No racism will be tolerated in schools, and all children no matter who they are, should have the opportunities to move forward and learn, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said on Thursday, the first day back for secondary school students.

Speaking from the Ayios Antonios lyceum in Limassol, Michaelidou said that the start of the school was satisfactory, as many problems were not reported.

Commenting on recent racist attacks on migrants in Limassol and Chlorakas, Michaelidou said: “No racist incident will be tolerated in our schools, as for us all schools are the same and we give the due attention to all of them [schools].”

She added that all schools have children, and that these children need be given the same opportunities regardless of colour, race, or origin.

Speaking about the first day, she said: “I was happy to find out from the management team that the school is fully staffed, that the books are already in place, the educational and pedagogical materials are there, and that for my ministry the school is for all children.”

In particular, she stated that “the rights of every child are a priority for us, so that everyone can create” and emphasised that “this year we aim to take a step towards our vision for the modern school, for an educational system in which children can , in addition to knowledge, be able to cultivate skills, abilities, which will make them capable to offer them in the future to society.”

“At the same time, we want to have satisfied people in our schools, happy children, happy teachers, so that the creation is a reality,” he added.

Saying that there are no particular problems in the schools and especially in terms of pedagogic-educational issues, the minister referred to the issue of installing air conditioners and assured that their installation will begin by the end of the year.

She said that installation will begin this year.