Education in Cyprus is provided on a state and private basis at all levels from nursery school up to and including higher education and vocational/professional studies. State schools teach in the Greek language and follow the National Curriculum developed and instituted by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The academic year for pre-primary and primary schools is divided into three semesters, whereas the academic year for secondary schools is divided into two semesters. All state schools are closed during Christmas, Easter and summer.
Secondary School classes begin at 7:30 a.m. and finish at 1:35 p.m., whereas Pre-primary and primary school classes begin at 7:45 a.m. and finish at 1:05 pm, with the exception of primary schools participating in the Ministry’s «All Day Unified School» in which they finish at 4:00 p.m. Also other pre-primary and primary schools that participate in the Ministry´s «Optional All Day School» finish their classes at 3:05 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. Private schools publish their timetables on request.
A catalogue with all public and private schools of primary and secondary education can be found at the official website of the Ministry of Education and Culture at www.moec.gov/schools_info.html.
Public education in Cyprus is compulsory and free from the age of 4 years and 8 months up to the age of 15; kindergartens can accept children from the age of 3. Children attend the nearest public school to where they reside provided they are enrolled during the registration period; alternatively, they may enroll in the nearest school with available places for students.
Extra language support is provided to all pupils attending primary and secondary schools whose mother tongue is not Greek; there is no charge for these lessons. English is taught from the 1st grade of primary school (once a week in grades 1-2 and twice a week in grades 3-6). For class A and B of Gymnasium, 3 periods of English are offered per week and 3.5 periods for class C. For class A of Lyceum, 3 periods are offered. For class B and C of Lyceum, English is an optional Foreign Language (2 periods or 6 periods).
Children can also attend private schools – the decision to attend public or private school is entirely up to the parents. There are no free English language private schools in Cyprus; each school charges tuition. In addition to English, there are private schools in Cyprus that teach in other languages.
«Adult Education Centers», as well as «State Institutes of Further Education» provide free Greek language courses to both students and adults during the afternoon or night. A number of Municipalities participate in the «Open Schools» pilot program of the Ministry of Education and Culture providing also courses for learning Greek.
In its efforts to offer educational help to Cypriots living in other countries, the Ministry of Education and Culture provides books and other educational material to schools for the children of overseas Cypriots and other Cypriot organisations abroad. The Ministry also offers children from Cypriot communities the opportunity to visit Cyprus, and develops, presents and supports programmes related to Greek language and culture.
More detailed information regarding the Departments of Primary Education may be found at www.moec.gov.cy/dde or at the telephone number 00357-22800661/713 and of Secondary Education may be found at www.moec.gov/dme or at the telephone number 22800630/631.
For matters regarding grants for the children of repatriated Cypriots studying at private Secondary Schools may be found at the telephone 00357-22800704/600 (Mrs Maria Anastasiadou).
The higher education system in Cyprus is shaped by the European Higher Education Area as outlined by the Bologna Process. Higher Education in Cyprus consists of public and private institutions of Higher Education at University and non University level.
The majority of undergraduate students are admitted at the University of Cyprus and the Cyprus University of Technology on the basis of their results in the Pancyprian Examinations. All graduates from the secondary schools of Cyprus and all Cypriots of the diaspora around the world have the right to participate in those examinations. Entry of postgraduate students takes place mostly on the basis of academic results.
Prospective students of the Open University of Cyprus can submit their application on line, through the university's website. The minimum entry qualifications for each program of study are found on the specific university site. Students having the minimum entry qualifications for a specific program of study are selected randomly.
All private universities follow similar guidelines on admissions for their prospective students. Study grades, competence in computers and English language and other qualifications are the main criteria of acceptance to the Universities Departments.
S.EK.A.P – K.Y.S.A.T.S – E.A.I.P
The Symvoulio Ekpedeftikis Axiologisis Pistopiisis (S.E.K.A.P – Council for Educational Evaluation – Accreditation, www.moec.gov.cy/sekap) is responsible for quality assurance and for accreditation of the programs offered by private institutions of higher education. S.EK.A.P is also the council for educational evaluation and accreditation. KY.S.A.T.S (Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications - www.kysats.ac.cy) is the competent authority of the Republic of Cyprus for the recognition of higher education qualifications, awarded by recognized institutions of higher education. The Epitropi Axiologisis Idiotikon Panepistimion (E.A.I.P – Evaluation Committee of Private Universities - www.ecpu.ac.cy) evaluates applications for the establishment and licensing of private universities in Cyprus.
The Cyprus government offers scholarships on the basis of academic, financial and social criteria to Cypriots and Greeks of the Diaspora who study at the University of Cyprus and the Cyprus University of Technology. The academic affairs offices and the student welfare services of these two institutions can provide you with current criteria, deadlines and application forms.
More detailed information regarding the educational system of Cyprus and the prospects and choices for school attendance at all levels of education (Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary and Higher) and information pertaining to students’ rights and obligations in our schools may be found under the link “A guide to Education in Cyprus” on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture (www.moec.gov.cy).
Ministry of Education and Culture