Teachers arrested for private tutoring

24th December 2004 at 00:00

Police in Cyprus say they are planning further arrests as part of a crackdown on after-school tuition by state-employed teachers.

Cypriot police have carried out a series of surprise raids on the homes of schoolteachers suspected of conducting illegal extra lessons. The first person to be arrested was a pensioner who spent his career teaching at a state-run school. Police found him teaching five students at his home in Larnaca, without a permit.

He now faces charges and a fine for running an illegal private institution.

The authorities say they are investigating 130 other suspected cases.

Teachers say they need the extra money because - as civil servants - their salaries are hopelessly inadequate. The school day in Cyprus ends at lunchtime and it is common for teachers from state-run schools to be paid by the parents of their pupils to give the children extra lessons in the afternoon.

Now the government says this practice must come to an end. It argues that pupils - who start school at 7.30am - are being placed under "intolerable pressure" and that private tuition undermines the principle of free state education for all.

Parents say that intense competition for university places makes it essential for children to take supplementary private lessons if they are to succeed academically.

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