Education in Cyprus
Cyprus may be one of the smallest nations in the European Union but it is also a nation that has a high proportion of graduates and highly skilled people. The Ministry of Education and Culture regulates the Cypriot education system and also handles all foreigner enrolments into the Cypriot education system. It is compulsory for all children from the ages ofsix to sixteen.
Classes are generally taught in Greek, except in private schools which are mostly English-speaking. Since Cyprus is now in the EU and open to new expats, state schools provide extra intensive Greek lessons for children who do not speak the language. School uniforms are compulsory in all Cypriot schools (private schools have strict rules about uniforms, public schools are more flexible and allow pupils to wear jeans and t-shirts).
Cyprus has one of the best educational systems in the EU but after the country was bailed out financially it remains to be seen what impact austerity measures will have upon the nation’s education system. Cut backs will almost be a certainty though.
The school day
The typical school day in Cyprus begins between 7:30am and 08:00am and usually ends between 1:15pm and 2pm. Pupils typically attend seven 40-minute lessons with three breaks in between. The heat of the Cypriot afternoon is the reason why schools finish so early. The most important holidays during the school year are Christmas and Easter and each has a two-week break. Summer break starts in June and finishes in September.
Classes are generally taught in Greek but schools do provide intensive Greek lessons for expat children who do not speak the language. The curriculum is focused on Modern Greek and mathematics, as well as health and environmental education, artistic expression and modern technology.
Children aged between 12 and 15 must attend a secondary school. The curriculum is the same for all pupils and includes topics such as classical Greek, maths, religious studies, English, French, civics, history, science, geography, art and technology. Upper secondary education in Cyprus is non-compulsory but mandatory for those students who wish to continue their education in a Cyprus university.