Day nursery staff as well as teachers at all school levels are civil servants appointed, promoted, transferred and retired by the Public Service Commission and the Educational Service Commission respectively.
The general duties and the qualifications required for a position are included in the schemes of service, which are approved by the Council of Ministers after being passed by the House of Representatives. Newly-appointed teachers are on probation for the first two years after their appointment to a permanent post. After completing the probationary period and upon the recommendation of the inspector allocated to the school they serve, the teachers become permanent public education servants. There are also teachers in the public sector who are employed on a contract in order to cover immediate needs.
The provision of teachers in public schools is based on the figures recorded in the enrolment period for all schools, which takes place annually in January. Based on these figures and on any reforms or changes in the education system, which may impact on the number of teachers required, the Ministry of Education and Culture makes plans for teacher supply and demand on a year-to-year basis. There is no long-term planning policy for teacher supply and demand, as the ‘waiting list’ system that exists for the appointment of teachers ensures that there is no shortage of instructors and makes it easy to find teachers willing to be employed on a temporary or contract basis.
Entry to the profession
At the pre-school level, day nursery personnel are civil servants appointed by the Public Service Commission after the official announcement of vacant permanent positions in the official Gazette.
Public school teachers are civil servants appointed by the Educational Service Commission-ΕΕΥ. Applicants are appointed to a permanent post through annual appointment lists drawn up by the ΕΕΥ at the end of each academic year. These lists include all of the properly submitted applications in order of submission date. A Bachelor's degree in the appropriate field makes one eligible to be included in the official register of candidates for appointment. A teacher’s appointment comes according to his/her order in the waiting list, which is based on a system of accumulation of credits upon predetermined criteria.
After finishing the formal program of initial teacher education, graduates are eligible to apply for an appointment. New entrants in the public sector are appointed on probation for a two-year period, during which they normally carry out wholly their duties. However, special support is given to newly appointed teachers by deputy heads, school inspectors and experienced teachers assigned as mentors to them. In addition, an induction program is offered, since 2008, by the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus for novice teachers. Both mentors and teachers who participate in this induction program have a lighter than the normal teaching workload.
Teachers at all school levels are career civil servants. After the two-year probationary period is successfully completed, teachers become permanent members of staff and do not have a contract as such. The different ranks in a teacher’s career are as follows:
● Education officer
● Deputy headteacher A’ (only for secondary education)
● Deputy headteacher
There are also teachers who are employed on a short-term contract basis to cover immediate needs.
For all teachers at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels, the code of conduct – duties, responsibilities, and discipline - is enshrined in the Public Education Service Laws of 1969 (Law N.10/1969).
In the event of the absence of a school teacher, the educational authorities employ a new, fully-qualified teacher if the period of absence is over three days. The procedure is for the Education Service Commission to use those teachers who are on the list, waiting to be appointed. Every year, the Education Service Commission advertises to teachers on the waiting list to express their interest in any temporary vacancies. If such vacancies then become available, the Education Service Commission fills them from the list of interested persons.
For periods of up to three days cover, arrangements are made within schools, using the available staff.
Support measures are mainly directed to novice teachers. There is no specific person appointed to deal with any difficult situations related to teaching or of a personal nature that any teacher may face at some point of his/her career. Instead, whenever possible, the issue is dealt with within the school by the deputy headteacher or the headteacher. If further support is required, the teacher may consult the Inspector for their specialization or go further up the hierarchy of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
As regards support measures for newly appointed teachers, the current practice is that they are assigned a more experienced teacher to whom they can turn for guidance and advice in a mentoring role. An induction program is also run by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, aiming to help towards the smooth induction of novice teachers through a supportive mentoring system.
Decisions on teachers' basic statutory salaries in public schools are taken at the central level, usually following negotiations with the teachers' unions. The scales in terms of basic salary per annum for all teachers (pre-primary, primary and secondary education) are as follows:
|Scale||Basic scale (€)||Top scale (€)||Annual increment (€)|
|A12 (+ 2)||44.978||65.766||2.102|
|A13 (+ 2)||53.258||70.074||2.102|
|A14 (+ 2)||57.077||76.741||2.458|
Note: A thirteenth salary that all teachers in the public sector receive in December every year, is not included in the above mentioned basic salaries.
All the teachers in the public sector receive an increase in their basic salary, which totals up to 6.656% since the year 2011. They also receive a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), which has been frozen at 27.99% of basic salaries, since July 2011.
From the total income of public teachers, deductions are made for income tax, social insurance, medical care in the public hospitals, professional tax and contribution to other funds.
