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30 September, 2023
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Archbishop favours scrapping five religious school holidays

Church recommends scrapping some religious school holidays to allow for more class time and church trips


Archbishop Chrysostomos says religious holidays on school days no longer serve their purpose, suggesting that five of them should be eliminated while also taking a jab at union teachers.

“We have come to realise that very few if any educators make use of the religious school holidays for the reason they were instituted in the first place,” said the archbishop.

In a letter to Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris, Archbishop Chrysostomos said that the teachers “don’t go to church and don’t remind their students to go to church on those specific days.”

“These days are just used as school holidays,” the Achbishop said.

The archbishop said scrapping these holidays would mean some teachers could escort students to church while it would also give teachers more time to teach for the rest of the day

The school holidays in question, according to the letter, include fixed days such as November 13, January 30, and June 11, as well as Ascension Day and a local saint day.

Chrysostomos also clarified that November 13, his name day, could be the first to go, adding that the church had never requested such a school holiday in the first place.

The archbishop said scrapping these holidays would mean that some teachers could escort students to church, on an optional basis, while it would also give teachers more time to teach for the rest of the day.

Archbishop Chrysostomos recently had a fallout with union teachers, condemning them for their positions on school reform and teaching hours.

Union teachers are clashing with the minister, saying the government is trying to shift some hours and take away their non-instructional time in order to push for budget cuts.

But Hambiaouris says there are no plans to cut the overall budget, except to move money around in order to pay teachers for their instructional time and save up for other activities, such as dealing with student delinquency, managing school safety, and addressing health issues.

Hambiaouris said 67 educators, who either teach fewer hours or none at all because of their union activities, end up costing the state over €700,000.

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