The value and importance of all-day school is “obvious,” Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said on Monday.

Speaking at a promotional event in Nicosia, she said the extension of the school day offers both educational and social benefits.

“The upgrade and improvement of all-day schools is one of the most important initiatives we have undertaken,” she said, adding that the government aims to start the new school year with a further rollout of all-day schools.

Speaking about the Pancyprian lyceum, which has implemented an all-day school timetable for three years, she said “I am happy to be here to see the results of an educational institution which has been successfully implemented for the third consecutive school year at this historic school.”

She also commended the school for implementing the “Steam” approach – an educational philosophy which “uses science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.”

She described the use of the Steam approach as “another step towards achieving our goal of a modern, student-centred, and inclusive school.”

With this in mind, she said all-day programmes have already been rolled out in a total of 228 primary schools, with pilot programmes taking place in a total of five secondary schools.

She added that the new school day format is allowing “children to work together to solve problems and to learn through their application of knowledge and skills in a variety of environments.”

This, she said, “has already brought the first positive results,” with plans in place to broaden the pilot programme to four other middle schools across the island.

“We are expanding the implementation of Steam schools in all our towns, and promoting the Steam approach in the general curriculum,” she said.

Through Steam programmes, she continued, schools are “investing in independent and experimental learning and helping children develop basic skills and cultivate a critical and creative spirit.”

She said such initiatives are “elements of a broader educational policy to form an education system in which everyone will have the opportunity to cultivate their talents and abilities to the maximum extent, through flexible and innovative learning processes.”

She said the shift to all-day schooling “proves that as a state, we are following developments in the field of education and society and preparing our students for the demands of the modern world.”

“Our children are the future of our country, and we must offer them an education oriented towards the future, with integral technological and scientific advances which characterise our era,” she said.

At the same time, she said, the education offered “must highlight our historical and cultural course in the world.”

In this regard, she pointed out the “Greek Language and Culture” programmes now offered at all-day schools, saying they “aim to improve the quality of production of written and spoken language” among school pupils.

This, she said, comes “in the context of the investigation of various topics and the engagement with spiritual, material, historical, and artistic achievements.”