'Europe' as an alibi: An overview of twenty years of policy, curricula and textbooks in the Republic of Cyprus - and their review
SourceEuropean Educational Research Journal
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This article compares discourses on ‘Europe’ in Greek-Cypriot policy, curricula and textbooks over approximately the last twenty years, from the early 1990s, when Cyprus applied for European Union (EU) membership, until 2011–12, the school year during which the recently revised curricula were gradually introduced to schools for implementation. This period spans both before and after the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU in 2004, the year when an educational reform was also launched. As this reform has been mainly materialised through curriculum review processes, and as ‘Europe’ has been repeatedly invoked to legitimise and explain its necessity, it renders Cyprus a useful case study, within the problematique of this special issue, in terms of exploring the shaping and governing of a European education policy space via ‘European’ curricula. Findings indicate distinct differences and continuities between the two periods; although ‘Europe’ increasingly provides a framework to legitimise curricular innovation towards tolerance and respect for diversity, human rights and democracy, reconciliation and inclusion, it is not systematically addressed in curriculum texts in locally relevant ways to alleviate existing tensions between ethno-national and state identities which have historically fuelled inter-communal conflict and division in Cyprus. Moreover, the construction of citizens seems to increasingly draw from the knowledge economy paradigm and from discourses of efficiency and competitiveness, despite a parallel (and more publicised) agenda for social justice and inclusion in the recent curriculum review documentation.