This week a School Map is submitted to the Council of Ministers, through which data are presented and analyzed the characteristics of the school population -students / three and teachers- as well as the learning outcomes, as informed by the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Budget, during its discussion. Budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth for 2022, the political head of the Ministry, Prodromos Prodromou.
In his initial statement during the discussion of the Budget, Mr. Prodromou said that in 2022 “we see the primary expenditures of our Ministry increase by 5.2%, while we have the opportunity to make more development expenditures”.
“Indeed, the development expenditures of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth will increase next year by 11.2%, compared to 2021 and reach € 212.8 million. Such a development budget allows us to continue planning to improve the quality of education. “It is therefore understood that spending on education is growing at a faster rate than the country's product growth, but also more than the total state spending,” he added.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth, continued Mr. Prodromou, has the largest budget.
“This proves the effort that our country is making for education. “But we need to do more for Culture and I hope now that the opportunity presents itself, to make a new beginning with the creation of the Ministry of Culture, which I hope will be approved by Parliament soon,” he noted.
As he said, the regular expenditures of the 2022 Budget amount to € 1,026,373,756 and correspond to 82.8% of the total and the development expenditures are € 212,775,653, ie 17.2% of the total.
“In fact, development spending has a more important role to play than is apparently due to its relatively limited share of the total. The reason is because in YPPAN there is a very important salary, amounting to € 786.8 million or 77% of its regular budget, which makes other expenses seem relatively small “, he added.
Mr. Prodromou said that among the development expenditures, the largest part, ie € 154.5 million, is the sponsorships to the universities and reminded that the state supports the loan agreements for the infrastructure projects at the University of Cyprus, such as the Polytechnic School. , the Medical School, the second photovoltaic park, the upgrade of the Siakoleio Health Education Center, the new student dormitories and so on.
He noted that a significant development action is also the construction projects for which an amount of € 34.4 million is available, ie mainly school buildings and added that currently school construction projects amounting to € 50-60 million are in the process of implementation.
He also said that € 6.6 million in the development budget is available for digital transformation, while € 4.6 million for cultural benefits and an additional € 1.7 million for film production funding.
He noted that € 1.2 million is available for the prevention and treatment of violence and delinquency and the Dependency Authority.
The Minister of Education said that among the regular expenses, in addition to the € 786.8 million allocated for the salary, an amount of € 22.4 million is allocated for the purchase of services at the various levels of education.
“Other significant categories of expenditures are the sponsorships to organizations affiliated with the Ministry of Education. In addition to the € 65.3 million that are the sponsorships to the School Ephorates, the budget of the Ministry of Education includes an amount of € 51.7 million for sponsorships in NPDD, such as the KOA, the KOE, the THOK and so on. ” , he added.
Regarding sponsorships related to policies of the Ministry, Mr. Prodromou said that the student welfare policy should be mentioned with € 50.8 million for Student Sponsorship, € 2.0 million for Student Welfare, € 1.5 million for sponsorship of foreign schools, € 1.2 million for special sponsorships and educational sponsorships to religious groups according to the Constitution and € 1.5 million for a grant for pre-primary education.
He separately mentioned the sponsorship of € 13.9 million for Special Education, to which of course are added other regular expenses of more than € 70 million.
“The Ministry has, through the regular expenses, a budget of € 4.4 million for the development of programs, digital media, other supervisory means and other actions through the Pedagogical Institute, € 1.5 million. We also have € 1.5 million. “for environmental education, € 1.8 million for certification procedures and the DIPAE Agency and € 1.6 million for safety issues”, he noted.
The Minister of Education said, among other things, that the multifaceted Educational Reform is underway, which has started from 2015-16, while from this year another important aspect is added, with the new plan of enhanced and more targeted educational support and successful integration of students / three immigrant biographies.
The Minister of Education said that the public school for the last two years operated informally, but essentially, as a “school of health protection”.
“The school was taught the rules of proper behavior and social responsibility for individual and collective protection against COVID-19. It may be taken for granted, but it is still very important: schools are places where a well-structured and complete Health Protocol is observed to a very satisfactory degree. In fact, it is observed more than it seems more and better than many other social spaces “, he added.
Selection of teachers
Mr. Prodromou also said that the new system of meritocratic selection of teachers is gradually being implemented, which according to the schedule decided by the Parliament will be fully developed in 2027, but already has beneficial results.
