Specifically on the 31rst of May, last day of the structured dialogue sessions for the European Youth Week, the subject of \\\"Inclusion & Equality\\\" was addressed in an open dialogue with policymakers and distinguished persons in the field as well as representatives of the youth. Mrs. Elena Tanou and parliament member Mr. Rikkos Mappourides. The open dialogue in combination with the responses of the questionnaires were focused on the causes of inequality and on how the economic crisis affects the different social levels of our society, as well as analyzing the definitions of equality and diversity in different sectors such as the workplace, education and etc.

According to the results of the questionnaires, youth believes that two basic reasons of inequality in the Cypriot society is nationality and gender. A significant percentage of the responses revealed that multiculturism and diversity are under graded in Cyprus  and in the youth discussion emphasis was given in the lack of these elements in the educational system so that we could fight these issues. Emphasis was given on empowering meritocracy on all authorities for equal treatment and effective operation. Lack in ways of managing susceptible groups of society and the unworthy representation of them from policymakers.

The development of the discussions with the policymakers were made possible because of their willingness to hear our opinions and suggestions. Ours opinions and suggestions were discussed and we were informed about how the system works. An important allusion was made on behalf of Mrs. Tanou about women rights in the work area. Unfortunately until today, women (in smaller scale though than in the past) do not claim their rights and just resign in matters of their carriers. Opportunities arise from everywhere, in Europe, but there is lack of information from authorities.

Important points were elaborated by Mr. Mappourides about the education system in Cyprus. The gaps in the educational system for the creation of more active citizens were highlighted. The immergence of xenophobia in schools is a fact.

Our suggestions and proposals were focused on the promotion of European programs  that dominate in the principles of equality and diversity with correct information. Educators should give emphasis also on volunteerism. Cultural exchange between students within such event will bring this change towards good. Authorities and the state should give importance and include innovative ideas in the education system because it a minion of our general society and it will bring the desired results further in the society. 

However, Mr. Mappourides statements were very important about the quality level of education that our universities offer in Cyprus. From him the negative opinion that the quality level of University of Cyprus is very low making allusions that the only way that these gaps could be reached only if student were studying in England. Any University has gaps as any institution in Cyprus in many sectors but nevertheless it holds a high level of academic study around the world. It is important to say that as a public institution it is not possible to acquire position with money as for the entry criteria for each position is very competitive and demanding as well as selected with strict procedures. If the politicians apply such severe critique in a quite new established university institution which has already established a very important rank in the world academic environment and in its evolution, why don\\\'t they invest more grants in research and development for its evolution? It is sad for graduate students of the specific institution who gave big academic fights to gain their position there to undergo such critique and let other politicians speak in such a way their opinion about the quality level of Cyprus Educational Institutions. It is for sure that we must bring a new breeze and way of thinking in our country, to introduce innovative countries either by studying either with our employment abroad so let us not flatten our foundations.

In conclusion, we extract that the current situation general in the European stage along with this economic crisis has shaken ideas and principles. Our difficulties must bring changes and better opportunities for our evolution. Youth must acknowledge their strength and power to rightfully demand their rights and resist retrospective atiitudes.  

 

Prepared by: Ioulia Saraki