Forestry college will restart diploma courses in September 2024
The forestry college will recommence its regular diplomas courses from September 2024, nine years after they ceased but the educational institution has not been sitting idle all this time despite contrary perceptions.
The college, which is operated by the forestry department, will resume offering its three-year diploma course in forest management, which will be open to high school leavers.
It is planned that the college will take on between 10 and 15 students per year, who will have to sit entrance examinations.
Once they are accepted onto the programme, they will be taught a range of different skills related to forestry.
These skills include dealing with forest fires, forest administration, road construction, forest epidemiology and virology, botany, and sundry other issues related to forestry and forest management.
Those who graduate from the forestry college will then be equipped to be employed at the forestry department, with a spokesperson for the department telling the Sunday Mail, “the hope is that we can prepare people to become future employees of the forestry department.”
In addition to the three-year diploma course, the spokesperson said the college is already performing and will continue to perform another of educational activities.
These activities usually involve classes for existing forestry department employees, firefighters, employees of other government departments, or employees of private companies.
Training courses on various aspects of forest life and professional practice relating to forest management take place at the college, with the aim of educating professionals on how to maximise the efficacy of their operations in forest environments, and to ensure the safety of workers and others in forests.
The spokesperson said, “it is for this reason that we do not say the forestry college was ‘closed’. It was never ‘closed’. We have always been offering these sorts of training courses and programmes for professionals.”
“The college was always operational in one way or another. What we are doing now is not ‘reopening’ the college but bringing back into operation the regular three-year diploma the college offers,” they added.
The announcement had earlier won the approval of the forestry branch of civil servants’ trade union Asdyk.
They said in October that the move was “a step in the right direction” and added that they “hope it will become a springboard for more developments in the future”.
They added that the move will “greatly boost the forestry department’s abilities and reinvigorate local communities”.
They also said they hope the college could potentially be upgraded to a higher educational facility in the future, with the ultimate goal that It be integrated into the Cyprus University of Technology (Tepak).
Additionally, they said the college could expand its curriculum to include subjects such as the management of the natural environment and forestry ecosystems.
In October, both Asdyk representative Giorgos Georgiou and House environment committee chairman Charalambos Theopemptou called on the government to swiftly proceed with the college’s relaunch.
The pair both spoke at a House environment committee meeting, with Georgiou saying previous governments had also announced their intentions for the College to recommence its regular operations, but that “nothing was ever done.”
He added that preparations for a relaunch would require “a lot of hard work”, including upgrading the College’s facilities and hiring qualified academic staff.
Theopemptou said the committee will “keep a close eye” on the matter and encouraged the government to “speed up” the implementation of the college’s relaunch.
The forestry college building is located in the village of Prodromos, in the Troodos mountain range.
The restart of the college’s operation comes as part of a number of initiatives being undertaken to rejuvenate the area.
This includes a circular bus route which is set to launch next year, which will link up numerous mountain villages.
The college is also a short walk from the abandoned Berengaria hotel, which is also undergoing renovations, with plans to reopen.
The hotel closed in 1984 and has seen decades of abandonment and decay, with urgent structural works having taken place in recent months to ensure the building’s structural integrity.
Renovation works are expected to cost around €35 million.
Speaking in October about the hotel, its lead consultant Thanos Michaelides had told a press conference “this isn’t just another project that will enhance the tourism sector, but it’s bringing back to life the historic hotel, a diamond of architecture in Cyprus.”