Education for Foreigners

Education for Foreigners


The education system in Cyprus is of a very high standard and accessible to all residents. Cyprus offers a wide range of schools from pre-school kindergarten (1-4 years eight months), pre-primary (4 years 8 months to 5 years 8 months), primary schools (6-12 years), secondary schools (12-18 years), colleges (16-18 years) and universities (18+). The Cypriot government wishes to ensure that children from other countries continue their education whilst they are in Cyprus. In addition teachers receive training to enable them to respond adequately to the teaching of pupils from other language backgrounds. A number of private schools (Greek, English, French, and Russian-language) are also available. Higher education is available through 6th form colleges and recognized English language institutions. Attendance at all Greek schools is free of charge. 

The Education system in Cyprus consists of the following stages:

Pre-Primary Education:
Pre-Primary Education is compulsory for all children between 4 8/12 – 5 8/12 years old. Children are also accepted 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:
Primary education is compulsory for all children over the age of 5 8/12 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 Education:
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. There are also private English and French-language secondary schools.

Higher Education:
At present, public and private universities operate in Cyprus. Non-Cypriots may study at a college in Cyprus, for which a high school leaving certificate is required. Most of the Colleges teach in English and are based on the American or English Education System. Cypriot Colleges offer 2-year Diplomas, 4-year Bachelors Degrees and some offer Masters Degree courses.
Due to the expansion of higher education in Cyprus and good quality assurance mechanisms, Cyprus has become a higher education destination for a significant number of international students. During the academic year 2008 - 2009, 10,765 international students studied in Cyprus, accounting for approximately 35% of the total student population). 1,013 of those international students came from China.

Public Universities
1. The University of Cyprus
2. The Open University of Cyprus
3. The Cyprus University of Technology

Private Universities
1. European University - Cyprus
2. Frederick University - Cyprus
3. Neapolis University - Cyprus
4. University of Nicosia - Cyprus

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. 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 program 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 programmes of study at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Quality Assurance and Accreditation
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.

Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications
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 been approved 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.