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EDUCATION

While strolling around Lofou, you will, among others, come across the old Primary School, a beautiful stony building which used to be vibrant with children’s voices up until 1973. In the school yard there is a bust of Ioannis Stavrianou, a fighter of 1821, as well as a statue of Elias Kannaouros who fell in battle during the Turkish invasion of 1974. Today, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Education and by other organised parties concerned with education for the school building to be exploited. At the same time, cultural and artistic events of the Community and the Association of Expatriates take place in the school yard.  

So, let’s find out more about education* in Lofou, starting from the 19th century:

At the beginning of the 19th century, very few pupils, all male, used to attend school. Their teachers were actually the priests of the village who would teach them without receiving any sort of compensation. The students would learn ecclesiastical hymns from the psaltery and other ecclesiastical books. The lesson would usually take place in the fields, where the students used to work to help the priest. When the weather did not permit for the lesson to take place outdoors, the students would gather at the priest’s house. There, they would learn to write using some plates since notebooks did not exist back then. Some of the priests who taught at the beginning of the 19th century were Father Elias Hadjivasili, Father Loizos Hadjipanayioti and Father Stylianos Christofi.     

Around the middle of the 19th century (in around 1855), as Loizos Philippou preserves, a private school owned by Hadjicharalampis Loizou, a teacher from Lofou, began operating. Hadjicharalampis Loizou taught ecclesiastical letters until 1868 in his house in the countryside. In the years to follow and more specifically from 1898 until 1880, music teacher Achilleas Nicolaides from Vasa Koilaniou taught in Lofou.

At the end of the 19th century, a Virgins’ school and a Boys’ School began operating. In particular, during the English occupation primary education in Lofou develops. According to testimonies given by older residents of the village, the Boys’ School started operating before the Virgins’ School. In the beginning of the 20th century and more specifically in 1917 began the construction of a school building that would house the Boys’ School. The decision for the construction of the school is linked to the increase of the school population. Although the construction of the school began in 1917 and a relevant announcement was made in “Eleftheria” newspaper in 1920, the completion of the building was delayed due to WWI. Its completion was undertaken by the ecclesiastical committee. At first, the new premises housed the Boys’ School, while later the Virgins’ School was also housed there, this way forming the Mixed Primary School of Lofou.

At this point, it is worth giving a description of the school building, which constitutes, even today, one of the prides of the Community. What stands out is its imposing entrance with the pillars made of tufa stone and its construction. In particular, the building has been constructed based on a technique which was followed during the construction of the houses of the village. It was built using both processed and unprocessed stones. The latter were placed on the base and top of the walls, for example on the doors and the windows. Originally, the school building consisted of the principal’s office and two classrooms with large windows. However, as it is mentioned below, a short expansion of the building took place later on. 

Before the construction of the school building, the Boys’ School used to be housed in private residences which were rented by the School Committee, whereas after 1910 it was housed in halls which belonged to the church of Panagia and were located in the premises surrounding it. During 1885-90, the teacher at the Boys’ School was paid in foodstuff and materials such as bread, wine, olive oil, white cheese and logs, whereas later on and as of 1926, the teachers were given a salary. The teachers who served at the Boys’ School were Costas Constantinides, Nicolaos Ioannides, Zenon Christodoulides and Thrasyvoulos Nearchou.  

As far as the Virgins’ School is concerned, one can obtain data about it for the period between 1912 until 1937 from two books, namely “Mitroo” (1912-37) and “Mathitologio” (1921-37). Only women teachers used to teach at the Virgins’ School and most of them were single. The teachers were either Virgin School graduates or holders of a Nursery School Teacher’s degree (they used to study in Athens). The School Committee was responsible for appointing the teachers, for their salary and for renting the houses in the village where the women teachers lived. Among the women teachers who stood out at the Virgins’ School were Maria A. Georgiadi and Stasa Kyprianou.    

The operation of the Mixed School, as it has already been mentioned, began in 1937 and was terminated in 1973, when the number of students began to decrease. During the first years of its operation, the numbers of students kept rising. For that reason, a third classroom was added to the school building. In the school year 1937-38, two teachers were appointed, Nicolaos Ioannides and Stylianos Papacleovoulou, as well as female teacher Stasa Kyprianou.

In 1945, the Primary School of Lofou was renamed into Primary School of Ipsona – Lofou since students from both villages attended the school. In the years to follow, the students would constantly move because their families’ agricultural occupations changed. In 1960, a lot of residents of Lofou moved to Ipsonas or the city of Lemesos, which resulted in a significant fall in the number of pupils. In 1973, as we have already noted, the school stopped operating after its last pupils graduated. Since then, the school has remained sealed and gloomy.

 

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