The government washes its hands of the students’ housing problem
Statement by AKEL MP Christos Christofias after the meeting of the Parliamentary Education and Culture Committee
28 September 2022
We discussed today in the Parliamentary Education and Culture Committee the huge issue of student’s housing problem in Nicosia and especially in Limassol. We have reached the tragic point where students who have secured a place in one of our country’s public universities have to turn it down because of financial hardship and their inability to afford the high rents that exist, particularly in Limassol, but now also in Nicosia and the rest of the free areas of Cyprus.
The conclusion that we have drawn from the statements made by all representing the authorities is that the government of the ruling DISY party, whose successors want to be presidential candidates Averof Neofytou and Nikos Christodoulides, is washing its hands of yet another issue. It has put the entire burden of responsibility for finding solutions to address the problem on universities themselves, without the government itself taking any specific measure to support students and their families.
AAKEL put forward specific proposals, supporting the demands of the organised student movement. More specifically AKEL proposed:
- Increasing the funds of the state student care and specifically the living allowance with a specific amount, which the Ministry of Education refused to include in the next State Budgets.
- Implementation of a rent subsidy scheme based on socio-economic criteria.
- Government intervention with local government bodies, the Cyprus Electricity Authority (AHK) and the Water Supply Councils, so that similar decisions can be taken to reduce the cost of services to students on the basis of socio-economic criteria.
These are concrete measures that can be taken as soon as possible and which the government refuses to listen to.
We have also proposed long-term measures in relation to the provision of further financial support from the state to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation for the elaboration of specific programmes that they can offer to students. We also called for the state’s support to speed up the procedures for the construction of the Second phase of the Student Halls of Residence of the University of Cyprus and Technical University in Berengaria.
Asked by a journalist to comment on the proposal to house students in hotels, AKEL MP Chr. Christofias replied:
We believe that DISY’s proposal is a patchwork solution, which may enable some students to stay in hotels. We will have to see in practice how this proposal will be implemented and what the response will be, but we do not think that this is the immediate solution that will alleviate the problem. On the contrary, we believe that the proposals that AKEL has put forward are the ones that will really provide support to people to breathe and be able to study in our country.