The Organization of the Education System in Cyprus
The Education System in Cyprus has four stages: pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher.1. The present state of Pre-primary education
Today there are nursery schools operating all over the island, all under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
They are the following three categories:
i. Public nursery schools
They are established by the Ministry of Education and Culture in collaboration with parents' associations and community authorities. The Ministry of Education and Culture appoints the teaching staff and subsidizes the equipment while parents' associations or community authorities have responsibility for the buildings and basic equipment.
They also employ the school cleaner who also acts as a teacher' s aid. Teachers in these nursery schools are all qualified. School cleaners/ teacher's aids are high school graduates.
ii. Communal nursery schools
They are established and run by parents' associations or community authorities and are registered by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Ministry of Education and Culture contributes with a substantial yearly subsidy. They are staffed by qualified nursery teachers and supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
iii. Private nursery schools
They are established and run by individuals with the approval of the Ministry of Education. They operate according to the private schools Laws 1971.
The above mentioned categories of nursery schools develop their educational programmes according to the officially approved curriculum. During the school year 1997-98 the pre-primary schools in operation are as follows:
223 Public nursery schools with 330 classes
113 Community nursery schools with 166 classes
99 Private nursery schools with 224 classes
The daily programme of the nursery school is a flexible succession of activity periods, decided by the teacher on the basis of programme planning, taking into consideration the needs, abilities and interests of the children. Its main elements are the following:
- 60 minutes of indoor free activities
- 15-20 minutes class work which includes discussion on a selected or incidental topic which the class is actively engaged in, learning initiated by a problem-solving situation. Sensory discrimination, concept formation and language development are central intentions of this period.
- 30 minutes washing, toileting and breakfast
- 50 minutes of free outdoor play, which might include 15-20 minutes of physical education, gardening and study of the physical environment. First-hand knowledge of the world gained through experience and scientific education are the main targets.
- 25-30 minutes story-telling, including poetry. Creative drama, miming etc.
- 30 minutes music: songs, experimentation with the use of percussion intruments, movement, music appreciation, creative activities with sounds, reproduction of music etc.
2. Educational Rules. According to the Education Acts for Elementary Education, Primary School means a state school financed and administered by the Government, which provides six year compulsory schooling to children who complete 5 years and 8 months of age. Gradually, over a two-year period, children will be entering class A’ of the Primary School at 6 years of age.
Primary education is free and compulsory. Compulsory education was introduced in 1962. In practice, primary education has been universal since 1945. Thus, the law for compulsory schooling confirmed what was already the case.
Schools function in every town or village wherever there are more than 15 children. Regional schools serve neighbouring communities with less than 15 pupils. Every school has its own school committee. In urban areas, they are appointed by the Government, whilst in rural areas, they are elected by the Communities. The six-year primary education is offered in the following types of schools:
One-teacher school (with maximum pupil population of 19), two-teacher school (with pupil population of 22-39), three-teacher, four-teacher, five-teacher school in which the maximum number of pupils per teacher is less than 35. Most of the big schools in urban centres are divided into two cycles: Cycle A' and Cycle B', comprising grades 1 to 3 and grades 4 to 6, respectively.
In urban areas and in big rural schools, Cyprus has adopted single-grade classes, while in small communities it has adopted multi-grade classes. At national level, the official pupil-teacher ratio is 18:1. In actual practice, schools with less than 20 pupils have one teacher and those with 20 to 39 pupils have two teachers. Teachers are allocated in such a way that in no case will any one teacher have responsibility for more than 34 pupils.
At the end of their six-year schooling, Primary School leavers receive a leaving certificate. The main evaluation procedure adopted is the continuous one. No written examination is given at any level.
Private primary schools are mainly run by various religious groups on a non-profit basis. They are liable to supervision and inspection by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
3. Special Education
The government policy is to encourage and support the integration of children with special needs into the ordinary educational system and provide them with the opportunity to grow and learn together with their "non-handicapped" peers. In the case of children with more severe needs, their local and social integration is supported by extra educational help offered by special or support teachers assigned to ordinary schools. Pre-school hearing impaired and autistic children are also partially integrated through their placement in special units attached to kindergartens and primary schools and part-time attendance of the ordinary class programme.
An exception to the integration policy is the form of education for children with severe mental, physical, sensory and emotional problems who are still segregated into special schools. Every effort, however, is made to encourage the development of links between special and ordinary schools and to promote social integration.
According to the 47/79 Law for Special Education, the Cyprus Government has undertaken responsibility for the education of children with special needs between the ages of 5 and 18 who fall into the following categories:
- moderately mentally retarded
- mildly mentally retarded
- slow learners
- emotionally disturbed
- deaf, blind and physically handicapped
According to the Law, the Council of Ministers is empowered to organise schools and programmes in any of the above categories.
This legislation also requires the establishment, in each educational area, of a multi-professional committee responsible for discussing at the local level, the cases of children referred to it and for suggesting to the Director of Primary Education possible placement and appropriate educational provision.
The participants in the Committee come from different professional backgrounds and a psychiatrist, a clinical physiologist, an educational psychologist and a social worker are also included as members.
Special attention has been given by the Government of Cyprus to the provision of equal education opportunities for every child. Pursuing this policy, the Government continues to run special schools for all types of special needs. During the school year 1991-92 the following schools for special needs were in operation:
There are five such schools which provide education and training covering the areas of self-care, occupational therapy, speech therapy and subjects that aim at developing the mental and other abilities of children to the maximum of their potential.
These schools organise a variety of programmes and activities for the development of the abilities of their pupils, their social adjustment and their vocational rehabilitation.
This school provides a variety of programmes and activities for children with the above type of needs.
All of the above schools are run by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
There are two such schools in Cyprus, one run by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the other by a charity organisation. Their teaching staff is appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Centre was established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance and it mainly aims at:
i. assessing the vocational abilities of disabled persons and offering vocational guidance and training to such persons for theiradjustment and integration into the world of work and society in general and,
ii. employing persons with very serious disabiities in sheltered workshops.
The teaching staff of the Centre is appointed by the Ministry of Education.
There are two such homes. The one, in Nicosia, is under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour (Department of Social Welfare Services) and the other, in Limassol, has been established and is run by charity.
Student population attending programmes in special schools is as follows:
On the other hand, a total of 1100 children attend individualized programmes in regular schools offered by 100 special educators.
In future, the following objectives will be pursued:
- In-service training of the teaching staff on a systematic basis will continue to receive extra attention.
- A new Educational Act for Special Education has been drafted and will hopefully soon be enacted by the House of Representatives.
4. Public General Secondary Education
Public secondary education offers a six-year programme of instruction for children aged twelve to eighteen. Having a general education orientation, it is compulsory for the first three years when children reach their fifteenth birthday. In the last three years, it follows a more flexible and diverse orientation, catering to individual inclinations, aptitudes and interests. Attendance is compulsory for the successful completion of graduation requirements.
The philosophy underlying public secondary education is two-fold:
A. the dissemination of knowledge with emphasis on general education and a gradual transition to specialisation in order to prepare students for an academic, professional or business career.
B. the development of a sound, morally refined personality in order to provide society with competent, democratic and law-abiding citizens.
Principles pervading the overall school milieu are:
1. the assimilation of national identity and cultural values
2. the promotion of universal ideals for freedom, justice and peace
3. the nurturing of love and respect for fellow human beings in order to promote mutual understanding and democracy.
