An art teacher in Limassol who was fired after being found guilty of 10 disciplinary offences lost her appeal against the dismissal at the Supreme Court.
She was accused of hitting a female student, inappropriate behaviour towards students, insulting students and swearing during lessons. The offences were reported to have taken place in 2006 at the time when the teacher was working in two Limassol high schools.
The Supreme Court, in its decision said “After an investigation by an Education Ministry official it was found that the teacher hit a female student on May 15, 2006, and publicly insulted another female student.”
The teacher, according to the probe, also insulted the mother of a student when the mother was asking for explanations for an incident in which her son was involved.
The findings presented in court said that “the teacher behaved in an inappropriate way towards students, she insulted them using various expressions and gestures, breaking the code of professional conduct for educators.
She also threatened students that she would lower their grades if they said anything about her behaviour.”
Witnesses in court included parents, students and colleagues as well as a ministry official.
The teacher denied all accusations at the Education Service Committee on August 4, 2009. She claimed that it is illegal for students to speak as witnesses in front of other students in court. The teacher was found guilty and was fired on October 11, 2009 but appealed the decision.
High-school teachers union Oelmek Chairman Themis Polyviou told The Cyprus Weekly that this case proves that re-evaluating the current education system is an absolute necessity.
“This case proves Oelmek’s position on the Education Minister’s proposal to establish a new education system. What is needed is not a new system to appoint teachers; we need to see how to improve the existing system and not establish a new system in a period when there will be no more appointments of teachers,” said Polyviou.
He added that the new system for appointment of teachers proposed is based on exams. However an examination process cannot determine whether a teacher is suitable to teach, as this case proves.
“The ministry must improve the existing system and implement certain provisions, and if there are certain teachers who are not suitable to teach, they should be sent home.”
He added that “no exam system, or new system for appointments can determine a teacher’s behaviour in class. The Supreme Court did the right thing in handling this case.”