The construction of a privately-owned building of the Open University of Cyprus (OPKY) at the SOPAZ factory is on track, following an offer from the Nicosia Municipality, said the President of the Republic, Nikos Anastasiadis, who visited the Open University of Cyprus (OPKY) on Thursday. The President of the Republic was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Prodromos Prodromou, the Deputy Minister to the President, Petros Dimitriou and the Government Representative, Mario Pelekanos.
Initially, the President expressed his particular satisfaction because it is the first time that a President of the Republic has visited the Open University, which since its establishment in 2002 has been an institution attracting students, both domestic and foreign. He added that its alumni are about 8,000 and the average student per’ year is about 2,500.
Lately, he noted, there has been a downward and worrying trend for the rectory authorities, which may be mainly due to the pandemic or other factors. "In this direction, our desire is to make Cyprus an education center in the region which offers quality education, open education, the possibility of education to those who do not have the time to study based on the rest of the university institutions", he pointed out.
The President of the Republic also mentioned that in 2013 the total number of foreign students, especially from third countries, was significantly reduced and amounted to 33,000, while now it stands at 53,000, which shows that the policy of transforming Cyprus into an educational center shows a significant improvement.
"The number of graduates of the Open University of Cyprus shows that the goal has been achieved", he underlined, adding that what is needed is "some additional revisions regarding the programs to make them even more attractive compared to competitive destinations, either with new postgraduate degrees or with new subjects of study.
What is also evident, he continued, is the lack of private space, pointing out that “infrastructure is needed to accommodate the academic and administrative staff as well as lecture halls that will not only interest students but also the wider public in order to establish the University as a institution of higher education».
President Anastasiades stated that during his discussion with the President and Rector of APKY, it was established that there is an offer from the Nicosia Municipality to grant the SOPAZ factory to the Open University of Cyprus with renovation costs and based on plans so that the University to acquire private housing.
He pointed out that he said yes without hesitation and that he has decided before the end of his term to make a decision to accept the Municipality's donation. He added that this would require a study by the Ministries of Education and Transport to ensure the necessary. He also said that the willingness of the University to contribute part of the reserve – which amounts to 5,559,000 euros – will be expressed for the construction of a privately owned building.
“A consequence of these decisions will be the monitoring of the University's budget so that it responds to the new, upgraded role we want to give it,” the President of the Republic pointed out, adding that there is a lack of proposals for some new programs or innovative programs that respond in the competition. He expressed the certainty that the Senate will find a way to upgrade the quality of the education provided in various fields depending on the needs of the market and the students.
In addition, he noted that the students come not only from Greece and Cyprus, but also from countries such as the USA. "The bet we want to win in order to be a University of distance approach to students is a level of study that allows anyone who wishes to acquire additional knowledge to be able to advance in their services, to acquire additional qualifications,", he indicated.
The President of the Republic congratulated the authorities of the University for the work they have done, adding that "even at this time when decisions are required we will not hesitate to take them". "I have given instructions that what I have mentioned above should be before the Council of Ministers as soon as possible, to be decided and to be a commitment for future generations", he underlined.
The President of the APKY Council, Giorgos Papas, said that the University, with the substantial support of the President of the Republic, will now officially proceed with the implementation of the plan for the construction of its own building facilities in SOPAZ. "The President has already given the guidelines on how we will move".
"I am sure that in the coming years this dream and wish of all of us will come true. We thank the President for’ this development»?, he added.
For his part, the Rector of APKY, Professor Petros Passiardis, said that he considers it a great honor that for the first time in the 20 years of operation of the University the President of the Republic is visiting its premises APKY, as it shows the importance the President of the Republic gives to APKY.
He thanked the President for accepting the invitation to visit the University, speaking of "a very good meeting".