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20 July, 2024
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Heatwave revives debate over school air conditioning

10-month delay leaves schools without A/C; classes suspended amid rising temperatures


The ongoing heatwave has reignited the debate over the installation of air conditioners in Cyprus schools.

On September 7, 2023, President Nikos Christodoulides, alongside Education Minister Athena Michaelides, promised air conditioners would be installed in all schools within three years. Ten months later, no progress has been made. In response to the extreme heat, the Ministry of Education decided to close schools on Friday, though Pancyprian exams will continue as scheduled.

Classes will be suspended at 10:45 a.m. on Friday after consultation with organized parent groups, a decision that has faced backlash due to the inconvenience for working parents. A letter published by Kathimerini highlighted the frustration, with one mother stating she would take her child to the Ministry for supervision.

Meanwhile, PDED President Myria Vasileiou criticized the Ministry's decision to proceed with secondary school entrance exams amid the heatwave during an intervention on state radio.

At a recent Education Committee meeting, it was revealed that a €45 million budget is required to implement the three-year plan to install air conditioners in all schools. The initial installation in 50 schools, with a budget of €1.6 million saved from the 2023 budget, is set to begin soon. However, electrical upgrades are necessary for nearly all schools to support the air conditioners' power needs.

Director General of the Ministry Marina Hasapi assured that these upgrades will proceed in the coming period. The first 50 schools selected for air conditioning installation, based on specific criteria, are divided by district, with installations expected to begin when students leave for the summer break.

Education Minister Athena Michaelides confirmed that the School Boards are preparing to start installations in about ten days, beginning with Nicosia and Limassol due to their higher temperatures. The school year ends on Wednesday, July 19.

Cyprus  |  education  |  heatwave  |  schools

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