Government respects right to education for T/C
Nicosia, Sep 27 (CNA) – Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, in a written statement on the opening of a Turkish Cypriot elementary school in the southern coastal town of Limassol, said today that the government has introduced special measures from the school year 2004-2005 aiming to upgrade the elementary education of Turkish Cypriots, Roma and other Turkish language people who live in the town.
The Spokesman said that these measures included the appointment of two Turkish Cypriot teachers at the 18th Elementary school to allow Turkish-speaking students to be taught in their mother tongue, their culture, religion and literature.
It also decided to provide free food (breakfast and lunch) and school equipment.
Furthermore, he said, the government has decided to set up a Turkish Cypriot elementary school in Limassol to provide Turkish speaking families in Limassol the ability to choose the way they think the educational needs of their children are best met.
The Spokesman said the cabinet took the relevant decision on August 25 2005 and all necessary actions were taken to allow the school open in the school year 2005-2006.
Chrysostomides said all parents were informed on time to choose where they wanted to send their children this year and all informed the government that they wanted to register their children at the 18th elementary school like last year.
Chrysostomides said that the government informed the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces on its intention and proposed that the force and the Cypriot government conduct a common survey to ascertain the wishes of the families. However, UNFICYP said that this was not necessary and that it preferred the families of the Turkish-speaking people in Limassol have the option to register their children at the Turkish Cypriot school if they wished so.
The government’s policy on the issue, the Spokesman said, was based and continues to be based and led on the principle of respect of the right to education, according to the Republic’s constitution and the relevant international conventions.
For this reason, it has taken all necessary measures to cover the educational needs of Turkish Cypriots and other Turkish-speaking people in Limassol, in such a way that it will fully respond to their wishes. A total of 53 children of Turkish speaking families are attending classes at the 18th Elementary School in Limassol, of which 31 are attending all day lessons.
The Spokesman said that independent of the families’ wishes to register their children at the 18th elementary school, the Turkish Cypriot school will be available in the event some families wish to register their children at it.