Schools in Cyprus are co-education and range from small rural to average-sized regional and large urban, depending on the number of pupils to be accommodated in each educational catchment area.
School buildings are primarily used by one set of pupils attending secondary education and the length of the school day is 7:30 am to 1:35 p.m. Studies based on statistical data projecting future needs allow ample time for new school buildings to cater for any increase in demand. However, the same buildings are used for non-formal education programmes operating in the afternoons and evening.
The academic year commences on 1st September and ends on 31st August. It is divided in three trimester terms (10 Sept. - 10 Dec., 10 Dec.- 10 Mar.,10 Mar.-31 May). Lessons begin on 10th September and end on 31st May. They run on a five-day week, seven periods of 45’ duration per day. June is a month for examinations.
Classes are organised by age; however, regardless of age, pupils must achieve a minimum level of competence to proceed from one class to another. In the upper division, due to specialisation programmes, a number of classes in the last two years are subdivided into subject-oriented groups for certain periods per week.
Forty-five-minute lessons involving teacher-pupil interaction with whole-class participation, group and pair work are enriched with updated textbooks and audiovisual materials. Special projects encouraging self-study and team work are launched on special topics of interest relevant to the yearly educational aim set by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Prescribed subject textbooks corresponding to the syllabi for each class are supplemented by other teaching aids and materials produced by the Curriculum Development Unit or selected by teachers independently.
There has been a growing interest in linking secondary schools with the business world in an effort to provide students with an opportunity to experience actual work conditions in the field of their interest. A pilot project initiated in 1986/88 to accomplish this objective has been adopted with success: seventeen year - old students in the second year of Lyceum work for one week in a factory, firm, office, bank, hospital, farm or other establishment of their choice.
Educational and vocational guidance is provided on a continuous basis by specially assigned counsellors in each school. Intervention to tackle emotional problems faced by pupils from dysfunctional families is also the task of the counsellor who makes referrals and maintains close cooperation with community resources on a continuous basis.
Lower Secondary School (Gymnasio) caters to pupils aged twelve to fifteen and offers a broad spectrum of general education. A public primary school leaving certificate is required for entrance to the Gymnasium. Private foreign-language primary school leavers must undergo a battery of entrance examinations to enter public secondary schools. Uniformity and coherence in the syllabus allow for a smooth transition from primary school to the world of secondary education. In the last year of the Gymnasium, vocational guidance offers pupils an opportunity to familiarise themselves with career prospects, explore academic options after successful completion of the Gymnasium, and thus select the field or combination of studies they wish to follow in the upper division.
Upper Secondary School (Lykio), open to all pupils who have successfully completed the Gymnasium, offers diversity and encompasses three distinct programme curricula, all leading to a school leaving certificate, “APOLYTIRION”:
A. The Lyceum (Lykio) “LEM” i.e. “Subject Selection Lyceum”, offers pupils a three-year programme with three categories of subjects which are structured in five streams or combinations and include compulsory core subjects, specialisation and supplementary subjects. Pupils select a combination upon registration at Lyceum.
Combination I focuses on classical studies.
Combination II focuses on mathematics, physics and chemistry.
Combination III focuses on economics and mathematics.
Combination IV focuses on clerical skills and accounting.
Combination V focuses on foreign languages and social studies.
Academic and vocational guidance, provided by full-time counsellors throughout the pupil’s attendance at Lyceum, both in class sessions and on a personal basis upon request, allows pupils to become oriented with prospective employment opportunities and explore their aptitudes and aspirations in order to pursue the most suitable specialisation and supplementary subjects in their second and third year of attendance.
4.1. Private Secondary Education
A number of non-profit and profit-making secondary establishments ranging form missionary boarding schools to vocationally-oriented institutions and foreign language centres offer tuition in specialised fields. Funded by overseas organisations and/or religious denominations and local entrepreneurs, private secondary schools offer students the opportunity to pursue qualifications that would ensure:
a. their smooth transition into the professional sphere or the business world;
b. their admission to overseas Universities or local tertiary education establishments of their choice for diploma or degree studies.
Although private secondary schools maintain a considerable degree of independence in their operation and curricula, the majority of them are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture and comply with certain curriculum and facility requirements mandated by law.
Curriculum programmes for most private secondary schools extend over a six-year period with emphasis on general education for the first three years. Foreign language schools have six-or seven- year curriculum programmes with English, French, Italian or Arabic as the basic languages of instruction. A few private secondary schools are attached to primary schools providing an integrated twelve - or thirteen - year programme. There are no entrance examinations except in certain foreign language schools.
4.2 Public Secondary Technical and Vocational Education
Secondary Technical and Vocational Education represents about 21% of the total student population of the upper Secondary Education (ages 15-18 years old). It is offered to students who graduate from the Gymnasion at the age of fifteen and have elected to follow either the Technical or Vocational stream of Secondary Technical Education. The main difference between the Technical and Vocational streams is that in the syllabus of the technical stream more emphasis is given to science subjects, while in the syllabus of the vocational stream the emphasis is given to technological subjects, workshop practice and industrial training.
Upon completion of their studies, which have a duration of three years, graduates of the technical stream may be employed by industry as technicians, while those of the vocational stream may be employed as craftsmen.
Graduates of both streams may also proceed to further studies at tertiary Educational Institutions in Cyprus or Overseas.
4.2.1 The Technical Education stream comprises the following Engineering Departments, some of which are further subdivided into various specialisations:
(a) Mechanical Engineering Department
(b) Electrical Engineering Department
- Electrical Installations
- Electronic Engineering
(c) Civil Engineering Department
- Civil Engineering and Building Works
(d) Arts and Design Department
- Graphic Arts and Interior Design
- Garment Design and Dressmaking
4.2.2 Courses in the vocational stream are also of a three year duration. During the third and final year of their studies, the students of the Vocational stream follow a two-day per week scheme for industrial training. This scheme constitutes one of the main links between Industry and Secondary Technical & Vocational Education. This training programme is prepared in close cooperation with the Industrial Training Authority and is coordinated by Instructors/Counsellors, who visit the students working in Industry on a regular basis and ensure that they receive proper training according to the specifications and the prescribed programme of training.
Pupils of Hotel and Catering Courses (Waiting and Cooking) follow their own industrial training programme.
During the second term of the first year, they are placed at various hotels for two weeks. This induction training helps them to get an initial feeling for the Hotel and Catering Industry and to acquire a first-hand experience of the operation of the various departments of a hotel and catering enterprise and in particular the kitchen and the restaurant. On completion of the second year of studies, they are placed in hotels for twenty weeks as apprentice waiters or cooks, where they follow a prescribed programme of training in different sections or areas of their speciality.
This scheme operates in cooperation with the Industrial Training Authority, the Hotel Owners Association and the Trade Unions.
The Industrial Training Authority contributes financially to the successful operation of the scheme.
The above schemes are the main links between industry and Technical and Vocational Education.
In the case of the vocational stream there are four departments, with specialisation as follows:
(a) Mechanical Engineering Department- Machining and Fitting
- Automobile Engineering of Mechanics
- Sheet metalwork and Welding
- Plumbing and Welding
- Hotel Engineering Maintenance (Electrical & Mechanical)
(b) Electrical Engineering Department
- Electrical Installations
- Electrical Domestic Appliances & Refrigeration
(c) Civil Engineering and Building Works Department
- Building Science & Technology
- Engineering Drawing
- Building Works
(d) Arts and Design Department
- Furniture-making & Carpentry
- Hotel and Catering (Waiting & Cooking)
- Goldsmithing and Silversmithing
5. Higher and Tertiary Education
Higher education is provided by public institutions and private third level institutions which award diplomas below first university degree level.
