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Education and Schools

Cyprus - Education and Schools

Education in the Republic of Cyprus is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The system is divided into pre-primary education (age 3 to 6), primary education (age 6 to 12), secondary education (age 12 to 18) and higher education (age 18+). Full-time education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 15. State-provided schooling, including higher education, is paid for through taxes.

The parallel system of accredited independent schooling is also available, so parents may choose between these two systems, to educate their children by any suitable means. In this case, it's important know that university and private school fees are not covered by the state. Higher education usually begins with a four-year bachelor's degree. There are also two options for postgraduates: the master's degree, which is either taught or by research, and the doctorate, which is a research degree that usually takes at least three years of postgraduate education. All universities require accreditation in order to issue these degrees.

Primary education

This level of education in Cyprus is compulsory for all children. Children begin primary school at age six, although there is a pre-primary option for children aged five. Primary school lasts for six years. After finishing it, children receive a certificate of attendance.

Middle education

These three years of compulsory education occur at middle schools, also known as gymnasiums or gymansio. There is still a single stream of academic subjects.

Secondary education

Secondary education has 3 different forms, although all successful students can easily qualify to enter university. Lykeion schools include the curriculum which remains academic. Technical schools are mainly concentrated on scientific subjects, while vocational schools focus on workshop practices and industrial training. A variety of certificates can be awarded in secondary education.

Vocational education

Ongoing vocational training in Cyprus is the responsibility of the Human Resource Development Authority. This institution is responsible both for presenting courses and setting standards.

Tertiary education

Tertiary education includes both private and state universities in Cyprus. These include the University of Cyprus, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the Open University of Cyprus. The University of Cyprus is the oldest of those three, established in 1989. The approximate number of students is 6000 and the teaching is mainly in Greek.

Expat education in Cyprus

As the Republic of Cyprus has state-sponsored education, private and international schools, both public and private systems are open and accessible to expats. Parents usually choose the system according to their expectations, considering cost, language and curriculum. Most expats with children choose to relocate to southern Cyprus. Those who go to the northern region usually choose a private international school, the best-known of which is the English School of Kyrenia.

The majority of expat parents find that the main problem when sending their children to state schools in Cyprus is the language barrier. Younger children are known for their ability to adapt quickly, but older kids and parents themselves often struggle to get to the level where they can communicate fluently. People who intend to stay in Cyprus for the long-term often aim to help their children to immerse themselves in Cypriot culture.

Expat parents with older children can always consider hiring tutors and taking extra lessons. The Cyprus school-leaving certificate, called the Apolyterion, does not always equate with certain levels of tests in the US and the UK. So, students who want to attend tertiary education in these two countries need to take some additional exams.

Private and International schools in Cyprus

The majority of expats who live in Cyprus, especially those whose first language is English, send their children to private international schools. In these schools, the most beneficial thing is that the children are surrounded by others who speak their language. They often have a better choice of extra-curricular activities in these schools as well.

All larger cities in the country, such as Paphos, Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca, have private schools. The problem is that the curriculum taught and the standard upheld varies considerably from institution to institution. Private schools are usually costly, with tuition that ranges from 2000 to 8000 Euros per year. It all depends on the age of the child and the requirements of the school. Parents have to think about supplementary costs like registration and enrolment fees, books, uniforms and school bus expenses when sending their children to these schools.

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