The vast majority of private preschools and kindergartens will remain open on Friday despite high temperatures that will force state education to close early, the association representing the private sector said on Thursday.

The met office is expected to issue a red weather warning for Friday where temperatures could hit 45C, according to state radio Cybc.

This has prompted the education ministry to announce the closure of all schools, kindergarten through lyceums, at 10.45am before the extreme temperature kicks in.

However the Cyprus Private Preschool Education Association (Sipek), which is a member of the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV), in an announcement said it was informing parents and the general public that its private preschools and kindergartens will continue to operate as normal on Friday and criticised the early closure of state institutions.

“By taking all the necessary technical and organisational measures to protect the safety and health of children and employees, private nurseries and kindergartens will continue their uninterrupted operation,” a statement said. Sipek says it represents the vast majority of private preschools and kindergartens.

“It is sad that in the year 2024, public kindergartens will stop operating due to high temperatures, and seemingly unable to find solutions or manage this [weather] challenge,” the statement added.

It said this was not the first time that high temperatures have been recorded in the country “while the lack of timely notification of parents about the closure of public kindergartens has caused disruption to working parents who are desperately trying to find solutions”, it said.

The organisation went on to reiterate its request for the extension of the subsidy scheme for preschool children in order for parents to have the free choice of whether to go private “in modern facilities and with all the necessary equipment”.

Meanwhile, according to Cybc, Education Minister Athina Michaelidou said the early closure on Friday was the most obvious solution given the long-delayed plans of successive governments to install air conditioning in schools.

The issue was discussed at the House on Wednesday where MPs discussed the ministry’s three-year plan to roll out air conditioning units across all schools at a cost of €45 million.

Michaelidou told Cybc that no matter whatever the ministry decided to do in the interim during heatwaves like the current one, was bound “not to satisfy everyone”.

Referring to the Pancyprian exams, the minister said that despite the high temperatures, they would go ahead as planned as all of the exams end at around 11am.

Later on Thursday, speaking in Limassol, Michaelidou said the government was optimistic that the three-year plan would be implemented on time.

She also said instructions had been given that wherever possible, rooms in schools that already have air conditioning would be used for exams on Friday. Fans would also be brought in, she said, adding that they were following the guidelines from the met office.