MIA: Decided on four-month exams - "The reactions were political"

The determination of the Ministry of Education to proceed with the implementation of the four-month examinations in high schools as of this year, the Minister of Education expressed

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The determination of the Ministry of Education to proceed with the implementation of the four-month exams also in high schools from this year, was expressed on Wednesday by the Minister of Education, Prodromos Prodromou, from Engomi High School, from where he welcomed the start of the new school year for students of Secondary Education. He referred to a positive experience from the implementation of the system while he also spoke of "political reactions". Welcoming the students to the school on the first day of classes, the Minister announced this year's goals and wished a creative mood for a good and successful school year.

With regard to this year's goals, he announced that, in addition to the permanent goals of preserving memory and fighting in an occupied homeland, awareness about the climate crisis as well as historical memory on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Asia Minor are advanced this year Destruction.

Specifically, the Minister emphasized the need to convey the message to children, through environmental education programs, "that the planet, our life, the environment, must operate with sustainability rules", on the occasion of the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the UN in our country this year. Regarding the commemorative anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, Mr. Prodromou noted "here in Cyprus we must learn the great contribution of Asia Minor Hellenism, from the time of Homer to the modern era".

Responding to a journalist's question about the four-month exams, which are also being introduced this year in high schools, Mr. Prodromou said that from the reactions that have occurred in the past period, he retains those expressed by those who topped the Pan-Cypriot Exams in July, who during their visit at the Ministry reported that "the new assessment process helped them to organize and study better", as the Minister said. "When that's said by guys who excelled, you understand that we have to take it into account, and we do," he added.

After all, he noted that "the experience of implementing this new evaluation system has been evaluated as positive" and that "the reactions were political from the very beginning." He also said that "it is next and expected and we accept that there are reactions", but he clarified that "we are implementing a reform policy, which is proven to start making the school better". He also mentioned that the latest international measurements for the performance of Cypriot students show better results than ever before.

"We have the experience from previous years in high schools. It was implemented gradually, one year at a time, one class at a time. We accepted suggestions, proposed changes, adopted improving changes and now with the experience we have, I think we will be able to implement it in all three classes of the high school," he added. He explained that through this process "children will learn from an early age that this is the process of knowledge, of achieving goals, there must be an evaluation", as well as "that school is all the remaining months and weeks and not just the three days of exams."

Speaking about the conditions at the beginning of this year, Mr. Prodromou said that it is fortunate that it starts more smoothly than the previous two, which were in acute pandemic conditions, while he also mentioned the plan to install portable ventilation devices in the classrooms, with the aim of better air quality in spaces where several students coexist. "Of course, we emphasize to the children that the disease has not disappeared, but if we continue to be careful and observe the very basic measures to protect ourselves and others, we will be able to keep this function, that is, without restrictive measures," he noted .

Regarding the ventilation of school classrooms, he explained that the pilot program of air purification systems, which has been operating since last year in collaboration with the University of Cyprus, has been decided to be adopted more widely this year. "The results show a significant reduction of micro-particles in the atmosphere, microbes and COVID-19", he said and added that "starting from a higher altitude and coming down, we will install such portable air purifiers." The aim of this planning is, if instructions are given for open doors and windows in school classrooms, to avoid this during the cold months, thanks to ventilation, as the Minister explained.

He also noted that for the installation of ventilation systems, a comprehensive intervention in the buildings is required, with the installation of piping. "We did the study and it is something that would be equivalent to the anti-seismic upgrade, i.e. a major disruption, which would not pay off in a useful time," he said.

He also spoke about the forced execution of building improvement works in school units, saying that "out of a total of 700 schools, 10-20 schools are next to be in the process of improvement projects, whether it is an anti-seismic upgrade, whether it is repairs or expansions". He emphasized, however, that the first concern is to take all safety measures, where projects are being carried out. "These days we will have the pleasure of handing over the Pancyprian High School, which is already operating, and it was a big project with a budget of €6,6 million, which basically means the reconstruction of this school", added Mr. Prodromou.

He also noted that the schools are fully staffed and that all the books were delivered to the school units. "Otherwise, the school will work with the programs we have, with the strengthening of digital skills, and I hope that we will have the opportunity by the end of the school year, to give the children what they are entitled to and what we expect, the qualifications, skills, knowledge and critical and analytical thinking, to become tomorrow's citizens for a better future of our state", said the Minister.

He also expressed the wish to develop new programs with European standards, which are examined and implemented slowly, "which are programs of initiative, initiative and development of the critical thinking of young people and children", as he said.