Fire safety inspections were conducted in only 80 out of 800 Cypriot schools, according to figures submitted at the House Education Committee.
President of the Committee Kyriacos Hadjigiannis said that authorities identified problems and security gaps in the inspections that they already conducted.
Their aim is to check and certificate all 800 schools and publicise inspection results in order to ensure transparency, he said.
“A different approach is needed in Cyprus because it is a country with many peculiarities,” he added, while also calling for an integrated security policy that will encompass all schools and school activities.
“To achieve this, authorities must get rid of the trivial approaches of simple plans and guidelines.” Each school should predict, identify risks, take precautionary measures and assign responsibilities on its own “so we can minimise danger”, Hadjigiannis said.
“Possible risks should not be limited to issues with buildings or pupil delinquency. Potential risk at schools should be managed on their basis, by the school itself,” he concluded.
AKEL MP Andros Kafkalias, in his own speech, said that the discussion showed that the government has a long way to go to reach a satisfactory level in the issue of school security.
He added that the Ministry of Education must implement legislation, identify gaps, as well as move forward with new legislation, emphasising the prevention of risks and not just managing them. “Institutional dialogue needs to lead to a comprehensive plan on health and safety issues in schools,” he said.
Finally, Solidarity Movement MP, Michalis Giorgallas said in his statement that the safety of pupils is a legal and moral obligation of the Ministry of Education, which should recognise pupils as workers at schools and apply the laws on safety and health at the workplace.