Nicosia CID officers on Wednesday spent hours at the Education Ministry in an attempt to track down a missing file on the government's controversial agreement on the Aristotelis Digital Library.
Education Minister Kyriacos Kenevezos on Tuesday revealed that the file had gone missing.
The admission came in the course of a heated House Watchdog Committee meeting discussing the legality of the commercial agreement behind the programme's creation. The police visit to the ministry yesterday was part of an investigation ordered by Kenevezos.
Aristotelis allows state school pupils in specific years and their teachers to, for a fee, access textbooks in electronic form via tablet computer. It was born out of an agreement between the Education Ministry and a private company and supported by the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta).
Akel MP Irene Charalambidou had initiated the debate following concern the standard process of tenders was bypassed in the private company's selection.
Auditor General Chrystalla Georghadji said there were indications the private company that created the project may have been under consideration by the relevant Education Ministry committee weeks in advance of the Ministry's public expression of interest. Georghadji also suggested the Attorney General take a look into the process.
Speaking to the press yesterday, Akel central committee member Christos Christofides accused the Education Ministry of completely mishandling the issue and said the party agreed with Georghadji's suggestion that the Law Office of the Republic handle the matter from now on.
Teachers unions have expressed concern that the Aristotelis Digital Library would be unfair to poorer pupils since, as well as paying for the programme itself, they would also need to own an appropriate tablet computer. They suggested that if the ministry was adamant on introducing the programme, it should fully subsidise it for all pupils.
The teachers also protested the way the application was being made available through schools, saying this approach would turn educators into vendors.
Pupils union PSEM also issued an announcement yesterday calling for "equal opportunities to be given to everyone instead of discrimination being created between us based on our family's finances".