Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou became the subject of criticism and ridicule on social media Tuesday, following a live video interview where he was seen smoking an electronic cigarette.
According to local media, Prodromou was a guest on a TV news programme on Monday where he expressed disappointment over the cancelation of controversial semester-based exams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Somewhere during his 12-minute interview, during which a number of hot topics on education were discussed, Prodromou was seen grabbing his e-cigarette and taking a puff discretely after answering questions on the implantation of semester-based exams in high schools that had been postponed.
Some private citizens took to social media to highlight the incident, along with some media criticizing the minister for taking a puff even during what were described as teleconferences with students, according to online comments picked up by media.
“He was puffing like an Egyptian,” a student was quoted as saying.
Prodromou, a strong proponent for semester-based exams in public schools, has often been the target of criticism and ridicule by teachers unions and high school students who oppose the new system
A YouTube channel known for satirizing political news in Cyprus posted an edited video on Tuesday around noon, showing Prodromou during the interview with added smoke in the room and a thug life soundtrack playing in the background.
A media outlet said it was “at least puzzling” in terms of what kind of example the minister was setting as the head of the Education Ministry.
Prodromou, a strong proponent for semester-based exams in public schools, has often been the target of criticism and ridicule by teachers unions and high school students who oppose the new system.
The minister argued many students had studied for their semester exam in January, adding it would have been a good opportunity to take the tests with proper planning.
“But it was finally deemed preferable to wait until the end and see how we will go forward with student grading,” Prodromou said.
Organized students, who have been fighting against semester-based exams, have staged walkouts last year, saying the new system was “too stressful” and not conducive to learning.