Ed­u­ca­tion... and the lack of it

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The lack of proper ed­u­ca­tion and the cur­ricu­lum at all schools in Cyprus, both pub­lic and pri­vate, is once again the fo­cus of at­ten­tion with un­war­ranted ar­gu­ments by politi­cians over the les­son on govern­ment.

Op­po­si­tion and anti-so­lu­tion voices have de­cided af­ter 40 years that they are no longer com­fort­able with the federal sys­tem of a re­uni­fied Cyprus, but fail to of­fer any al­ter­na­tive, sug­gest­ing sim­ply that we should re­visit the whole is­sue and avoid the sa­tanic An­nan plan, even though the UN-pro­posed blue­print is dead and buried.

When rul­ing DISY’s wise man of ed­u­ca­tion, Ni­cos Tornari­tis, pro­posed that the les­son on govern­ment in schools be en­hanced to in­clude more ma­te­rial on federal sys­tems, ev­ery news­pa­per hack and politi­cian de­cided that this was a con­cealed method to re­vive the long-gone plan. The rea­son, they said, it was re­jected by an overwhelming 70% of the pop­u­la­tion a decade ago was that An­nan’s 8,000page doc­u­ment put to ref­er­en­dum was an abom­inable at­tempt to im­pose a federal sys­tem on the (Greek) Cypriot people.

Un­for­tu­nately, our politi­cians have a very short mem­ory and refuse to ac­knowl­edge that all pres­i­dents, start­ing from Arch­bishop Makar­ios, have been call­ing for a “federal, bi­zonal, bi­com­mu­nal” so­lu­tion, which is of­ten re­it­er­ated by the pow­ers that be and we tend to pat our­selves on the back, sat­is­fied that we have in­ter­na­tional sup­port in our just cause. Even suc­ces­sive Na­tional Coun­cils have unan­i­mously adopted this ba­sis of a so­lu­tion, which makes one won­der if it is not the same politi­cians who at­tend these meet­ings.

But this is ex­actly why Tornari­tis made the sug­ges­tion for an ad­di­tion to the cur­ricu­lum, so that the present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of young­sters get to choose for them­selves what is best for Cyprus and not what our se­nile politi­cians (of all ages) keep on im­pos­ing on us.

How­ever, if, as one teacher ad­mit­ted, the les­son on govern­ment takes up 90 pages in mod­ern-day text books (which are out­dated and re­fer to the Soviet Union as a federal ex­am­ple!) then why do our young­sters re­main clue­less about the prospects of a Cyprus so­lu­tion? Is it the stu­dents who are not learn­ing or the teach­ers who are not teach­ing? Surely, with an is­sue of such great im­por­tance, our young­sters ought to be aware of dif­fer­ent forms of govern­ment, the vari­ants of federal sys­tems and what has been agreed in the case of Cyprus? Why, then, when asked, many are blank over what hap­pened on July 15 and 20 in 1974? Or even what led to these events, start­ing from our patch­work Repub­lic in 1960 im­posed by Bri­tain, Greece and Turkey?

It is ridicu­lous, to say the least, that stu­dents go to school for 12-13 years and later on at­tend univer­sity to learn about “safe ca­reers” in ac­count­ing, law, maths or medicine, with no idea what­so­ever about his­tory, govern­ment and hu­man rights, only to find a job and then end up pay­ing a trainer to con­duct a work­shop on ethics in the workplace. Do our chil­dren not have an opin­ion of their own?

Ob­vi­ously not, and that is what should con­cern us more than any­thing.

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