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Sunday, May 28, 2023

The chairs are creaking in the school councils

The possibility of integrating school boards into municipalities, as provided for in the proposed bill for the reform of Local Government, has provoked the strong reaction of the All-Cypriot Coordinating Committee of School Boards, which is threatening to take legal action

Athe institutions and the school boards are reacting to the possibility of their abolition and integration into the clustered municipalities, as provided for in the proposed bill for the reform of Local Government. In a letter to the Parliament’s Interior Committee, the Pan-Cypriot Coordinating Committee of School Boards appeals to its members to reconsider their attitude towards the amendments in relation to the operation of school boards, also warning of the possibility of taking legal action. “Many problems will be solved”, answers the mayor of Larnaca and president of the Union of Municipalities Andreas Vyras, supporting the integration of the school administrations with the municipalities.

Lots of reactions

In his letter to the Internal Affairs Committee, the president of the Coordinating Committee of School Ephorias, Dinos Hellinas, characterizes the possibility of their integration into the municipalities as an action that could only bring “negative and disastrous consequences” to the education of the place. Also referring to an opinion of the Federation of School Superintendents, on the basis of which the proposed change is unconstitutional, he states that the school superintendents are “ready to proceed immediately with any legal process to assert the self-evident”. Also expressing his disappointment and intense indignation, he claims that the actions followed were done without the knowledge of the school superintendents, while he speaks of “compromises and expedients that have been made between the Ministry of the Interior and the president of the Union of Municipalities, to abolish a legislatively elected by citizens as a body and to degrade and abolish their essential role towards education and school units”. It is noted that for the scenario in question, reactions have also been expressed by the POED, OELMEK, OLTEK and PASYDY Trade Unions, the Pan-Cypriot Confederations of Secondary and Primary Education Parents’ Associations, the Association of Greek Principals of Secondary Education (SEDMEK), the Church, such as also from other organized groups and involved bodies.

“Problems will be solved”

“In no other country in the world does the institution of the school ephorate exist”, said the mayor of Larnaca and president of the Union of Municipalities Andreas Vyras, speaking to “P”, stating that schools all over the world belong to the municipalities. He himself, responding to the reactions that have been created, underlined that the integration of the school administrations in the municipalities will contribute to the solution of serious operational problems observed in the schools. “All services and mechanisms are located in Nicosia, resulting in serious problems. In Larnaca, as in other schools throughout Cyprus, we see problems with the maintenance of buildings and falling concrete. Why should the engineer from Nicosia find time to come and see the schools in the other provinces”, as he typically said. With the abolition of school tax authorities, as he explained, a School Infrastructure and Buildings Committee will be created in each municipality, which will have its own engineers and services for the maintenance of schools. In relation to the petitions of the Pan-Cypriot Coordinating Committee of School Boards regarding unconstitutionality, Mr. Vyras rejected them, underlining that “the entire law was made by the Board of Legislation and passed the opinion of the attorney general”.

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