The Education system in Cyprus consists of the following stages:
One-year pre-Primary education has recently become compulsory and it accepts children over the age of 3. This level of education aims to satisfy the children’s needs for the development of a wholesome personality in an experiential environment which enables them to recognize their capabilities and enhance their self-image.
Primary education is compulsory and has a duration of 6 years. The aim of Primary Education is to create and secure the necessary learning opportunities for children regardless of age, sex, family and social background and mental abilities.
Secondary General Education offers two three-year cycles of education – Gymnasio (lower secondary education) and Lykeio (upper secondary education) – to pupils between the ages of 12 and 18. The curriculum includes core lessons, interdisciplinary subjects and a variety of extracurricular activities.
Instead of the Lykeio, pupils may choose to attend Secondary Technical and Vocational Education which provides them with knowledge and skills which will prepare them to enter the workforce or pursue further studies in their area of interest.
At present, public and private universities operate in Cyprus.
1. The University of Cyprus
2. The Open University of Cyprus
3. The Cyprus University of Technology
1. European University- Cyprus
2. Frederick University- Cyprus
3. University of Nicosia- Cyprus
University of Cyprus:
The law stipulating the establishment of the University of Cyprus was passed by the House of Representatives in 1989. The University admitted its first students in 1992. Today it offers programmes of study at the first (Ptychio), second (Masters) and third (Doctorate) cycle level. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is applied to all programmes. The University of Cyprus issues the Diploma Supplement since 2004. A first cycle programme consists of 4 academic years of full time study (240 ECTS) and leads to the award of a Ptychio. Each academic year consists of two semesters. In parallel to attending a first cycle programme, a student may enroll in a minor programme consisting of 60 ECTS. A minor programme may be completed within the normal duration of the first cycle programme (4 academic years) provided that the student will be in a position to undertake a heavier workload than normally and given that some courses could count both towards the minor and the major programme of studies.
The Apolyterion (School Leaving Certificate) or equivalent qualification is a prerequisite for access to a first cycle programme. The competitive entrance examinations, the Pancyprian Examinations, rank the candidates for admission to a particular programme. Admission of special categories of students, over and above the quota for standard entry, is done through special University procedures on the basis of social, economic and other criteria. Admission to a minor programme is done through internal procedures of the Departments offering the programmes.
A second cycle programme (Masters programme) consists of three to four semesters of full time study (90-120 ECTS credits), and leads to the award of a Magister Artium Degree or Magister Scientae Degree. A thesis is not an obligatory component of second cycle programmes. In case there is a thesis, the workload corresponding to it cannot be more than half of the overall workload of the programme. The minimal qualification for admission to a second cycle (Masters programme) is a Ptychio or equivalent qualification
.A third cycle programme (Doctorate programme) has a duration of 3 to 8 academic years and leads to the award of a Didactoriko (Doctor of Philosophy Degree). A Doctorate programme consists of postgraduate courses corresponding to at least 60 ECTS credits, a comprehensive examination, presentation of a research proposal to a three-member Committee, and the defense of an original research Thesis in front of a five-member Examination Committee, comprising at least one external member. The minimum qualification for admission to a third cycle degree is a Ptychio or equivalent qualification. A doctorate student that has a Magister or equivalent degree may be partially or fully exempted from the required courses.
The law stipulating the establishment of the Open University of Cyprus was passed by the House of Representatives in 2002. The Open University accepted its first students in September 2006 in two postgraduate programmes of study by distance learning: “Education Studies” and “Management of Health Units”. Today, the Open University of Cyprus offers, additionally, a postgraduate program leading to a Master in Information Systems and an undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor in Hellenic Civilization.
Cyprus University of Technology:
The law stipulating the establishment of the Cyprus University of Technology was passed by the House of Representatives in 2003 and accepted its first students in September 2007. The Cyprus University of Technology is a conventional type university which offers programmes of study at the following Faculties and Departments.
Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences and Environmental Management
- Department of Agricultural Production and Food Science and Technology
- Department of Environmental Management
Faculty of Economics and Management
- Department of Hotel and Tourism Management
- Department of Commerce, Finance and Shipping
Faculty of Applied Arts and Communication
- Department of Communication and Internet Studies
- Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts
Faculty of Engineering and Technology
- Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
- Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Technology
- Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Health Sciences
- Nursing Department
The House of Representatives has approved law 109 (I)/2005 which regulates the establishment and operation of Private Universities in Cyprus. The law entered into force on July 29, 2005. The first private universities in Cyprus began their operation after a relevant decision by the Council of Ministers on 12 September 2007. These are the following:
1. Frederick University
2. European University – Cyprus
3. University of Nicosia
State Higher Education Institutions:
Higher education in Cyprus is also provided by a number of State Higher Education Institutions, and an even greater number of Private Institutions of Higher Education, none of which has university status. Regarding the State Institutions of Higher Education, the Higher Technical Institute offers programs of a technological direction that have a duration of three academic years and lead to the award of a basic higher education degree that provides access to second cycle programs . The rest of the State Institutions of Higher Education, offer vocational programs of study with a duration ranging from one to three academic years. These programs do not provide access to second cycle programs . The Apolyterion or equivalent qualification, is a prerequisite for access to the programs offered by State Higher Education Institutions and candidates for entrance to a particular programs are ranked according to their performance in the Pancyprian Examinations.
Private Institutions of Higher Education:
Currently, 25 Private Institutions of Higher Education are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture some of which have branches in other cities in Cyprus, besides Nicosia. Private Institutions of Higher Education do not have university status but they offer both academic and vocational programs of study at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The competent body for quality assurance and accreditation of the programs offered by Private Institutions of Higher Education is the Council for Educational Evaluation-Accreditation (Symvoulio Ekpedeftikis Axiologisis Pistopiisis, SEKAP), which is a member of ENQA. At present, a number of programs offered by the Private Institutions, have been evaluated and accredited by SEKAP. These programs fall into the following categories:
- Academic and Vocational programs of study lead to the following qualifications: Certificate (1 year), Diploma (2 years) and Higher Diploma (3 years). For access to these programs the Apolyterion or equivalent qualification is a prerequisite.
- First cycle programs (4 years), lead to the award of a Bachelor Degree. For access to these programs the Apolyterion or equivalent qualification is a prerequisite.
- Second cycle programs (1 to 2 years) lead to the award of a Masters Degree. The prerequisite for access to these programs is the Ptychio, or Bachelor, or equivalent qualification.
The competent national body for the recognition of higher education qualifications is the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Degrees (Kypriako Symvoulio Anagnorisis Titlon Spoudon, KYSATS). KYSATS recognizes equivalence, or equivalence-correspondence for first cycle titles, or just equivalence for postgraduate titles (second or third cycle). KYSATS may also recognize joint degrees.
Quality Assurance Agency:
The establishment of a Quality Assurance Agency has beenapproved by the council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus. The aim of this Agency is to promote quality assurance in both the public and the private institutions of higher education, through various measures which include external accreditation and development of internal quality culture. These efforts are in line with the Berlin Communique, the ENQA Standards and Guidelines on QA, as accepted by the Bergen Communique and the Agreement on Quality Assurance in the EU.