Greek & Turkish Cypriot parties discussed the role of education in a Cyprus solution

The role of education in the solution of Cyprus problem was discussed at today`s meeting of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties in their regular meeting at the Ledra Palace hotel in the UN buffer zone in Cyprus’ divided capital Nicosia, with guest speakers the President of the Greek Cypriot teachers` trade union (POED) Filios Fylaktou and the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot teachers` trade union (KTOS). Sener Elcil.

Reading the joint communique the Ambassador of Slovakia in Cyprus, Oksana Tomova said that the issue was proposed by the hosting Turkish Cypriot Social Democratic party. The parties discussed how education in Cyprus can and should positively enhance the solution of the Cyprus problem and emphasized the need for an education system which will develop the special characteristics of the students and, at the same time, to develop intercultural education, peaceful coexistence and combating against chauvinism throughout the whole island.

“Political parties noted that education should be instrumental in instilling a culture of peace and a climate of inclusiveness. The parties understood and underlined that trade unions, schools, institutions and teachers should do their best to foster mutual respect and understanding of equality and tolerance.

The next regular meeting of the leaders and the representatives of the political parties will be held on 18 March 2015 at the Ledra Palace.

The secretary of international relations of the hosting Turkish Cypriot party SDP, Deniz Birinci speaking in greek noted that it is the first time that such a meeting resulted in an important and extended joint communiqué. All parties expressed their opinion regarding the role of education in both sides of Cyprus, for the present, the future and our history and stated that education has always had a negative role in the Cyprus issue, she added. Furthermore she said that they also discussed the issue of chauvinism.

After the events which took place between the two communities in the ’60s the communities unfortunately used education in a negative way and against each other the other, Birinci said. She pointed out that teachers` trade unions showed how they can lead the way for other NGO`s and political parties. “For the first time we were able to get a positive message for the T/c and the G/c for a common future, that we can have a united Cyprus with young people”.

The education of the 21st century in a free and reunified Cyprus should place emphasis on the development of the individual national characteristics of our children, told reporters the member of the Political Bureau and head of AKEL`s education office, Christos Christofides. At the same time education should contribute to the interculturalism, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and the common perception of belonging to a common state, the Republic of Cyprus, he added.

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