The University of Cyprus started its operation in September 1992 and is now in its sixth year of operation with about 2000 students.
About 63% of all secondary school leavers continue their studies beyond secondary level. Of these, about 36% attend higher education institutions in Cyprus and the remaining 27% attend higher education institutions abroad.
During the academic year 1996-97 there were 9813 Cypriot students at tertiary institutions abroad distributed by country as follows:
Greece 43%, U.K. 28%, U.S.A. 19%, other countries 10%.
During the academic year 1996-97 there were 9 public and 20 private institutions of higher education in Cyprus, with a total of 9982 students, including 1675 (19%) overseas students.
Students at tertiary education institutions are distributed as 50% to public institutions and 50% to private institutions.
Foreign students in Cyprus mainly come from countries of the British Commonwealth and the Middle East.
Analytically, the types of tertiary institutions are the following:
5.1 The University of Cyprus
The University of Cyprus started its operation in September 1992 and currently offers programmes through the following Faculties and Departments:
(a) Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Department of Education
- Department of Foreigh Languages and Literatures
- Department of Turkish Studies
- Department of Social and Political Science
(b) Faculty of Pure and Applied Science
- Department of Mathematics and Statistics
- Department of Computer Science
- Department of Natural Science
(c) Faculty of Economics and Management
- Department of Economics
- Department of Public and Business Administration
(d) Faculty of Letters
- Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies
- History and Archaeology
- Classics and Philosophy
During the Academic year 1996-97 the total number of students was 2097 with about 10% foreign students.
5.2 Public institutions
In the current academic year, there are eight public tertiary institutions. Seven of these institutions offer courses at the sub-degree level in various fields of study. The other institution offers a post-graduate diploma course in Management for University graduates.
The public institutions are:
1. The Cyprus Forestry College of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It offers:
i. a two-year diploma course in Forestry
ii. a six-month post-diploma course in Forestry and
iii. a short training course in Forestry
2. The Higher Technical Institute (H.T.I.) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.
It offers three-year sub-degree level courses for the diploma of Technical Engineer in
i. Civil Engineering
ii. Electrical Engineering
iii. Mechanical Engineering
iv. Marine Engineering and
v. Computer Studies
The Institute also offers medical equipment courses of a ten month duration. It is a Regional Training Centre (R.T.C.) and has been designated as a WHO collaborating Centre for Training and Research in Management, Maintenance and Repair of Hospital and Medical Equipment.
A full-time foundation course of a one year duration is being offered when an adequate number of applicants satisfying the entrance requirement exists. Its objective is to prepare students for entry into the first year of the diploma courses.
3. The Higher Hotel Institute, of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. It offers:
i. A three year diploma programme in Hotel and Catering (specialising in food and beverage and room division)
ii. A three year diploma programme in Culinary Arts
iii. A one year diploma programme in Front Office
iv. A one year diploma programme in Housekeeping.
4. The School of Nursing of the Ministry of Health. It offers:
i .Basic courses of a three-year and a three-month duration in
(a) General Nursing and
(b) Psychiatric Nursing (Registered Nurses) and
ii. A post-diploma course of a twelve-month duration in Nursing Administration, Midwifery, Intensive Care and other specialised fields.
5. The Mediterranean Institute of Management (M.I.M.) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. It offers a Post-graduate Management Diploma programme of an eleven- month duration, which is repeated annually between September and July.
The programme offers the possibility for specialisation in one of the following management functions: General Management, Production Management and Marketing Management.
6. Public Health Inspectors School
The Public Health Inspectors School functions under the Ministry of Health, whenever arises a need to train public health inspectors. Its medium of instruction is the English language. The School offers a three-year course which leads to the award of the "Diploma of Public Health Inspector".
7. Tourist Guides School
The Tourist Guides School functions under the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, whenever arises a need to train tourist guides. Its medium of instruction is the Greek language. The School offers a one-year course, which leads to the award of the "Diploma of Tourist Guide".
8. Cyprus Police Academy
The Cyprus Police Academy functions under the Ministry of Law and Public Order. Its medium of instruction is the Greek language. The Academy offers a three-year course, which leads to the award of the "Diploma of Probationary Policeman".
5.3 Private Institutions
A number of private tertiary institutions offer programmes in various fields of study (e.g. secretarial studies, business administration, electrical, civil and mechanical engineering, hotel and catering, banking, accountancy and computer studies), with a duration of one to four years.
Law 67(I)/96 regulates the establishment, control and operation of tertiary institutions in Cyprus. According to this Law, all private tertiary institutions have to register with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Twenty tertiary education institutions are registered with the Ministry and offer specific courses leading to the award of a Certificate/Diploma/Degree.
Some of these schools have registered to offer post-graduate programmes as well. It should be noted, however, that registration of a private institution does not imply recognition of the degrees awarded by these institutions. Recognition is possible only after successful accreditation of the programmes of study offered by a private institution.
During the academic year 1996-97, the process of educational accreditation has been put forward and 79 out of 147 programs of study have gained conditional accreditation.
6. Some significant features of the education system:
6.1There are no entrance examinations in the public sector of Secondary Education (General and Technical). There are, however, such examinations for entrance to public tertiary level institutions, which in most cases tend to be highly competitive.
6.2 All pupils proceed from Primary to Secondary school without examinations. Transfer procedures in secondary schools are simple and easy. The only exception concerns the upper classes of the Lykeion, where a battery of examinations are required by pupils wishing to transfer from one LEM combination to another. This is virtually impossible as these institutions are specialised and their curricula differ substantially.6.3 Assessment in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Level institutions is mostly continuous and internal. Repeating the same class in the primary sector is confined to very special cases, but in the secondary sector, pupils have to repeat a class if they finally fail in one or more subjects. Continuous assessment in the Gymnasion is on a scale of A-E, supplemented by final examinations in June on a 1-20 scale for Greek, Mathematics, History and Natural Science (the last two since 1991-92). Grades obtained may help Career Counsellors in advising students on their choice of combination for the Lykeion. Continuous assessment in the Lykeion is on a scale of 1-20 and is supplemented by final examinations in Greek, Mathematics and the optional subjects in each of the combinations. Since 1990-91, the final examinations in the third and final Lykeion class are externally organised. The papers are set by teams of inspectors and the pupils' unidentifiable scripts are marked by teachers teaching in schools other than their own.
7.1Curricula for public pre-primary, primary, secondary general, and technical schools are prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Culture and developed on the basis of suggestions made by teachers, inspectors and parents.
Post-secondary technical and vocational curricula are drawn by the relevant Ministry on the advice of the Board of Governors or Specialist Committees, in accordance with Government educational policy.
The curricula for private schools of all levels are developed accordingto the needs of various sectors of the wider public.
7.2 All subjects of public primary and lower secondary schools (Gymnasion) are compulsory and there are no options. In the upper secondary school (Lykeion of Optional Subjects and Eniaio Lykeio) however, the students are invited, in addition to the subjects of the common core which are compulsory for all students, to choose subjects of their preference from a list of options.