As a result of the economic crisis, the statutory salaries for new teachers entering the profession after 1 January 2012 were reduced by 10%. In addition, the following gradual deductions have been enforced with progressive rates: (a) As from October 2011 starting from 2.5% for gross monthly salaries between EUR 1501 and EUR 2500, rising to 3.5% for salaries higher than EUR 3501; (b) As from December 2012 starting from 6.5% for salaries between EUR1000 and EUR 1500, rising to 12.5% for salaries higher than EUR 4001; (c) As from 1 June 2013 starting from 0.8% for salaries between EUR 0.01 and EUR 1000, rising to 14.5% for salaries higher than EUR 4000; (d) Further to the reductions in (c), all the salaries have been reduced by 3%, since 1 January 2014.
Progression through the grades of a salary scale is linear. Progression from A8 to A11 scale (A8-A10-A11) is automatic and it normally takes 22 years for a teacher to reach the top scale of A11. The only factor taken into consideration in ranking teachers on the salary scale is any previous teaching experience, for which increments are awarded. Salary scales higher than A11 can only be reached by the promotion of the teacher.
Working time and holidays
The school year for primary and pre-primary teachers begins on the first Monday in September and ends on the penultimate Friday of June. Teachers have the months of July and August as a summer break as well as 2 two-week holidays at Christmas and Easter. Teachers do not also work on public holidays.
Pre-primary and primary school teachers work from 07.30 to 13.05 Monday to Friday. The number of teaching periods varies according to their length of service and the post held, as shown in the following table:
|Post||Periods per week|
|Schools with three teachers||21|
|Schools with four teachers||19|
|Schools with five teachers||17|
|Schools with six teachers||15|
|Schools with 7-9 teachers||13|
|Schools with 10+ teachers||11|
|1-14 years in service||29|
|15-20 years in service||27|
|21+ years in service||25|
|Teachers over 50 years old||25|
In primary schools with only one or two teachers, the teacher is required to work thirty-five periods per week, and is, therefore, given a special allowance.
Secondary school teachers begin the year on 1 September and perform a variety of administrative functions. Teaching starts on a day determined annually by the Minister of Education within the first 10 days of September. The last teaching day in the year is different for teachers in lower secondary (gymnasia) and upper secondary schools (lyceums, technical schools), and is determined by the Minister of Education and Culture. Teaching ends for the gymnasium within the first 7 days of June and for the Lyceum and technical schools within the last 10 days of May. The remainder of the month of June, until the 30th, is spent on examinations, administrative duties, and staff meetings. Teachers have the months of July and August as a summer break as well as 2 two-week holidays at Christmas and Easter. Teachers do not also work on public holidays.
The weekly hours of teaching at the secondary level are as follows:
|Post||Periods per week|
|Headteachers (in gymnasia, lycea, and technical schools)||0|
|Deputy headteachers A'|
|0 - 6 years in the post||10|
|6+ years in the post||8|
|0-4 9/12 years in the post||14|
|4 10/12 - 9 9/12 years in the post||12|
|9 10/12 or more years in the post||10|
|0 - 7 9/12 years in service||24|
|7 10/12 – 15 9/12 years in service||22|
|15 10/12 – 19 9/12 years in service||20|
|19 10/12 or more years in service||18|
Leave of absence
A leave of absence may be granted to teachers at all school levels, in the following situations:
● Compulsory maternity leave: 12 weeks – two weeks before the birth, birth week and nine weeks after the birth
● Additional unpaid maternity leave of up to six weeks. Total maternity leave 18 weeks
● For a maximum of twelve days per year for personal or family reasons, subject to the approval of the Director of the Department of Education (primary/secondary)
● For a maximum of forty-two days per year for sick leave, accompanied by a medical certificate
● One year of certificated sick leave (with full benefits) and an additional year on half benefit for teachers injured during the war
● Educational leave of absence for another degree or postgraduate qualification. If teachers are in receipt of a state scholarship, then a part of the monthly salary is paid. If not, such leave is unpaid.
Other types of leave of absence for personal or public interest reasons (without allowances) may be granted at the discretion of the Director of the Department of Education (primary/secondary).
Teachers in the primary and pre-primary sectors are eligible for promotion to the following posts:
● Deputy Headteacher (A11+2 increments)
● Headteacher (A12+2 increments)
● Inspector (A12 and A13+2 increments)
● First Education Officer (A14+2 increments)
In order to apply for the position of the deputy headteacher, teachers must have at least thirteen years of service, five of which must have been spent in public pre-primary or primary schools. A minimum of three years in the post is required for a deputy headteacher to apply for the post of the headteacher.
In order to apply for the post of inspector of general subjects, an applicant must have served as a headteacher for at least three years. To be an Inspector for special subjects, an applicant must have been a headteacher for at least three years or a primary school teacher for at least nineteen years, five of which must have been spent teaching the subject of specialization.
Secondary school teachers may be promoted to the following posts:
● Deputy Headteacher (A12)
● Deputy Headteacher A' (A12+2 increments)
● Headteacher (A13)
● Inspector (A13+2)
● First Education Officer (A14+2)
In order to be eligible for promotion to the post of deputy headteacher in secondary education, a teacher must have completed at least twelve years of service, five of which been spent in public secondary schools in Cyprus.
