Organisation of the Educational System
There are four stages in the education system of Cyprus that are pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher. All the nursery schools will develop educational programs that follow the officially approved curriculum.
The nursery schools in Cyprus fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Culture and are split into three categories.
1) Public Nursery Schools
These nursery schools have their staff appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture which also finances the equipment. The responsibility of the buildings and basic equipment is the responsibility of parents associations or community authorities.
Teachers, teacher’s aids and domestic workers are all high school graduates. The domestic workers are hired by the parents associations or community authorities.
2) Communal Nursery Schools
These types of schools are registered by the Ministry of Education and Culture but are established and run by community authorities or parents associations. The Ministry of Education and Culture will supervise these schools and contribute a subsidy. The teaching staff will be qualified nursery teachers.
3) Private Nursery Schools
Private nursery schools operate according to the private school laws of 1971 and are established and run by individuals who have been approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Primary education provides six years of free compulsory education and is financed and administered by the government.
Primary schools will operate in every town or village in Cyprus that has more than 15 children. For those places that have less than 15 children, regional schools will operate serving a number of communities. Each school will have its own committee that is appointed by the local community in rural areas and by the government in urban areas.
There are different types of schools that offer the six year primary education that are:-
1) One teacher school – maximum pupil population of 19
2) Two teacher school – pupil population of 22-39
3) Three, four & five teacher schools – maximum pupils per teacher is less than 35
A majority of the larger schools are divided in to two cycles. Cycle A that consists of grades 1-3 and Cycle B that consists of grades 4-6.
Primary education does not have any written examinations. The evaluation of pupils is a continuous one. At the end of the six years, pupils will receive a leaving certificate.
Private primary schools are answerable to the Ministry of Education and Culture and are run on a non-profit basis by various religious groups.
Secondary education offers a six year programme for students aged between 12 and 18 and is compulsory for the first three years which are of a general education. For the last three years a more diverse and flexible direction is taken that caters more to the individual interests and aptitudes of the student. To complete the graduation requirements these last three years are compulsory.
Depending on the number of pupils in each educational catchment area secondary schools range from the small rural school to average and large sized urban schools and are co-educated.
The school day begins at 7:30am and concludes at 1:35pm. The school buildings are primarily used for the studies of the pupils attending the school but are also used for non-formal educational programmes that are held after the school day finishes.
The classes within a secondary school are organised by age. However a minimum level of competence is required to proceed from one class to another.
There are a number of private secondary schools in Cyprus that are either funded by local entrepreneurs, overseas organisations and religious denominations.
A majority of these private schools are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture and comply with particular curriculum requirements. They do, however, preserve a large degree of independence in their operation and even curricula.
Both private and public institutions provide higher education. Approximately 63% of secondary school students will proceed to study beyond secondary education. About half of these students will continue their studies in Cyprus the other half will travel abroad to foreign institutions.