7.3 During the last decade, particular emphasis has been placed on the close study of curricula at all levels of education. There is an increasing awareness of the need to update subject matter in order: to make it more relevant and interesting, to develop new teaching materials to enable teachers to individualise their teaching, to help their students acquire basic skills of study and creative work, and to link education with the economy of the country and contemporary life.
8. Curriculum Development in Public Primary Education
8.1 A new curriculum has been developed for all subjects of pre-primary, primary and special education by the inspectorate in cooperation with the Teachers' Union and the Pedagogical Institute. This was put into practice in September 1992. This new curriculum was developed in order to meet the new needs of the country and the new trends in education.
It sets the following major goals:
- to assimilate the spiritual, cultural and other achievements, as well as other sound elements of the past,
- to make the best use of all the existing potential,
- to proceed to new achievements in all domains of social activity and to maximise the contribution for a better world,
- to develop attitudes and skills for physical and mental health,
- to strengthen the fighting spirit of the new generation which lives in a partly occupied country.
The new curriculum sets the following specific goals:
- the all round physical and spiritual development of the children through the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for contemporary life,
- the right understanding of the world through a systematic study of the phenomena of natural and social environment,
- the knowledge of history, especially national, and the knowledge of the achievements of world civilisation,
- the aquisition of language and the development of the skills of clarity and precision in expression,
- the development of the ability for critical thinking and creative mental activities,
- the development of love for the motherland, humanistic ideals and democratic beliefs,
- the development of love and respect for work,
- the development of conscious discipline and guidance for the undertaking of responsibilities and the exercise of rights,
- the development of social consciousness and responsibility,
- the moral and religious education and the development of the spirit of mutual help, mutual understanding, respect of the views of others, initiative and cooperation,
- the identification and development of the interests, skills and talents of pupils,
- the provision of every possible opportunity for the right professional orientation and facilitation of the professional career of the new citizen in the framework of lifelong education,
- the systematic care for the physical development and health of pupils,
- the aesthetic education and the systematic acquaintance of the pupils with artistic creation at national and international levels.
8.2. The principle of satisfying the basic needs of the child is the decisive factor governing the role of the nursery. Children of pre-primary age need both quantitative and qualitative experiences. Thus, the aims of pre-primary education are to help the child to adapt himself/herself to the broader school environment, to become an integral part of society with ease and security and to secure, preserve and promote the whole- some and all round development of the child to the highest possible level, according to his level of maturity.
8.3. Some of the ideas which pervade the curriculum are the following:
Emphasis in the new curriculum is put on democratisation, which is manifested in:
(b) The Teacher's Role
The teacher has ceased to be the only source of knowledge, the only authority and the dominant figure in the classroom.
The teacher has become the organiser of educational activities in cooperation with the pupils. He/She is the child's guide, animator, collaborator. The emphasis is not on whole-class teaching but on a variety of group and individual activities. Independent study, experimentation and the development of creative skills are encouraged.
(c) Children's Active Participation
Emphasis is given to the active participation of children in all aspects of school life. This is encouraged because it is believed that through this participation, real learning is achieved and responsibility, self-esteem, self-dependence and creativity are developed. The ways through which this objective is pursued are the formation of various committees and work-groups at classroom level and the existence of a pupils' council at school level.
(d) Study of the Environment
The study of the environment is given primary importance. The children are helped to "live" their environment thus becoming able to understand, describe and love it. This awareness and positive attitude will hopefully help them to proceed to the understanding of other places and the world in general.
(e) Integration of Subjects
Teachers are encouraged to avoid compartmentalisation of each subject and integrate their activities, concentrating their attention on a certain fact of real interest to the children, rather than on a certain topic, prescribed by a textbook or syllabus.
(f) Affective Domain
The new curriculum makes extensive reference to the affective domain, underlining the importance of values, interests and attitudes for the developing personality of the child.
(g) Individualisation of Instruction
The steady decrease of the pupil/teacher ratio, as well as the construction of new school rooms, have made possible more emphasis to be given to individualisation of instruction and remedial teaching.
The importance of the child's self-evaluation and evaluation by the teacher on a systematic basis (formative-summative) is emphasised by the new curriculum.
(i) Educational technology, radio and television are being used for the teaching of certain subjects and for the in-service training of teachers. The benefit that is being derived through educational television and radio is not limited to the actual television and radio programmes that are broadcast. The provision of schools with supplementary materials in the form of booklets, slides, posters, pictures etc., within the framework of the broadcasts, helps enormously in the enrichment of the work of teachers and pupils alike.
(j) Continuous Development
The curriculum underlines the idea that there is no "fixed" or "stable" curriculum that will suit every school forever. Teachers are encouraged to modify and adjust it, according to their environment and the particular needs of the children.
Finally, they are reminded that the curriculum should be subject to continuous development. Departmental committees consisting of members of the inspectorate, representatives of the Pedagogical Institute and the Teachers' Unions are dealing with the continuous development of the curriculum.
9. Curriculum Development in Public Secondary General Education
9.1. Work on curriculum development for the secondary level of education is again actively and systematically pursued by committees of secondary school teachers and inspectors. This has been made necessary not only because of the general demand for continually modernising and updating the Curriculum but also because of substantial structural changes brought about by:
(a) the introduction and development of the Eniaio Lykeio (Comprehensive Lykeion, as of September 1995)
(b) the fact that the introduction of compulsory education up to the age of 15 entails a differentiation in the population of the Gymnasia; thus, in the lower cycle of secondary education there exists a novel situation in which there is great need for curricula which are:
i. appropriate to the less academically orientated pupil, and which
ii. will bridge the gap, and facilitate transition, between primary and secondary education.
9.2 The major innovation in the curricula of general secondary education has been the universal introduction of the unified nine-year curriculum for the primary and gymnasion stages of education, aiming at easing the transition from the lower to the higher stage of the educational process. In this context the department of Secondary Education has decided:
(a) to increase the role of the class teacher in Class A (usually
the mother tongue or sciences teacher) and reduce the number of specialist teachers teaching in first year classes;
(b) to involve a greater number of experienced teachers in teaching first year classes;
(c) to change teaching approaches in the first year in order to make them more similar to those used in the primary school;
(d) to coordinate the publication of primary and secondary textbooks by the Ministry's Curriculum Development Unit and see to the publication of new textbooks aiming at bridging the gap between the two levels of education;
(e) to make the necessary arrangements to enable the gymnasia to cater to children with special needs, who will be coming up to the gymnasion from the primary school.
A. great deal of work has also gone into the revision of the curriculum of the Lykeion of Optional Subjects. The revised curriculum, still being developed, aims at giving students:
During the last twenty years, a considerable number of new books have been published by the Ministry to facilitate the implementation of the curriculum in the following domains:
Greek Language and Literature (including the works of Cypriot writers), Classical Greek, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English as a Foreign Language, Greek-Turkish as F.L. (including the first in a series of text books for ESP), Philosophy, Economics, Information Technology, Music, Art, Primary and Pre-Primary education. In most cases, the books were prepared by practising teachers under the guidance of Departmental Committees consisting of members of the inspectorate, representatives of the Pedagogical Institute and the teachers' union.
9.4 Secondary Technical Education
In secondary technical education pupils choose a specialisation at the time of entry to the technical schools, usually at the age of fifteen.
In designing technical and vocational courses, every effort has been made to strike a good balance between general education subjects and technical or vocational subjects.