An applicant for the position of deputy A' must have at least two years of experience as a deputy headteacher. In order to apply for promotion to the post of the headteacher, an applicant must have served at least two years as a deputy headteacher A'.
Both headteachers and deputy headteachers may apply to become Inspectors. All applicants must have at least one year of postgraduate studies in pedagogy or educational administration or in their subject of specialization. Headteachers and deputy headteachers who wish to apply must have had at least fifteen years of teaching experience, of which a minimum of two years must have been spent in a position not lower than that of deputy headteacher and five years spent in the public education system.
Mobility and transfers
Transfers are carried out by the Education Service Commission and they are defined as moving a teacher from a school located in one town or village to a school in another town or village. Teachers may be transferred, either because of or irrespective of their own wish. The latter can take place in the following cases:
● For reasons of educational need
● Upon or after a teacher’s promotion
● For reasons of discipline
Teachers retain all salary entitlements when they are transferred. Teachers may also be seconded to the Pedagogical Institute, embassies of the Republic, the Ministry of Education and Culture (Administration) and the Archbishopric. Such secondments are carried out by the Education Service Commission with the consent of the teacher.
Changes of schools within the same town or village are carried out by the respective Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
A teacher may be dismissed after a disciplinary hearing conducted by the Educational Service Commission has found him/her to be in breach of contract by:
● Being absent from duties without official permission
● Refusing or omitting to perform prescribed duties
● Committing an act of misconduct or dishonesty
Teachers may also be dismissed as inadequate for the role of a teacher after being referred to the Education Service Commission by the officer in charge of the investigation. If there is a case to answer, the officer submits his/her own report or a report from the Medical Board in support of the investigation. There is a range of possible outcomes in this situation, one of which is summary dismissal.
Teachers in a permanent position cannot be dismissed because of changes in the demand for teachers throughout the country.
Retirement and pensions
Law N.216(I)/2012, enforced on 1 January 2013, provides for the following as regards the retirement and pensions of teachers (and other employees) of the public sector:
New coming teachers, appointed to a permanent post on 1 October 2011 or later, are not included in the existing scheme of pensions of the Government.
Teachers appointed before 1 October 2011, reserve the following:
(a) For the period of their service before 1 January 2013:
(i) An annual pension, which is calculated according to the formula:
• Annual pension = total annual pensionable earnings multiplied by the number of months of service until 31/12/2012, divided by 800.
(ii) A gratuity, equivalent to:
• Gratuity = annual pension multiplied by fourteen and divided by three.
The gratuity is not liable to tax deductions.
(b) For the period of their service from 1 January 2013 onwards:
(i) An annual pension, which is calculated according to the formula:
Annual pension = the average of pensionable earnings for the number of months in service, from 1/1/2013 until retirement, divided by 800.
(ii) A gratuity, equivalent to:
Gratuity = annual pension multiplied by fourteen and divided by three.
The gratuity that is earned for service from 1 January 2013 onwards is liable to tax deductions.
In case that a teacher has been dismissed receives no pension or gratuity, although it is given to his/her husband/wife or dependent children. A teacher who has had his/her service terminated for any other reason receives the pension and gratuity which is due to him/her.
Age of retirement
Law 216(I)/2012 provides for the following:
Teachers in the public secondary sector: The age of retirement is 65 years for those that complete the age of 60 on 1 September 2016 or later. It is understood that the age of retirement is 62 years and 6 months for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2012 and 31/8/2013; 63 years and 6 months for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2013 and 31/8/2014; and, 64 years, for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2014 and 31/8/2015.
Teachers in the public primary sector: The age of retirement is 62 years on 1/9/2016 or later. It is understood that the age of retirement is 60 years and 6 months for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2013 and 31/8/2014; 61 years for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2014 and 31/8/2015; and, 61 years and 6 months for those that complete the age of 60 between 1/9/2015 and 31/8/2016.
Teachers are not permitted to pursue their careers beyond the official retirement age.
Law 216(I) of 2012 that abolishes and substitutes the Pension Benefits Law (Νόμος που καταργεί και αντικαθιστά τον περί Συνταξιοδοτικών Ωφελημάτων των Κρατικών Υπαλλήλων και Υπαλλήλων του Ευρύτερου Δημόσιου Τομέα περιλαμβανομένων και των Αρχών Τοπικής Αυτοδιοίκησης Νόμο - Ν. 216(Ι)/2012)
The Reduction of Salaries and Pensions Law of 2012 ( Ο περί της Μείωσης των Απολαβών και των Συντάξεων των Αξιωματούχων, Εργοδοτουμένων και Συνταξιούχων της Κρατικής Υπηρεσίας και του Ευρύτερου Δημόσιου Τομέα Νόμος του 2012 - Ν. 168(Ι)/2012)