Negative stereotypes and prejudices gradually fall apart thanks to “Imagine” project, Zembylas tells CNA

Greek Cypriot Co-Chairman of the Bi-communial Technical Committee on Education Michalinos Zembylas has told the Cyprus News Agency that the Committee aims at enriching the Imagine project which is implemented with the participation of students and teachers from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot community, underlining that they have extremely positive indications that negative stereotypes and prejudices are gradually falling apart.

In statements to the Agency after the issuing of a press release saying that education programme Imagine which addresses primary, lower and upper secondary vocational schools managed to bring together 2,000 students and 194 teachers from 40 Turkish Cypriot and 40 Greek Cypriot schools from all areas of Cyprus during the educational year 2017 � 2018, Zembylas said that there was a positive response both from the participant children and teachers, who, within the framework of the programme’s evaluation, asked to expand their contacts in other ways (eg with more contacts, contact through e-mails or common projects etc)

Zembylas noted that there is the political will and the educational methodology to constructively enrich this project with new ideas, adding that “Imagine” will continue next year as well, with respect to each other’s sensitivities.

The project will be enriched with more activities that will build on the idea of peaceful co-existence, human rights, intercultural, anti-racist education, he added.

Furthermore, he said that as or next year teachers will also be trained with a view to more effectively engage in Imagine’s activities, recalling that participation in the project is taking place on a voluntary basis.

He stressed that the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Education is working keeping a low profile, step by step, and in the framework of a scientific approach, taking into consideration experiences both from the international environment, for the crucial role it plays in peace education, human rights and citizenship, and from the local sensitivities of each side.

We managed in a very short period of time to bring together hundreds of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teachers and children from all over Cyprus and we have extremely positive indications that negative stereotypes and prejudices are gradually falling apart, Zembylas added.

He said that despite the fact there is still quite a long way ahead we are optimistic that the new generation will be able to draw some positive experiences with a view to contribute to the building of a different reality in Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency