Education Minister Athena Michaelidou presented awards on Thursday to schools which employ the “content and language integrated learning” (CLIL) approach for second and other language education.

A total of 85 primary schools and nurseries were awarded at the ceremony, awarded gold, silver, and bronze distinctions for their implementation of the CLIL approach.

The CLIL approach is based on the principle of language immersion leading to language acquisition and combines the teaching of school subjects with the teaching of a second or other language.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Michaelidou said “this innovative approach provides multiple opportunities to enhance the quality of teaching.”

“It is an approach which promotes the improvement of learning outcomes in [language acquisition], the development of children’s linguistic abilities in a second or other language, and the acceptance and respect of diversity,” she added.

She said it focuses “on the development of key skills for our children and tomorrow’s members of society, which is why its promotion is among the priorities of the European Commission.”

She referred to the CLIL coordination centre, which was established in 2015, saying “the usefulness of the coordination centre is evident both through the positive feedback we are sent from schools, teachers, and schools, and through the steady increase in the number of primary schools and nurseries which voluntarily register and cooperate with it.”

The CLIL collaborated with a total of 80 primary schools and 153 nursery schools in the 2022/23 academic year, with Michaelidou saying “this collaboration helped create communities of teachers for the exchange of ideas, the design and testing of educational material, the organisation of co-teaching sessions, and information to give to parents and guardians.”

She added that the further utilisation of the CLIL is “another step” towards the creation of a modern Cypriot school, saying the “main aim” of the government’s programme is “to create children who uphold democracy and are capable of critical thinking.”

This will be done, she said, “through the formation of an educational system in which every child and every young person will have the opportunity to cultivate their talents and abilities to the greatest possible extent.”

She added her “warmest congratulations to all the schools which participated and excelled in implementing the approach.”