An education system that inspires indifference

3 mins read

If we believe in the Education Ministry, the school system is a breeding ground for diversity, inclusion, excellence and radical thinkers.

Students are exposed to the finest teachers, modern classrooms, and a conducive learning environment free of bullying, peer pressure and falling academic standards.

No matter how deep you look, there is certainly no racism, discrimination or draconian behaviour that belongs to the purveyors of 18th-century didacticism.

Be assured there is no cheating, deception, bending of the rules, lies or neglect of those with different needs and attention spans.

The education system acknowledges difference, embraces it and will not rest until it produces well-rounded individuals to go out into the world and create, lead, and contribute.

Have no fear; Cyprus schools dare to achieve where others imitate.

It drives society forward to be climate-sensitive, failure averse and eradicate racism.

State teachers are at the vanguard of a brave new world where common sense, public duty and volunteerism trump selfish, greed-grabbing bigots.

This is the delusionary currency the government wants us to trade – to believe it has everything under control and cares about social injustice.

Oh yeah, it cares so much; there is a huge toxic landfill not registered on any map where all the dirty secrets are kept.

If it’s ever discovered, you will find all the superficial public inquiries, probes, and disciplinary hearings done for appearance’s sake and incinerated.

The establishment takes it as a given that nobody cares as long as you feed them the lie that we are all in this sinking rust bucket together.

It’s okay to be a little bit corrupt, a little bit racist, a little useless and a little bit politically challenged.

We can all pretend the health service is chugging along just fine; the police are on patrol to protect us, the army takes care of its own, schools produce results, and politicians listen to the public, not their pockets.

On top of everything, President Nicos Anastasiades is ready to solve the Cyprus problem, which is why he’s spent five years doing the exact opposite.

Still, he told NATO and Erdogan he was a thoroughly reliable chap – but all they could hear were Russian bombs falling on Ukraine – so maybe next time.

I forgot, there won’t be the next time – somebody else will have another crack at pretending to be our saviour while guzzling the elixir of power from a magnum of champaign.

As much as politicians don’t care about us, they think we DO care about them – which is why they believe we will drop everything to watch a Presidential debate of five privileged guys talking about themselves.

We should be more concerned about the Education Minister finding nothing untoward or disturbing about a headteacher denying a Syrian student his high school diploma because of his ‘haircut’.

Allegedly, the haircut was a pretence, and the teenager’s migrant background triggered the unsavoury incident at the Larnaca school.

Institutional racism

What should have been a proud moment for the boy and his family turned into an unnecessary sideshow about institutional racism.

The same teacher is said to have denied another female student in the past who just happened to be black.

Following complaints by some parents and unflattering media stories about our backwards-looking schools, the Education Ministry did some digging.

Of course, the ministry deplores racism in any form, but in this instance, the head teacher had every right to deny the boy his diploma ceremony.

According to the minister, the teacher abided by the rules that make schools function properly.

There was also some lame excuse about another parent bringing firecrackers to the event, which could have caused a riot.

So, be assured there is zero tolerance for racism in our schools; everyone is treated equally unless you are black, poor, gay or different.

And because the education system marks itself, it cannot see the prejudice ingrained among its staff who are not fit for purpose.

Children have a right to be treated without prejudice, but schooling is not judged on results, ability or adaptability.

Cyprus fails most international tests, lagging on any given metric because teachers are not encouraged to excel or behave.

After all, like all public sector workers, the system cannot fail them; it can only reward incompetence.

If you are under the illusion of living in a democracy – forget it – criticism is silenced, nobody gets to know the truth, and it is what they tell you it is.