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Republic of Cyprus
The Education System in Cyprus

The education system in Cyprus is centrally managed by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC). Formal initial education is provided through public and private institutions of pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher education, as well as public post secondary non tertiary institutions. It is compulsory for ages from four years and eight months to fifteen years. Public education is free from the age of four years and eight months to the age of eighteen.

Early childhood education and care is organised in two discrete systems based on the children's age, namely the pre-school system and the pre-primary system. The pre-school system comes under the remit of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (MLWSI) and it involves day nurseries, where care and supervision is offered to children under the age of three. The pre-primary system comes under the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture and it involves kindergardens, which are open to children aged between three years to five years and eight months.

Primary education comprises a six-year course of general education beginning at the age of five years and eight months.

Secondary education is offered in two different types: secondary general education and secondary technical and vocational education. Secondary general education consists of two cycles of studies of three years duration each cycle, the first one being the Gymnasium and the second one the Lyceum. Secondary technical and vocational education comprises the second cycle of secondary education only and it is open to pupils who have successfully graduated from the Gymnasium.

Post secondary non tertiary education is offered to graduates of secondary education at the Post Secondary Institutes of Vocational Education and Training. These are public institutes, which started operating in September 2012.

Higher education is provided both at university and non-university level. Universities are academically autonomous bodies.
There are four categories of higher education institutions in Cyprus: public universities, private universities, public non-university level institutions and private non-university level institutions.

Public universities are founded as public corporate bodies to be academically autonomous governed by their Council and Senate. They are funded by the government, but they can raise money from other sources as well. All public universities in Cyprus are dedicated to excellence of teaching and research. The specific objectives and mission of each university are stated in its respective founding Law.

Public universities are multi-faculty institutions, each Faculty made up by Departments. Faculties and Departments are administered by Boards headed by Deans and Chairpersons respectively. They offer academic programmes at Batchelor, Master and Doctoral (Ph.D.) level. The Open University offers short professional courses in continuing education as well. The language of instruction is Greek and Turkish - the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus.

Private universities are founded as private law organisations of speculative or non-speculative character, registered with the Ministry of Education. As provided by Law 109(I)/2005 on Private Universities, the mission of each private university is the advancement of science, knowledge, learning and education through teaching and research for the benefit of society as a whole; the cultivation, transmission, implementation and exchange of knowledge through science; and, the provision of graduate and/or postgraduate education of a high standard that accepts international recognition. Private universities raise their funds from tuition fees.

Non-university level public institutions operate under other than the Ministry of Education and Culture ministries. Each ministry is wholly responsible for the organisation and regulation of the institution(s) under its remit, thus setting regulations for the type and level of courses, admission requirements, curricula and student enrolment, in collaboration with the Board of Management, Director and Faculty of the institution.

There are currently five public institutions operating at the non-university level. Their aim is to offer high-level education and training and produce high-calibre professionals in each respective field, according to the needs of labour market in Cyprus. The language of instruction is English or Greek.

Non-university level private institutions of higher education are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture, according to Law 67(I)/1996, which provide for their establishment, operation and control. Each institution sets its own aims and internal regulations with the approval of the Ministry. They offer vocational and academic programmes at various levels of study, such as the Certificate level (one-year duration), the Diploma level (two-year duration), the Higher Diploma level (three-year duration), the Bachelor level (four-year duration) and the Master level (one-year or two-year duration). Fields of study cover Secretarial Studies, Business Administration, Banking, Accountancy, Hotel Management, Computers and Engineering. Their programmes of study are accredited by the Council for Educational Evaluation and Accreditation – SEKAP (ΣΕΚΑΠ).

For more information on Higher Education and Universities, please visit

Adult education is offered in the form of formal education, non-formal education and vocational training. There is an abundance of courses on offer for adults, either in the category of formal, non-formal or vocational education, aiming to satisfy different needs for continuous and lifelong learning. Responsible for adult education and training are mainly the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Security. Formal and non-formal institutions of graduate, postgraduate, secondary and vocational level are the providers of adult education and training.

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