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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ministry of Education: We support the participation of students in European initiatives

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<p data-block-key=We support the participation of students in European initiatives, said the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth, Dr. Athina Michailidou, speaking at the award ceremony for senior and trainee ambassadors who participated in the School-Ambassador Program of the European Parliament (2023-2024) and the students who distinguished themselves in All-Cypriot School Competition for the Production of Audiovisual Material for the European Elections. The ceremony was under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulidis, and took place on Friday afternoon at the Presidential Palace, in Nicosia.

In the greeting of , Mrs. Michailidou stated that “our membership in the European Union opened up a huge field of options, improved our daily life, pushed for the modernization of our state at all levels, while with the creation of a European education area, current students Students and tomorrow's citizens will be able to travel, study and work in any European country they wish”.

In this context, said the Minister of Education, “we have set as a priority, at the basis of the Governance Program, the formation of active and critically thinking citizens, who are interested in the commons, who know their rights and obligations and who in the future will actively participate in formation of a fairer and more democratic Union”. For these very reasons, he continued, “the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth has proceeded to update the syllabi of all courses at all levels of education, focusing on the essential material and emphasizing the development of skills and abilities, but also the cultivation of critical thinking and creativity”.

“Our Ministry supports and encourages the participation of as many students as possible in European initiatives, actions and programs”, emphasized Ms. Michailidou. “In our endeavor, we have always had a valuable partner, the Office of the European Parliament, with which we have developed a close long-term cooperation”, he noted, adding that “in the context of our cooperation, we measure several actions, the main one being the pan-European program “School Ambassador of the European Parliament'', in which secondary schools show great interest. The Program, as explained by Mrs. Michailidou, “gives our students the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge about the edifice called the European Union, to collaborate, talk and exchange opinions with their peers, to support values ​​and ideals but also to participate in important meetings in the European area”.

This year, said the Minister of Education, “in the context of the celebrations for the 20 years of our European journey and in view of the European elections, we jointly promoted actions with the Office of the European Parliament aimed at developing a healthy and active citizenship and encouraging the participation of of young people in local and European events”. The culmination of these actions, as he said, was the Short Video Production Competition on the theme “Youth at the polls for the European Elections 2024” with the aim of creating an advertising spot that with the image, sound, script and a “strong” slogan, it would push the youth towards the ballot box of the 2024 European elections.

Therefore, Athina Michailidou pointed out, “our young men and women acted as carriers of messages about the importance of the upcoming elections for the future of their generation but also about the importance of voting for the policies that will advance and shape their daily lives , contributing decisively to the preservation and defense of democracy”.

After thanking the students and teachers for their effort and participation in the Program, the Minister of Education expressed the belief that the cooperation with the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus “will be maintained, enriched and will continue to be a source of knowledge and a field fruitful dialogue and reflection for our students”.  

In his greeting, the Head of the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus, Andreas Kettis, spoke of a program that is being implemented for the eighth consecutive time in all EU member states by the local EP Offices. During this school year, 30 high schools and technical schools, public and private schools from all the provinces of the free Cyprus participated, he noted.

“The goal of the program,” said Mr. Kettis, “is to make our students share the values ​​of parliamentary democracy. To learn the value of democracy in an age where, unfortunately, neither democracy nor peace can be taken for granted.” Afterwards, he expressed the belief “that we have a sacred duty to teach our children to constantly and vigorously defend democracy, peace and human rights”, pointing out that “this is the legacy left to us by the inspiring politicians, men and women which created the common European institutions, which led to the political and economic interdependence of the member states of our Union, so that the possibility of war between its member states is de facto nullified”.

Also, the Head of the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus thanked the teachers who participated and the students who distinguished themselves in the Program, as well as the Ministry of Education, the Cypriot MEPs and the Office of the EP in Cyprus.

Nektarios Nikolaidis, Coordinator of the School-Ambassador Program at the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus, reviewed the Program, noting that this year the students had the opportunity to meet and talk with the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus Commissioner to the European Union. The Office of the EP in Cyprus this year carried out visits to 105 schools and informative lectures on various topics, he noted. 

This year, he added, we had 65 senior ambassadors (the teachers), 260 cadet ambassadors (the students), over 470 actions were organized in schools, while we had over 1700 participants in these actions. He also mentioned that 240 students and 45 teachers will participate in the Euroscola program that will take place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The teacher of the Lyceum of Agios Antonios Limassol, Olympia Orfanidou, who participated in the Program, said that the positive effect of the Program on the student community of the school has exceeded all her expectations. After briefly referring to the results of the actions carried out within the framework of the program, he indicated that time must be found and a fund allocated from the Ministry of Education for the implementation of the Program and the partial coverage of the transportation needs of the participating students for visits.

The Assistant Principal of Kykkos Paphos High School, Stavros Stavrou, in his greeting, which was read by the professor of TESEK Polios Chrysochous, Charalambos Paleologos, pointed out that the Program encouraged students and teachers to take initiatives, to escape from the narrow framework of mandatory actions and take action to achieve the objectives of the Program. “Neither democracy nor the European Union is a given,” he noted, stressing that “for them to continue to exist, we will have to act as citizens and not as individuals.” 

Afterwards, students from 13 participating schools briefly presented the actions they organized as part of the program. This was followed by a short musical presentation by students of the Music School of the Pancyprian High School. 

The videos of the students who distinguished themselves in the Pan-Cypriot School Competition for the Production of audiovisual material for the European elections were also shown. The 1st Prize was awarded to Agios Neophytos Paphos High School, the 2nd Prize to Terra Santa College, and the 3rd Prize to Agios Georgios Lakatamias High School. The awards were presented by the Minister of Education and the Head of the Office of the EC in Cyprus, who presented honorary plaques to all the participating schools. 

The event ended with a draw, which resulted in 3 teachers and 7 students who will travel with 18 other students to Brussels in the last week of August to experience the institutions of the European Commission, at the invitation of the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. 

Source: KYPE

Source: reporter.com.cy

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