “it was an exceptionally important meeting for us, very pleasant, because the children are happy about their success, and we are proud of them”.

She said that at the reception she discussed with the children both the positive and negative aspects of Cyprus’s education system, and the children’s suggestions for how it can be improved.

The children reportedly asked for “a more human approach from their teachers”, but also praised the teachers who took the time and had the kindness to help them through the various issues they faced during their school careers.

In addition, they pointed out the usefulness of extracurricular activities, such as European programmes. They also told Michaelidou of the importance of the support of their friends and families to their success.

The children asked that in future, the education system “becomes less material-centred and more student-centred”. They also asked that counselling and vocational education be emphasised.

Michaelidou praised the children’s maturity and the specificity of their suggestions.

After the reception, she was asked for her thoughts on the fact that the average grade in this year’s Modern Greek exam was only slightly above a basic pass.

She said “every year we get these results. We hope that with the new grading system, but also in the longer term with the changes we hope to make to our education system, we will see improved performance”.

“The final exam is not as important as the entire academic year in terms of our evaluation of the system. We evaluate the system in many different ways”, she said.

She added “you heard the children themselves evaluate the system, how close their teachers are to them, how the material should be focused and how room should be left for them to learn at their own pace to bring the best results”.

“All of these things combined make up the effort we are making to modernise our education system and improve results”.