The new generation is facing huge changes, at home and abroad.
It becomes more imperative to answer the following questions in an ever-changing world: is education at the level we all wish it to be? Are schools in a position to meet today’s challenges?
Over time, we have heard different replies to the question about the kind of education we need.
Many announcements have been made, but the changes introduced in education did not yield the anticipated result.
My position is that the only way, the only answer to expedite the changes our country needs is Progressive Reform in our education.
However, what are the main elements of such a reform?
The times we live in have created new demands about the content of education, the teaching and learning methods.
The fast expansion of new technologies and our EU membership offer strong new possibilities and a wide spectrum of careers for the young generation: freedom of movement, educational opportunities, new types of employment, work from home and remote education, and life-long learning.
Our young people need those aptitudes which will help them develop their skills to be happy and have a career in an environment without borders.
Society today demands self-education over learning by heart and assimilating readily available information.
Consequently, the student with multiple skills is the one who has the ability to adapt, process knowledge and apply this knowledge in practice.
As they grow older, such a student will be able to advance development further forward with critical thinking and the ability to adapt to the new environment.
Being subjected to exams every four months cannot be the answer to progress towards these goals.
Technological advancement, automation and digitalization are constantly changing market demands and the needs of society.
Most jobs evolve and demand continuous training. Many posts are abolished. New fields of professional expertise open up and create prospects.
I propose Progressive Reform to link technology with humanistic education and combine our cultural identity with the achievements of the international community.
The content of educational programmes must support the principles of equality, tolerance, dialogue, and empathy through the development of the student’s critical ability.
Moreover, we should start early; that is why I support upgrading education in kindergartens and pre-primary school children.
Day-long schooling provides positive answers to many of today’s “pending issues”, such as assimilating school material better, containing out of school private lessons, supporting the weaker students, and facilitating working parents.
This is why we need to develop day-long schooling fast. We all recognize its importance, but we cannot be satisfied with its implementation so far.
We also need to think about beginning a dialogue with the Highest Educational Institutions in the country to introduce Cyprus Foundation courses in tertiary education.
Such a move will have double benefits: first, students will no longer be stressed out about entrance exams and second, it will help bridge the gaps which future students have.
At the same time, we also have to think about utilizing a more effective way, school installations, when schools are closed.
These sports installations are a kind of idle wealth when they are not being used.
During the afternoons, communities, associations, different groups or individuals could have access to them for their activities.
The Progressive Reform of our education is a long overdue demand put forward by society.
Parents provide their children with all available means to give them the opportunity to get educated.
Additionally, the state makes a huge investment. The end result is not satisfactory.
We need political will, a programme for Progressive Reform, plans, decisiveness, and people who inspire us to believe that we can implement this Reform.
Progressive Reform in education and digital transformation are the solid pillars of evolution in modern societies, on which we can rely to modernize our country.
Cyprus deserves better.
By Achilleas Demetriades https://achilleas.eu