The percentage of periods allocated to the various subjects in the technical sector is as follows:
General subjects 30%
Related subjects 28%
Technology and Drawing 22%
Workshop Practice 20%
General subjects include Religious Instruction, Languages, History and Physical Training.
Related subjects include Mathematics and Sciences.
In the vocational section the percentage of subjects is as follows:
General subjects 25%
Related subjects 17,5%
Technology and Drawing 20%
Workshop Practice 37,5%
The Technical Education Curriculum Development Unit:
The main purpose of this unit is to publish technical and vocational education textbooks. These books are written by teams of teachers of the Technical Schools who are seconded for this purpose for three days a week. As there is a great shortage of suitable technical textbooks in Greek, the unit has been extremely busy for the past few years. Among the areas covered are: Electricity, Electrical Installations, Electronics, Machine Shop Engineering, Technical Drawing, Materials, Welding, Car Mechanics, Building, Woodwork, Dressmaking, Cooking, and Waiting.
In 1997, eleven new textbooks were published. In addition, two previous editions were republished and fourteen revised editions were also published, while another ten textbooks are to be published shortly. Altogether, eighty-nine books have been published.
10. In-Service Training
The in-service training of primary, secondary general and technical school teachers is the task of the Pedagogical Institute. For this purpose the Institute organises optional as well as compulsory seminars.
There are currently two compulsory seminars, one for secondary and technical school teachers appointed on probation and another for secondary deputy heads. Both are year-long courses, the first conducted twice a week and the second once a week. Trainees are partly released from their teaching responsibilities to attend the above courses. The probationer's course concentrates on the foundations of education and the teaching of their special subject. It is a requirement for the confirmation of one's appointment to the teaching profession. The course for deputy heads introduces participants to the role of the department head as well as that of the secondary school administrator.
Optional seminars are held mainly in the afternoon during teachers' free time. These seminars relate both to the content and the teaching of the various curriculum areas as well as to recent trends in education. In-service education, which has been a priority during the last years, has as its main goals the promotion of active methods of teaching, the practice of cooperative learning, the extensive use of new technologies in education, and the further education of teachers in case study research.
The Pedagogical Institute is by its very nature a developmental institution and in order to fullfil this function, it also deals with educational research and evaluation, educational technology, and educational documentation. From time to time, scholars from the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, France and Greece are assigned to teach at the Institute in the framework of bilateral cooperation and exchange programmes between the Cyprus Government and institutions abroad. Also, local staff with expertise in various areas are periodically asked to teach at the Pedagogical Institute.
The in-service training of teachers is also supplemented by grants offered by the Cyprus Republic and various countries for study abroad as well as by courses offered by local institutions (e.g. courses for teachers of technical schools at the Cyprus Productivity Centre).
10.1 The guidance and supervision of teachers is conducted by the inspectors, who are responsible for the guidance, supervision and evaluation of the teachers' work. There is increased emphasis on guidance and staff development through individual advice and seminars (at both regional and school levels) on methodology, subject matter, textbooks, teaching aids, etc. The inspectors frequently visit schools and classes; they also organise and conduct seminars at which a variety of educational problems relating to the theory and practice of teaching are discussed. At these seminars, teachers may report their findings from an experimental approach or method which they have followed in the classroom or from a study they have made.
In special subjects, such as Music, Home Economics, Physical Education, Art and Foreign Languages, as well as in pre-primary and adult education, guidance and support to teachers are given by groups of teachers specially trained in their respective domains.
Guidance is also provided through handouts prepared by members of the inspectorate and departmental committees.
There is no shortage of instructional personnel at any level or type of education in Cyprus; in fact, there is a large surplus of qualified secondary school teachers in all specialisations.
DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION
1. Policy orientations
According to the guidelines of the Five Year Development Plan (1994-1998), the general aims and objectives of education in Cyprus are the more effective mobilization and exploitation of inactive man-power through the appropriate education, re-education preparation for industry and the encouragement of mobilization between the several sectors of production and the various professions. For this reason, emphasis is placed on the policy plans and programmes of man-power education, further education and re-education.
The present priorities as described in paragraph 2.1.3 are in line with the aims of the plan and the general expectations of the government.
The 1997 UNESCO Report on the Assessment of the Cyprus Educational System provides a range of suggestions that are considered of immense value for the development of the system. At present these suggestions are being seriously studied both at ministerial level and at the level of educational experts. It is expected that the proposals that are based on the report will form the short medium and long-term policy orientations of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
1.1 The University of Cyprus, which was set up by law 144 of 1989, commenced operation in September 1992. During its fourth year of operation the total enrollment of students was 1962.
Admittance to the University is based on entrance examinations organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture in collaboration with the University. Students passing the examinations are eligible to enter either the Cyprus University or Greek Universities.
Students are 18 years old and above. The duration of studies is 4 years. The length of the academic year is 30 weeks distributed evenly between two semesters (September-January and January-May). The evaluation system is based on:
ii. Projects and
iii. Final exams for each semester
The University of Cyprus is a public corporate body and the funds and resources of the University consist mainly of grants from the government and donations, gifts and private grants. These are accepted provided that they shall be made on such conditions as shall safeguard the independence of the University.
The University has no official body empowered to evaluate its performance.
The minimum qualifications for a lecturer of the University of Cyprus are a doctoral degree awarded by a recognised University and evidence of competence in University teaching and research.
1.2 According to the guidelines of the latest Five Year Development Plan, 1994-98, the general aims of Technical and Vocational Education are as follows:
1.2.1 The unification of Secondary General with Secondary Technical and Vocational Education.
The main objectives of this unification are:
i. To allow students to choose a specific course of studies at a more mature age (16+, according to UNESCO).
ii. To create a unified system of secondary education, whereby technical and vocational courses will be organised side by side with other courses and not in separate schools, as is the case today, thus also fighting the bias against technical education.
1.2.2 Complementary Post-Secondary Vocational Courses
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education has put forward a suggestion that it extends its activities to offer complementary vocational courses after completion of the secondary education cycle, i.e. at the age of 18+, to those graduates of Secondary Education, as well as to technical graduates who wish to complement their technical qualifications in the field of their specialisation. The project will be studied further during the next three-year period. It is hoped that such courses will be offered in semesters, their numbers differing according to the field of study and the background education of the applicants.
1.2.3.Broadening the spectrum of specialisations offered in Secondary technical and vocational education, the Department of Technical and Vocational Education, within the framework of the Five Year Plan, suggested a method of broadening the spectrum of specialisations offered.
The traditional method of erecting and equipping new laboratories and workshops as well as employing new instructors for every new specialisation is counter-productive (for reasons which will not be mentioned here).
The suggested method consists of a cooperative venture between the Ministries of Education and Industry, the latter being required to offer its installations as well as its engineering staff for part-time teaching, under a special scheme, which will be organised during the period covered by the Five Year Plan.
1.2.4 New developments and trends in technology and co-operation with the world of industry.
During the new Five Year Plan, the Department of Technical and Vocational Education will promote co-operation with the world of industry and will make every effort to follow new developments and trends in various technologies.
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education has already established many links with industry, the most important of which are:
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education has also recently suggested the following:
i. The method explained/shown in paragraph II.1.2.4. above.
ii. A scheme according to which experts from industry will be called upon to teach specialised subjects in technical schools.
