Cabinet on Wednesday decided on a series of measures to combat violence and delinquency in schools, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said following the meeting.

She said that everyone recognises that the phenomenon of violence and delinquency does not only concern the school, but also the family and society in general.

“Nevertheless, recognising the role of the school and relying mainly on research results, which we heard at yesterday’s press conference in collaboration with the University of Cyprus, we are proceeding with the implementation of several of the recommendations of the research and the institutionalisation of very specific measures,” she said.

According to the minister, these measures concern the support of the school and the strengthening of the school’s management team, so that it can recognise incidents of violence and delinquency and, above all, record them on the electronic platform, the observatory for violence in schools.

Michaelidou added there will be an anti-racist policy put in all schools, which will be monitored at all levels of education. It will include concepts of civic education, peaceful resolution of disputes, and dialogue.

She said the schools will be called on to implement special curricula and courses on violence prevention.

The minister also mentioned that alternative learning programmes are being planned for children with provocative delinquent behaviour, so that there is an opportunity to support the specific children, but also that all the other children have the right to regular education.

Training programmes will also be offered for teachers and parents to learn more about violence prevention. Michaelidou said that during the research conducted by the university in coordination with the ministry, it emerged that teachers more aware of dealing with these issues had much lower rates of these incidents occurring.

Based on the decisions, the school mediation programme is strengthened, while in addition to the training of teachers, parents and students, others such as the school guards, who will be better informed about their role, are included in the training.

She added that the pilot programmes with surveillance cameras are being evaluated and expanded over time.

All schools will have to take on the new measures as of January 2024, while some have already begun running them in September this year.