He noted that between 2018 and 2021, 418 new teachers have been selected and appointed through the meritocratic competition process, while another 563 have been appointed from the old list in antiquity and another 94 through the provisions for people with disabilities, while 304 through Secondary General Education have been appointed through competitive process, against 356 of the old lists.
New Student Assessment System
He added, in addition, that the gradual implementation of the new system of evaluation of students / three of Secondary Education continues, according to the schedule decided by the Parliament.
New project for the evaluation of the educational project and the teachers
Mr. Prodromou said that an integral part of the overall Educational Reform is a modern and meritocratic system of evaluation of the overall educational work performed in schools, but also of teachers individually and added that a new customized Evaluation Plan is currently at an advanced stage, with the aim of to prepare a relevant legislative proposal by the end of the year.
The Minister of Education said that taking into account the commitment of the state for inclusive education and the provision of appropriate Special Education in schools, as well as the rapid growth of the needs of Special Education, the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture evaluates plans changes in the institutional framework of Special Education.
Mr. Prodromou said that based on the evaluations and research so far by the Pedagogical Institute (Greek Studies Research), some worrying findings emerge.
He mentioned, among other things, that during the school year 2020-21, only 45% of the children with immigration biographies, who had joined the Greek Studies Program, had knowledge corresponding to the B1 level that is deemed necessary to be able to attend education.
The Ministry of Education and Science, continued Mr. Prodromou, responding to the needs that arose in recent years with the education of children with immigrant biographies in schools in Cyprus, developed “Policy Text for the Integration of Students with Immigrant Biographies in the Cypriot Education System”, its main axes which is the teaching of Greek as a second language, the mapping of the needs of children and the continuous training of teachers and staff of education, and for its implementation the competent Interdepartmental Committee has developed an Action Plan.
In his statements after the session, the Minister of Education said that he had the opportunity today to emphasize that through the increased expenditures available from the Government to the Ministry of Education, “we must remember that the school has been operating in recent years and continues to operates as a large school of health care “.
The contribution of public education to the cultivation of health awareness in children, he said, was one of the factors that allowed our country to have a relatively good performance in managing the pandemic and to be able to now have a physical presence.
“I hope we can keep this, so that we can complete the planning for the educational reform within the schools, making more schools DRSAE, extending the reform for the evaluation of students, teachers and the educational project and improving the learning outcomes like the ones that the Cypriot education had in the international research for Mathematics and Physics, the TIMSS research “, he added.
He noted that the learning outcomes “that we recently had for Elementary and High School in the TIMSS survey show that the reforms are working”.
“But the picture is sometimes mixed, because at the same time results that we have from other evaluations, such as the Pancyprian Examinations, show us that we need to make more effort, especially in language teaching. We can not accept what happens over time, ie a significant percentage – one in five children – is a graduate of the school with a grade in Language below 25%. It is not acceptable, since it is not just about the knowledge of Modern Greek but also about the spiritual composition of our young people which is a prerequisite for any other learning “, he added.
Mr. Prodromou said that a number of innovations were presented to the Parliamentary Committee today, “such as the emphasis we place on sex education, which is at the same time prevention for the sexual abuse of children, the effort we must make to strengthen it. The integration of children with immigrant biographies is also a new reality that we need to address and strengthen our schools in order for them to continue to function properly, embracing and providing effective education to those children who have another mother tongue. from Greek “.
He added that “we are counting too much on the big reform with the e-government of the schools”.
“The competition is already underway and we hope that from the new school year a complete system of e-government will begin to be installed, so that all interested parties: students, teachers and parents can receive, at any time, all information electronically. “to do electronically the work that has to do with the school and even transactions”, he noted.
In this way, continued Mr. Prodromou, “the major reform of the use of digital technology in the school will be completed through the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, where the Ministry of Education out of the 97 million investments and reforms that have been planned, a A significant portion, about 13 million, will be allocated for the creation of 6,600 classrooms, in 500 schools initially, with the expansion, in the next period, to 700 “.
“This will be a big step to integrate digital technology into the normal operation of schools and this is also an innovation, which is scheduled to be completed by September next year. We hope that by approving our Budget, the Parliament will give the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the means to continue the effort, in order to provide all children with quality education “, he added.
Answering a question, Mr. Prodromou said that “at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers I will submit a coherent Charter of the student population and schools, with all the characteristics of students at all levels with the results, with the data that teachers and schools, so that we can assess the development and progress in the educational reform that is being implemented at the moment and make where necessary either adjustments or make decisions on additional innovations that seem to be needed to maintain this the pace and this effort for quality education in Cyprus “.