1.2.5 Recruiting Instructors for Technical and Vocational Education.
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education has also suggested, within the new Five Year Plan, that substantial efforts should be made to improve the recruiting methods. They should be based mainly on qualifications and recent experience, the latter being the most important criterion, virtually neglected in the existing recruiting system.
1.2.6 Preparation for entry in the European Union
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education has suggested that one of the main objectives of the new Five Year Plan should be preparation for entry to the E.U. It has also suggested the way this should be done.
1.3 The past five school years have been a period of further quantitative expansion of secondary education (especially after the dramatic drop in birth rates immediately following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974), together with a continuation in the effort towards further qualitative improvement.
The expansion of secondary education, which was completed for the years of the lower cycle (12-15) in the school years 1985-88, continued in the following years for the higher cycle (16-19). The most important steps, after the introduction of free and compulsory education in the lower cycle and abolition of all charges in the higher cycle in 1985-86, were taken in the period under review concerning the expansion of secondary education. They aim towards upgrading the quality of education offered by the public secondary education system as a whole.
Pupils completing grade III and graduates as a percentage of those enrolled in grade I, three and six years earlier respectively School Enrolled in Completed Grade III Graduated
year Grade I three years later 6 years later
1988/89 100% 89,3 80,1
1989/90 100% 87,3 78,3
1990/91 100% 88,9 78,5
1991/92 100% 89,1 80,2
1992/93 100% 90,4 76,7
1993/94 100% 90,1 78,6
1994/95 100% 89,6 78,4
1995/96 100% 88,1 79,2
Source: Statistics of Education 1996/97 Report No. 29
Nearly all of the pupils successfully completing Grade III of the lower cycle pursue studies in the higher cycle either in the General Secondary or in the Technical and Vocational Schools.
This has resulted in a tremendous increase in the range of pupils' aptitudes and consequently in the need for a broad differentiation of syllabi, methods of teaching, teaching materials as well as the role of the teacher. The content of education, the in-service training of teachers and the general quality of education have assumed an importance greater than ever before. During the last five years, there has been a special effort aimed at improving the quality of education by:
(a) increasing the number and diversity of in-service training courses offered to teachers and administrative personnel in schools;
(b) introducing educational programmes at various levels for reducing the percentages of school failure in general and functional illiteracy in particular. These programmes provide additional teaching time for weaker students who mainly come from the poorer socio-economic sectors of both urban and rural communities;
(c) reinforcing the Curriculum Development Service for the modernisation of syllabi and preparation of teaching materials;
(d) adopting the principle of mainstreaming as far as special education is concerned, i.e. integrating handicapped children within ordinary classes;
(e) introducing a new continuous curriculum spanning the primary and lower cycle of secondary education in order to facilitate transition from one kind of school to the other;
(f) introducing the post of Subject Coordinator for all subjects taught in the secondary school on an equal footing with the existing institution of the Deputy Headmaster. Subject coordinators have to take a one-day per week in-service training course during their first year in the post;
(g) linking secondary schools more closely with the world of work in an effort to see education as a preparation for life. In accordance with this principle, the Department of Secondary Education introduced in the period 1986/88 a project under the provisions of which second year Lykeion pupils (17 years of age) work for a week in a factory, firm, office, bank, hospital or farm in order to acquire first-hand experience of the world at work. This will help them to become aware of the social and educational value of work and the specific skills required by the conditions of work so that they may be enabled to transfer smoothly from school to the world of work. The pupils are asked to choose, from a list of available possibilities, the job, the nature of which they consider most compatible with their inclinations. The project has been successful, judging from the comments of pupils, teachers and employers. The institution is under continuous scrutiny in order to ensure its effective operation and improvement.
Within the framework of the endeavour of the Department of Secondary Education to prepare pupils for life, Computer Science has been extended into all Lykeia in the period under review, 1986-87. Computer Science is a compulsory subject in the 1st year of all the Lykeia combinations. All Lykeia also offer Computer Science as one of their supplementary subjects for the 2nd and 3rd year pupils, who wish to take this subject.
2. Development of the system
In the last five years, the number of pupils in both primary and secondary education has increased. The increase at secondary level has already reached its maximum.
2.1 Table II. Primary and Secondary School population for the last five years.
School year Primary Secondary
1992-93 64.313 51.641
1993-94 64.907 54.687
1994-95 64.884 57.804
1995-96 64.660 59.845
1996-97 64.761 61.266
Table III Pupil/Teacher ratios during the same period.
School year Primary Secondary
1992-93 19,1 12,8
1993-94 19,0 13,0
1994-95 18,5 13,3
1995-96 19,0 12,4
1996-97 18,4 10,6
Table IV Pre-primary Education Number of schools and children
2.2 Links between formal and non-formal education
Non-formal education includes a variety of public and private part-time institutions, which provide miscellaneous courses at various levels.
Public and semi-public non-formal education is provided through:
(a) The Apprenticeship Training Scheme and the Evening Technical classes of the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Education, respectively. These enable young industry-based trainees to obtain a two year technical school training or re-training in various trades.
(b) The Industrial Training Authority organises accelerated vocational training and re-training courses which are usually subcontracted out to suitable institutions;
(c) The Productivity Centre provides courses for upgrading and/or training of managerial and supervisory personnel and skilled workers;
(d) Five evening Gymnasia, one in each of the major towns, which enable adults to acquire and/or complete their secondary education.
(e) The State Institutes for Further Education have expanded their scope beyond offering a variety of foreign languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic) to include Greek Subjects, Computer Science and subjects required for entry to university, for pupils and adults. Class size is 10-15 students.
(f) The Adult Education Centres offer courses for general adult education in various fields of education, vocational training, literacy, hobbies, first aid, education and languages.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Council of Europe, a programme for old age pensioners was put in action to activate the potential of these people and help them to become part of the whole community.
Private institutions offer various part-time courses including foreign languages, music, ballet, secretarial and vocational studies. Some provide coaching for external examinations, especially for British and American examining bodies. There are also a few private institutions that provide middle level vocational courses on a semi-full-time basis; the most popular subjects being dressmaking, popular dancing, cooking and foreign languages.
Relationships between formal and non-formal education in Cyprus are promoted in two ways: first, directly through curriculum structuring. A relationship of this nature exists, for example, in the case of evening gymnasia, whose graduates are eligible to participate in the annual higher education examinations for Greek universities, along with all other secondary school graduates. Second, there is an indirect relationship which is served through institutional initiatives. The State Institutes of Further Education, part-time private institutes and evening technical classes offer instruction in the G.C.E., IELTS, UCLES, TOEFL, SAT, etc. Success in these examinations is a prerequisite for admission to colleges and universities abroad.
Currently, there is no explicit or established mechanism for a comprehensive coordination between formal and non-formal education in Cyprus. Despite the lack of such a mechanism, it is still valid to claim that such coordination exists at both the micro and the macro-levels. From the macro-level perspective, coordination is achieved through the division of areas of concern at ministerial level. While the Ministry of Education deals primarily with helping either secondary school dropouts to complete their basic education and training or young secondary school graduates to enter the world of work, the Ministry of Labour and Social Services is mainly interested in providing or extending professional competency for people already in the job market. From a micro-level perspective, coordination is achieved through delegation of authority within each Ministry. Designated agencies within the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Services are responsible for one or more of the non-formal education programmes described above.
