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20 July, 2024
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Minister Michaelidou affirms Cyprus' commitment to European schools

Cyprus commits to European schools objectives for EU Presidency

Newsroom / CNA

Cyprus has the intention to prioritize the aims of the European Schools System the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2026, Minister of Education, Sport and Youth Dr. Athena Michaelidou has said.

In her welcoming address on Friday at the handover meeting of the Presidency of the European Schools that took place in Nicosia, the Minister said that the European Schools provide a seamless education for students, fostering not just a European education through the European baccalaureate, but instruction in both the chosen language and in their native language, adding that this is a unique educational system.

Despite the fact, she said, that Cyprus does not host a European School, it is our intention to prioritize the aims of the European Schools System during the Cyprus presidency.

She said that Cyprus we will be focusing primarily on three priorities. Firstly, providing a pathway to improving the quality of the working environment and teachers’ levels of well-being, secondly, building a respectful and supportive school community that fosters a sense of meaning and purpose for all the students, thirdly, looking at education as a critical implementation tool for sustainable development and finally, responding to the administrative challenges that may arise with a view toward addressing the needs of the European Schools system.

"With great pride, Cyprus will assume the Presidency of the European Schools for the first time. This year, our country celebrates its 20th anniversary since EU accession. Although relatively new to the EU, Cyprus adds its ancient history into the kaleidoscope of this organization, a perspective that is both classic and contemporary" she stressed.

The Minister noted that education has always been a priority of these ancient and modern cultures, dating back to the ancient Hellenic world, of which Cyprus was a part.

"Many Greek philosophers have extolled the virtues of education, including Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras and Plutarch" she said, and shared a quote of Thales, which best aligns with the priorities of the Cyprus presidency "The happiest ones are those with a healthy body, a wealthy soul and a well-educated nature".

"Many of you know that the ancient Greeks promoted the virtues of a healthy body and a healthy mind, as a pathway to living well. Thales expands on this by determining that to be happy, one not only has to take care of one’s body to possess a “wealthy soul” but also to cultivate one’s mind through education" she explained.

Michaelidou said that Thales’ reference to the “soul” points to personality traits. "Therefore, a “wealthy soul” is one that reflects magnanimity, generosity and patience. Fostering these aspects in the school environment is fundamental to the success of education itself, as it prepares students to confront and overcome difficulties and challenges" she said.

By a “well educted nature”, she went on to say, Thales conveys that a well-taught person has the willingness and capacity to seek knowledge and to keep on learning. Therefore, a happy person is open-minded.

"These are the values that we must instil in our students. The universal concept of well-being (in Greek, ευημερία) is an important aspect that impacts the entire school environment from administrators to educators to the students. Well-being absolutely impacts the quality of education and the school experience for all stakeholders" she said.

Cyprus  |  education  |  EU

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