KTÖS Raises Concerns About the Sustainability of Special Education Schools
The Cyprus Turkish Teachers' Union (KTÖS) has alleged that education in special education schools for students with special needs is not being conducted in a sustainable manner. KTÖS Secretary-General Burak Maviş called on the Ministry of National Education to collaborate with the union and special education school administrators to address and find solutions to this issue.
Maviş stated that during the previous academic year, they had experienced firsthand that extending the duration of education in special education schools without addressing physical deficiencies in school buildings, personnel shortages, reorganizing educational programs, and completing necessary preparations did not serve any meaningful pedagogical purpose or provide social and educational benefits. He reminded that in their special education report published in July, they had asked the question, "How can we provide the best education for every child under equal conditions by accepting their individual differences and showing respect for them?"
According to Maviş, during the summer months, the Ministry of Education did not take any steps for special education students and special education schools to answer this question.
Maviş summarized the current situation as follows:
There is a shortage of special education teachers both in resource classes within primary schools and in special education schools. This shortage should be resolved by appointing special education teachers who have succeeded in the Public Service Commission exam held in August and are awaiting assignment.
Shortages of janitors and caregivers continue in schools. There is still no childcare worker in Gazimağusa Special Education and Vocational Training School and R.R. Denktaş School for the Visually Impaired. The staffing shortages in schools should be urgently addressed.
Some of the continuing students in special education schools need to take medication after nutrition education (at 09:00 in the morning) and after lunch. These medications are prescription drugs prescribed by child and adolescent psychiatrists, which require careful attention to dosage and timing. They aim to improve the student's concentration, increase their perception, and control their mobility and aggression. Teachers should not be burdened with responsibilities beyond their duties, such as monitoring and administering these drugs. It is imperative that specific hours for the presence of a healthcare professional (preferably a nurse) in special education schools are established through necessary arrangements.
The Ministry's indifference to students with special needs regarding lunch meals, as well as the Ministry's refusal to cover the cost of lunch, is unacceptable.