Cyprus aspires to become an established educational and research centre of excellence in order to achieve sustainable growth and support all sectors of the economy. The Ministry of Education and Culture is converging all necessary reforms and is greatly supporting and facilitating FDI in Education and Research.
The Cyprus educational system is centralised and fully regulated by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 2015, Cyprus easily exceeded two of the headline targets for Education set under the Europe 2020 strategy: the percentage of entry leavers from education and training as well as the tertiary education attainment rate. According to the latest available data, Cyprus has the highest tertiary education percentage within the EU (2015: 54.6% in Cyprus compared to 38.7% EU average), while public expenditure on education was 5.8% in 2014 compared to a 4.9% EU average.
Cyprus Education at a Glance
Compulsory education in Cyprus lasts for ten years and covers the ages from approximately 5 years (pre-primary education) to 15 years (end of lower secondary education). Education is free for all ages up to 18 years.
Early childhood education and care is organised in pre-school and pre-primary systems. The pre-school system involves day nurseries for children under the age of 3. The pre-primary system involves nursery schools for children aged 3-6. Primary education is offered in primary schools and comprises a six-year course of general education beginning around the age of 6. Lower secondary education, between the ages 12-15 is offered in the gymnasium and it comprises a three-year course of general education.
Upper secondary education for children aged 15-18 years, is offered in two different types:
- Secondary general education, which is offered at lyceums and includes both common core and optional subjects of specialisation
- Secondary technical and vocational education which is offered at technical schools and includes a theoretical and a practical stream of apprenticeship.
The vast majority of graduates of upper secondary education continue their studies at tertiary level of education, either in Cyprus or abroad.
Post-secondary non-tertiary education programmes, lasting two years, are offered to graduates of secondary education (18+) at Post Secondary Institutes of Vocational Education and Training.
Higher education is offered in public and private institutions, both at University level and non-University level.
Private secondary schools are established by private bodies or individuals and they are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture which is responsible for their supervision.
The Republic of Cyprus has established a favourable higher education framework for the operation of public and private institutions targeting quality, investing in infrastructure and attracting highly qualified human talent. Cyprus, as a member of the Bologna process, focuses on employability, lifelong learning, internationalisation, student and staff mobility with great emphasis in enhancing quality education.
Currently, there are 3 public and 5 private universities with the average duration of undergraduate courses being four years and the language of instruction either Greek or English. There are also five public higher education institutions with no university status, offering courses ranging from one to three academic years. Around forty private higher education institutions offer academic and vocational programmes of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The main source of funding for public universities derives from the national budget, fees paid by post-graduate students, donations and national or EU research programmes. Private institutions receive their funding mainly from student fees and research contracts.
Quality assurance falls under the authority of the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education that aims to enhance internal and external quality assurance procedures as well as accreditation matters in accordance with European Standards and Guidelines. The Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications is the national competent authority for the recognition of higher education qualifications in Cyprus.
Public Universities: Cyprus University of Technology, Open University of Cyprus, University of Cyprus
Private Universities: European University, Frederick University, Neapolis University, UCLan Cyprus, University of Nicosia