Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said Tuesday that the Cyprus Electricity Authority has begun the process of insulating and installing solar panels at 405 schools across Cyprus, allowing schools to take on the extra electricity load of air conditioners that are desperately needed as the heatwave rages on. Currently, 107 schools have solar panels.
Prodromou added that in cooperation with CYTA, the Ministry is also taking steps to digitalize the entire education system.
To fund the Ministry’s endeavours, it will be applying for funding in cooperation with the Finance Ministry from the EU’s Recovery Fund.
The new school year
During Tuesday’s press conference, Prodromou fired back at accusations of the Ministry’s unpreparedness for the coming school year set to begin on September 14, stressing that planning for the new school year had begun at the end of July.
On the controversial matter of desks, Prodromou said that the Ministry’s solution of conjoining two double desks is temporary, and was affected by the market’s low supply of single desks.
“The plan is to remove the conjoined desks, when it becomes possible to procure single desks,” Prodromou said.
According to the Education Ministry’s plan, 50,000 single desks are needed to cover the needs of primary schools islandwide, while secondary schools require 27,000 single desks, and pre-schools need 3,000. It said that if all current desks are replaced with single desks, 95,000 of which will be required in total, the cost would be around 2.9 million euros, which procuring such a number of single desks will require months.
In cases where certain grades prove unable to adhere to rules governing the necessary distance between desks, the Education Ministry will move to separate those grades into two groups, with each group to attend school on a daily rotation basis. Alternatively, the Ministry may choose to instruct one group to attend school in the morning, with the second group to follow in the afternoon. Also an alternative included in the Ministry’s planning, is the option of dividing grades into two groups, with the group staying home to participate in classes via distance learning.
Additionally, the Education Ministry has also prepared for the worst-case scenario, where physical presence in schools will be completely suspended, with the academic year will take place via distance learning.
If a suspected coronavirus case emerges at a school, the person will be isolated until definitive results are issued. In the case of a positive result, the school will be shut down, disinfected, and will then be permitted to re-operate.