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The necessary electrical upgrade and funds for air conditioners in schools – Meeting tomorrow in Limassol

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    The necessary electrical upgrade and funds for air conditioners in schools  – On the carpet in the Department of Education – Meeting of School Boards tomorrow in Limassol

    Meeting to define the procedure for the installation of air conditionersin the first 50 school units in September will take place tomorrow in Limassol, with the participation of the School Ephorates and the involved bodies of the Ministry of Education, as reported by the Director of the Ministry's Technical Services, Andreas Carpenter. He also stated before the Parliamentary Committee Education that in this plan there is no provision for air conditioners in technical schools.

    Mr. Maragos also noted that for the installation of air conditioners in all schools, a plan for the completion of which the Minister of Education has set a three-year horizon, a fund of approximately €45m is required. Regarding the installation of air conditioners in the first 50 schools in the next period, he explained that it will be implemented with a fund of €1.6 million which has been saved from the 2023 budget.

    The Education Committeedealt with the issue of logistical infrastructure in school units and primarily focused on air conditioners, due to the conditions created by the extreme high temperatures. According to the General Director of the Ministry, Marina Hasapi, almost all school units need an electrical upgrade in order to be able to handle the electrical load that the operation of the air conditioners will require.< /p>

    However, in his intervention the Vice-President of POED, Skouroupatis Apostolos,she mentioned that the plan for upgrading electrical installations in the schools has been in place since June 2022 and added that “this plan has failed“.

    Ms. Hasapi assured that they will proceed next interval the electrical upgrades of the other schools as well. On his part, the Deputy Director of Secondary Education, Stelios Theofilos, reported that the installation of air conditioners concerns about 650 schools with an average of 20 air conditioners per school, so about 15,000 air conditioners in total. This, as he said, makes necessary the time period provided for by the Ministry's planning, due to the extent of the project.

    As the Director of the Ministry's Technical Services explained to the Commission, the scientific criteria for the selection of the 10 schools in each of the five provinces, where the installation of air conditioners will proceed immediately, have already been determined. In tomorrow's meeting with the School Tax Offices in Limassol, these criteria will be discussed, as well as the procedure they should follow for the installation of air conditioners. grades, stated that this plan concerns elementary, middle and high schools, which caused the strong reaction of the representative of OLTEK, who requested an equal distribution of the available funds.

    Mr. Maragos noted that in the new buildings being erected, such as the new technique in Limassol, planning has been done for a central air conditioning system. He said, however, that there are about 500 schools that the Ministry's services will have to handle within the next three years. He emphasized that the most important thing is to allocate the necessary funds, as for 2024 the budget of the Ministry did not include an amount for the installation of air conditioners and only thanks to the savings of 2023 can the planning for the first 50 schools proceed.

    < p>Furthermore, responding to an intervention by the MP of the Environmental Movement, Charalambos Theopeptou, that Cyprus had undertaken an obligation towards the EU for the energy upgrade of all public buildings in 2014, which – as he said – did not proceed in the case of schools, Mr. Maragos said that since 2017, any school that was studied and erected has zero energy consumption and that any school that has been upgraded to be anti-seismic has also been energy upgraded. He also noted that the anti-seismic upgrade has progressed to 90% of the schools.

    However, Nikos Megalemos, President of the School Ephorate of Nicosia, pointed out that alongside the actions to install the air conditioners, the issue of their storage should also be examined, since incidents of theft from school units have already been established. Mr. Megalemos also answered a question from the President of the Committee, Pavlos Mylonas, regarding all the other measures taken to relieve the heat in the outdoor areas of the schools.

    As he said, there is an ongoing program of the Forest Department to plant greenery in schools, which is the responsibility of school managements, with School Boards providing support services such as excavation and other works. He promised, however, that actions would also be taken by the School Boards to draw up a program for greening in schools.

    For their part, the representatives of the Links Parents underlined the need to provide immediate solutions, requesting an acceleration of the Ministry's planning for the installation of air conditioners. The President of the Confederation of Federations of Associations of Parents of Secondary Public Schools, Loizos Konstantinou, underlined that if they do not see action by September, there will be a reaction from the organized parents. p>

    On behalf of the Associations of Parents of Primary Education, Kostas Tziubas, touched on the issue of transparency in the selection of the 50 schools in which air conditioners will be installed in September and raised the issue of why the schools were not prioritized which operate as summer. As the Director of Primary Education at the Ministry reported to the Committee, approximately 70,000 students will continue to attend primary schools and kindergartens in June.

    Regarding the summer schools, Mr. Maragos assured that steps have been taken to install air conditioners in all classrooms. He explained that in the classrooms that operated last year, there were already air conditioners, and because the number of classrooms increased due to increased participation in summer schools, measures were taken to make the classrooms ready to receive children.

    The Vice President of POED, Apostolos Skouroupatis, said that in many cases primary school students are forced after some time to stay in the air-conditioned multi-use rooms and watch movies due to the high temperatures and added that the solution is to close schools where and where necessary.

    < p>The President of OELMEK, Dimitris Taliadoros, said that the concerns raised by the fact that there was no budget for air conditioners in the 2024 budget, following the Government's announcement in November 2023 for the installation of air conditioners over a three-year period, were confirmed.

    Statements MPs

    DISY MP, Giorgos Karoullas, in his statements after the meeting, spoke of the Ministry of Education's “highest priority” to proceed with the act of installing air conditioners in all classrooms and underlined the need to implement the planning with the allocation of the necessary funds.

    “Our children are entitled to projects and not announcements”, noting that in the 2024 budget the amount for air conditioners is zero. “The approval in the budget of the other necessary resources is expected and not the implementation of this plan through opportunistic savings”, he added. “The three years announced for the installation in all school units are many and disproportionate in relation to the intensity of the need that exists and is recorded by everyone,” he concluded.

    The Member of Parliament of AKEL, Christos Christofidis, in his statements pointed out that the conditions in the schools are such that, not only cannot a lesson be held, but children and teachers are also at risk of heat stroke . He also referred to the fact that these days, in the heat, final year students are writing pan-Cypriot exams, which will determine their future.

    “The most important thing that came out of today's session is that if there is political will and the money, the issue can be resolved in a short period of time,” he said. He also pointed out that on the issue of air conditioners, announcements had been made by the Government in the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, before the announcements of November 2023.

    He assured that they will continue to press for the implementation of the plans and announcements, “not now when the temperatures are high, but throughout the year”, as he said. He also noted that in addition to air conditioners, there is also the issue of canopies for outdoor areas in schools. , said in his statements that the Minister should review the planning, so that the necessary electrical upgrades can be made immediately in any schools that need them and the installation of air conditioners.

    “Students cannot after 10 :00 in the morning to do class in this heat,” he said, adding that if this situation continues, they will recommend that the children attend school and the parents who pick them up be paid like during the COVID period by the state.< /p>

    “I am optimistic that the President of the Republic together with the Minister will understand this and will change the planning and design so that money can be found from other savings for the €45 million, but also to provide those supplies to the students and teachers to fulfill their mission”, he concluded.

    Source: cyprustimes.com

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