House speaker Annita Demetriou sent a letter to the president on Friday calling for them to make room in the state budget to install air conditioning in public schools.

Demetriou, who is also the leader of opposition Disy, said that her party would even be ready to pass a bill as part of a supplementary budget for this year. She called the installation of air conditioners in all Cypriot schools an “urgent need” in a letter to the president.

Last week, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said this is the first time real planning has gone into the long-standing promise of successive governments to install air conditioning in schools.

Calls to hurry on an existing installation plan have been prompted by unusually hot June weather, and Michaelidou said this work is now progressing. The total cost is expected to be €45 million.

Per the plan, some 200 units would be installed by August, with the goal being to give each of the Republic’s 650 schools an average of 20 air conditioners. This would total 15,000 units nationwide, with the plan allowing for this to be accomplished in three years.

To begin, the education ministry will start with 50 schools, meaning 10 in each of the five districts. The criteria for their selection have already been set.

Stressing the high temperatures recorded and the danger their long duration posed to students, parents and teachers, in her letter to the president speaker Demetriou said “the state must act immediately to resolve the issue” and that an “appropriate provision is required” in the 2025 budget, which is now being prepared.

She also expressed the readiness of Disy to immediately approve a supplementary budget for this year, and said she was confident by next summer that the state could achieve the completion of this goal. She reiterated Disy’s will to help in any way needed.

Referring to past government plans for air conditioning in schools, education minister Michaelidou said it had been known for “many years” that the issue was not discussed, or that it was closed because various reasons had led to decisions not to install air conditioning in schools. She emphasised that the government has long known, however, that air conditioners would promote a better teaching and learning environment for students as well as teachers.

The minister continued that the current government had been working on the issue for some time but that it was not a simple matter, because structural surveys were first needed to establish building safety after air conditioners had been installed. But “that is what we did”, she said, “and now [we can] start.”

Michaelidou said the plan was for three years but it would be done sooner if conditions allowed. It was understood that air conditioners were wanted in schools “as soon as possible”, she said. For now, however, schools in higher mountain areas were planned be improved more slowly on account of their cooler weather.