Undoubtedly, there is ample room for further improvement in the coordination between formal and non-formal education in Cyprus. The Government of Cyprus and the educational authorities in particular, recognising the importance of non-formal education and the need for its relationship with formal education, are constantly searching for the best possible organisation structures which might be conducive towards this state of affairs and welcomes the aid offered by international bodies such as UNESCO concerning the development of structures and strategies for adult and other non-formal education in Cyprus.
The educational personnel employed in non-formal education does not usually differ from that employed in formal education. In the case of educational institutions run by the Ministry of Education, the educational personnel comprises people dividing their time between formal and non-formal education, or people seconded by the Ministry from formal to non-formal educational institutions. This is greatly facilitated by the fact that such classes usually function within the premises of formal day schools. The institutions which do not come under the Ministry of Education employ their own personnel. In the case of the Industrial Training Authority, however, which subcontracts many of its activities to the Department of Technical Education of the Ministry of Education, the personnel again commonly comprises full-time teachers employed by the Ministry of Education.
2.3 Development of non-formal education and other educational programmes.
In its present form, non-formal education in Cyprus aims at serving the following purposes:
(a) to help early school leavers and/or dropouts to supplement their basic education or to increase their professional competency;
(b) to help secondary school graduates enter the world of work;
(c) to help people already in the job market advance their professional knowledge; and
(d) to give adults opportunities to pursue interests which will help them develop their personalities and enhance their contribution to the social, cultural and economic life of the community.
2.4 Education innovations or reforms
Education innovations concern mainly the content, the teaching materials and the methods of evaluation, and are intended to make the educational system more flexible and dynamic and improve its effectiveness.
2.4.1 In Pre-primary, Primary and Special Education the following new plans will be the priorities for the next five years:
(a) Pre-primary Education
The expansion will continue with a target to include all children over the age of 3. The policy of establishing area kindergarten schools in rural districts will continue. Close coordination will be pursued between the public and the private sector in order to facilitate mothers to work. At the same time arrangements will be sought in the context of pre-primary education for the supervision of kindergarten pupils during afternoon hours and thus support working families.
(b) Primary Education
The following objectives will be pursued:
- Systematic in-service training of teachers.
- Better organisation and strengthening of the Curriculum Development Unit in order to produce books for the teachers and pupils, as well as other educational materials.
- Systematic evaluation through the Educational Research Service which will be reinforced.
- The maximum number of pupils per teacher will be reduced to 30 instead of 34.
- Establishment of new area schools to absorb small rural schools with enrollments of under 15.
(c) Special Education
In the area of Special Education, an expansion of all the related services will be pursued and in-service training of the teaching staff on a systematic basis will continue to receive extra attention. Additionally, the afternoon programmes, currently running in special schools in close co-operation with the Parents' Association, will continue.
2.4.2 Secondary general education
After the initial experimental introduction of Computer Science in the period 1986-88, the subject has now acquired the status of a fully-fledged supplementary subject offered by all the Lykeia of Optional Subjects. Also, the State Institutes of Further Education offer, at the larger centres, further training in computing, preparing students for external examinations.
A significant development, introduced as from September 1990, is the teaching of Design and Technology in the Gymnasia.In 1993 Home Economics was also promoted in the same idea. This was brought about by adjusting the aims, the teaching methodology and the contents of the existing traditional subject of craftwork in schools. In the period under review, the programmes have been monitored and revised so as to bring the subject into line with the needs of modern society.
The Department of Secondary Education has also further developed the Scheme under which pupils of the second year of the Lykeion are given the opportunity to go out to work for one week in order to acquire some of the necessary experience which will contribute towards their preparation for entering the world of productive work.
The Curriculum of Secondary General Education is being constantly evaluated and all necessary steps taken to render it more relevant to the needs of the society and the economy of the country. The Curriculum Development Unit has been manned with suitably qualified personnel; this service has greatly contributed towards the effort of linking the content of education to life by producing a considerable amount of high-quality teaching materials.
220.127.116.11. Health Education
In an effort to promote the Health Education Programme, the in-service training of hundreds of teachers and students has been persued intently. In this context teachers have taken part in seminars that covered fields like the promoting of health education, drugs, AIDS, balanced diet etc. As far as the training and sensitising of students in the field is concerned, seminars have been organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture on such topics as smoking, drug abuse and AIDS. In this way 360 third-grade students of gymnasium level have taken part in 7 seminars, of a 3-day duration each, on drug abuse. This aimed at raising the number of students acting as a nucleus in drug abuse prevention and enlightenment, as well as help in the work organised by the Health Education Committees at schools in carrying out small- scale research, seminar etc.
Schools participating in the “European Network of Health Promoting Schools” (ENHPS) are particularly activated in matters of health.
Environmental Education is being supported at schools as much by environmentally related subjects, such as natural science, biology, geography and others, as by different other activities that schools undertake when participating in various internationally run environmental programmes, such as campaigns for cleaning the environment, painting, poster-making or photography contests and small-range studies/researches. Of special significance is the participation of schools in the SEMEP (South Eastern Mediterranean Sea Project) of UNESCO, the “Young Reporters for the Environment” Project of the Foundation of Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE) and the “Chrysoprasino Phyllo” (Golden-Green Leaf) programme which promotes environmental research and related school exchanges in collaboration with schools in Greece. Parallel to these, the supply of the appropriate equipment for accepting Cyprus in the GLOBE environmental programme, a programme promoted by the USA, has begun.
18.104.22.168.3. State Insttutes for Further Education
The S.I.F.E. which were set up in 1960 as Institutes for Foreign Languages offer courses to both pupils and adults in foreign languages, accounting, computer studies and subjects for entrance examinations to the University of Cyprus and the Universities of Greece. There are 37 institutes a number of which are in rural areas thus making the courses available to pupils from remote villages. This and the fact that fees are at moderate levels and free for certain categories of pupils per class and teaching periods allocated ensure high quality of education which is aligned with new developments in education and academic demands.
2.4.3 Technical and Vocational Education
2.4.4 Review of syllabi of the various courses.
The review of the syllabi of some courses has been completed, while the review of the remaining courses is under way. All the syllabi of the courses offered under the Apprenticeship Scheme have also been reviewed. Finally, the new syllabi for the third year technology subjects to be offered in the Comprehensive Lykeion were finalised and were ready to use in September 1997.
2.4.5 Introduction of computers and CNC machines.
The computer initiation programme has been further developed, while computers have also been supplied and used as tools in the teaching of various subjects e.g. Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion Design/Dress-making and Engineering Drawing. In addition, CNC machines have been introduced in machine workshops.
2.4.6 School building extensions and improvements
In 1996/97, various extension and improvements of the Technical School facilities were accomplished at a cost of CP440.000. Additionally, CP 126.000 were spent for sports facilities and grounds.
2.4.7 Supply of equipment
For the supply of supplementary workshop equipment and new technology equipment to Technical Schools the sum of CP 400.000 was spent from the 1996/97 Development Budget.
2.4.8 Further development of cooperation with industry, other organisations and the world of work
Various actions were taken for the further development of cooperation between Technical Education and Industry, other organisations and bodies related to technical education. In addition, various schemes of industrial training of students attending vocational courses were successfully continued and further promoted.
2.4.9 Training and development of teaching staff
The programme of training and further development of technical education teaching staff was continued in 1996/97 through seminars, in-service courses, industrial training attachments and scholarships for training overseas.
