Pupils will shortly discus taking further action to protest the recent introduction of school bus fare after Communications Minister Tassos Mitsopoulos insisted that even temporarily suspending them would be “problematic.
Because of Cyprus’ commitments to the Troika, suspending the newly introduced school bus fares until further discussion would be difficult, Mitsopoulos told the House Communications Committee yesterday.
Disgruntled pupils say they will discuss further action in protest following their January 9 one-period walk out, organised two days after the new fares were enforced. Pupils, parents and teachers remain concerned that the new €15 per month fee is too steep for cash-strapped families.
Mitsopoulos yesterday said that his Ministry had to come up with €10 million and that the only way to collect the amount was through the new fares. He also gave assurances that he would personally re-evaluate the measure within the coming days but said that the number of pupils using the buses was growing every day.
Cyprus Coordinating Committee of Pupils (PSEM) and Confederation of High and Technical School Education Parents Association representatives at the meeting had suggested the fares be suspended until a dialogue determining which pupils could be exempt was complete.
PSEM president Panayiotis Monoyios said: “What we want from the Ministry is for there to be a social dialogue so that we can see what can be done about this measure. Although the Communications Ministry has realised that many pupils cannot pay the €15, it will not accept suspending the measure as we recommend.”
“For this reason,” Monoyios continued: “we will be led to taking further action because we believe that it is unacceptable and inhumane that some of our schoolmates cannot get to school and are being deprived of their education.” He said a decision on what action would be taken would be made during PSEM’s next meeting but did not say when this would be.
The Communications Committee will meet again to discuss the matter in two weeks.