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Compulsory pre-primary education is expanded, so that children attend school from the age of four.< /b>  

On Thursday, the Parliament voted in favor of the “Primary and Secondary Education (Compulsory Attendance and Provision of Free Education) (Amendment) Law of 2022” and the regulations “The Operation of Public Schools of Primary Education (Amendment) Regulations of 2022”.

The bill was passed into law with 31 votes in favor and 12 against. The regulations were passed with 28 votes in favor. During the debate, the amendment tabled by AKEL MPs Christos Christofidis, Andreas Kavkalias and Christos Christofias was rejected with 25 votes against, which provided for ensuring that all children aged 4 and over attend free of charge in public kindergartens in their educational district and that will be referred by the Ministry of Education to private kindergartens based on criteria to be determined by the Minister of Education.

A letter from the Minister of Education to the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture dated 21 October 2022 states that the draft laws under consideration were submitted to the Parliament in the context of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan of the Republic of Cyprus (2021-2026), with the aim of gradually expanding of the age limit for admission to compulsory pre-primary education and that the project will be completed in three phases and the children's attendance during the three phases will be compulsory and free.

During the first phase of the project, children will only be enrolled in public and community schools, while during the second and third phases, in cases where the public kindergartens will not be able to absorb the number of enrollments, children will be divided into community and private schools kindergartens based on defined criteria. For the school years 2023-2026, tuition fees will be subsidized by funds of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Also, the Minister mentions that the project, based on the Operational Regulations Agreement between Cyprus and the European Union, has as a milestone the entry into force of the bill in the fourth quarter of 2022 and that the registration of all children in compulsory education in public kindergartens during implementation of the project is not feasible, since the appropriate building infrastructure does not exist at this stage.

The Parliamentary Committee unanimously decided to make certain changes to the text of the bill, which concern the modification of its transitional provisions. In particular, for children who have reached the specified school age for compulsory pre-primary education, the following will be provided for: In the 2023-2025 school years they will attend public or community kindergartens, in the 2025-2026 school year they will attend public or community or private kindergartens, if this is deemed necessary and from the school year 2026-2027, they will attend a public kindergarten in their educational district and the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth will inform the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture every six months about the progress of the implementation of the regulation in question

Also, the Parliament voted unanimously with the 40 deputies present “On the Operation of Public Secondary Schools   (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations of 2022”.

The  regulations aim at differentiating the examination courses for promotion and dismissal of the students of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades of the Technical Schools. 

The differentiation of the examination courses for promotion and dismissal is deemed necessary after the operation new branches and specializations in Technical Education and is expected to improve student assessment procedures within the framework of the four months, which is applied to all three classes of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training. 

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Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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