Some 228 public schools will start operating in the afternoon as of Monday despite challenges that arose, the education ministry has announced.
The optional afternoon schools will be implemented for the 2023-2024 academic year in 142 primary schools, 78 public kindergartens and eight special schools.
Enrolment is higher this year compared to the previous academic term, according to data provided by the education ministry in its Friday announcement.
In total 8,970 children have been enrolled to attend afternoon schools this year, compared to 8,237 for the 2022-2023 period.
The timetable is the same as in previous years, starting from 1.05pm to 3.05pm or 4pm.
The education ministry reminded parents and guardians that enrolment is free of charge, while they only pay for the food.
The statement stressed that the timely operation of the afternoon schools is being achieved despite the challenges presented by various changes. The ministry said there was a change in the employment status of teachers, while the purchase of services from educators has been abolished as well as the offer of contracts to temporary teachers through the Education Service Commission lists.
Consultations with teachers’ unions, organised parents and the education service commission will continue in the coming days, the education ministry said “to regulate all the individual issues related to the operation of the afternoon schools”. This includes the calendar extension of their operation from the current school year, to further restructure, modernise and improve the institution.
Afternoon school teachers demanded job security in a protest earlier this year, calling on the ministry to respect a 2020 court decision providing that their current employment status as self-employed workers is illegal.
Instead, they demanded they return to the status of salaried employees, as it was between 2006 and 2013.