2.4.10 Enlightenment programme
A programme for the enlightenment of students, parents and the public, about the courses offered in Technical Schools and about the prospects for further studies and employment was implemented. In this respect, each school issued its own booklet in which the courses offered were described, while a general information booklet was forwarded to all pupils who would be graduating from the Gymnasium. In addition, the work of the technical schools was presented at the 4th International Education Fair which took place at the premises of the International State Fair in February 1997.
2.4.11 Technical Education Evening Courses
A significant increase in the number of courses and persons attending evening classes operating in Technical Schools has been achieved. The number of students attending evening courses was in 1993-94 1.076, in 1994-95 777, in 1995-96 747, in 1996/97 804, and in 1997/98 1066. The further development and upgrading of the evening courses is being promoted
2.4.12 Other activities
(a) The use of professionals and consultants from other countries for specific assignments has been continued.
(b) Various studies were made and specificactions were taken for the introduction of the Comprehensive Lykeion in three schools, as a pilot scheme, as from 1995-96.
(c) Emphasis has been given in upgrading the operation of laboratories and workshops by the provision of appropriate equipment, at an annual cost of about CP 500.000.
(d) A five-year plan has been drafted for the adequate provision of school buildings and sports facilities with an annual budget of more than CP 400.000.
(e) A study has been initiated for the possibility of the establishment of a new Technical School to satisfy the needs of the southern suburbs of Nicosia,(one in Limassol and one in Famagusta).
2.4.13 Following new developments and trends in technology, the Department of Technical and Vocational Education will promote co- operation with the world of industry and will make every effort to follow new developments and trends in various fields and to improve the existing links with industry, the most important of which are:
i. The training of pupils in industry as described above.
ii. The in-service training of instructors in industry.
iii. The establishment of the "Advisory Body for Technical Education".
iv. The establishment of a special advisory body for each specialisation.
v. The apprenticeship scheme.
vi. The organisation of seminars, in which various recent developments in technology will be presented by professionals from industry.
Non Formal Education - Adult Education
The Adult Education Centres of the Ministry of Education and Culture operate under the administration of the Department of Elementary Education of the Ministry of Education. They have as their basic aims the all-round development of the personality of the individual and economic, social and cultural advance of members of the community and the country in general.
Anyone over the age of 14 can become a member. Tuition fees are low. For the formation of a group there must be at least 13 members in urban areas and 10 in rural areas. Each group meets once a week for 90 minutes for a course of 24 sessions in the period from November to May. Lessons take place in the afternoons and evenings in elementary school buildings.
The range of activities offered is wide and varied. Subjects like computers, electrical engineering, plumbing, gardening, flower arranging, dressmaking, keep fit programmes, dancing, drama, cookery, typing, foreign languages, music, pottery and various handicrafts meet every interest and need. Members today number 11.765 and are organised into local and district committees and contribute, by working closely with the Ministry of Education and Culture, to the further extension and progress of the institution.
3. Educational Research
Much of Educational Research in Cyprus both locally and internationally is carried out by the Pedagogical Institute. It is one of its developmental functions prescribed in the Wedell Report on which the establishment of the Pedagogical Institute was based. Educational research as well as the other two developmental functions of the Institute (Documentation and Technology) purport to supply the professional and technical resources of the Institute's operational functions.
The current priorities for Educational Research are those relating to students' achievement in the various disciplines, teacher education and evaluation, curricula and general education parameters.
The Research and Evaluation Department of the Pedagogical Institute provides assistance to various groups of educators as follows:
(a) It provides assistance to the staff of the Pedagogical Institute who, besides their teaching duties, engage themselves in educational research. Their choice of topics for research depends mainly on the needs presented by the Ministry of Education and Culture, on the one hand, and their own interests, on the other. The research projects which have been undertaken by the staff of the Pedagogical Institute during the last two years and have either been completed or are still in progress fall under the following categories:
i. Comparative projects
ii. Investigative projects
4. Problems and Difficulties
The Secondary General Education Department faces a number of problems due to its policy for improving the standard of education offered to the pupils attending this level of education, which are bound to place a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of the government. The most important ones are the following:
4.1. Need for expansion and improvement of school buildings due to:
(a) the continuing effects of the displacement of 40% of the Greek population of the island after the Turkish invasion of 1974,
(b) the internal movements and redistribution of the population, especially between urban and rural areas,
(c) the increase in secondary school population as the effects of the Turkish invasion on the birth rate are becoming less dramatic than in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.
4.2. Need for expansion and improvement of facilities, such as:
(a) Installation of central heating in all schools,
(b) building and equipping special rooms for various subjects,
(c) building more multipurpose halls ( for sports, music and theatre performances, etc.) in order to offer better accessibility to such facilities to the majority of the population.
4.3. The introduction of new technologies has been proceeding rapidly since the initial problem of the introduction of computer science in all Lykeia has been overcome. The main problems and difficulties that will have to be addressed during this period are:
(a) equipment needs,
(b) identification of needs and necessary adaptation of the curricula,
(c) personnel training - as from this year an ambitious scheme of training all secondary school teachers in the use of the PC as an aid for teaching their individual subject, as well as a tool for improving their professional efficiency is under way: a large number of teachers, from the disciplines of English, Mathematics, Physics and Art this year, will be released for one day per week to attend a suitable course designed by the Pedagogical Institute.
Reconsideration of many of the existing structural institutions, such as School Boards, the Curriculum Development Unit, teacher recruitment and promotion systems, is under way in the light of new and foreseen educational, social and legal needs.
The most serious problems the Pedagogical Institute faced have been on the one hand, the lack of qualified personnel, and on the other hand the lack of budgeted posts which leads to high staff mobility.
5. International Co-operation
International co-operation within the framework of international regional and sub-regional organisations in the field of education.
The Ministry of Education and Culture cooperates closely with international organisations by participating, as far as possible, in their activities.
The most common form of such participation is the participation of Ministry officials in meetings, seminars and projects of these organisations. The results and recommendations of such meetings are then disseminated, as far as possible, to other officials and departments concerned. Dissemination of the results and the work of these organisations is also achieved by the circulation of books, journals, reports and other publications of international organisations among educators and libraries. The Ministry also submits reports, statistical information and replies to questionnaires of international organisations. From time to time, meetings, of these organisations, are also organised in Cyprus.
The most important international organisations with which the Ministry of Education and Culture co-operates are the Council of Europe and particularly the Council for Cultural Co-operation, UNESCO and the Commonwealth Education Programme.
A second form of international co-operation is the direct co-operation with different countries by means of bilateral agreements of cooperation in the fields of education, culture and sport. Links have been established with several countries (France, England, Belgium, Greece) for the exchange of secondary school pupils.
There are now quite a number of agreements with foreign countries with programmes of two/three-year duration, which are renewed regularly. These agreements usually include the exchange of publications and educational materials, visits of education officials and research scientists and provision of scholarships for studies or training of Cypriot educators and others in specialised institutions in these countries. They also include quite a rich programme of cultural and artistic exchange.
There also exists a cooperation on an ad hoc basis with several European and other countries.
There exists, finally, the method of cooperation of the Ministry of Education and Culture with educational institutions or educational authorities of other countries by direct co-operation agreements between these institutions and the Ministry. A few such agreements involve the Ministry of National Education and Religion of Greece, the State University of New York at Albany, Old Dominion University, the University of Athens and the University of Salonica (Greece).