Expatriate Teacher Training Program
The Pedagogical Institute, in the context of its effort to spread the Greek language in countries where there are Greek outpourings, has since 2000 offered a training program on "Greek Language and Culture" addressed to expatriate teachers who teach the Greek language.
Following a decision of the Cyprus Council of Ministers and under the policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus to contribute to the support of the Hellenism of the Diaspora and to the rescue and dissemination of the Greek language and culture in countries where there are cradles of Hellenism, up to twelve (12) scholarships are offered every year to participants in the Lifelong Learning Program.
The Pedagogical Institute looks forward to empower teachers to follow the Program in modern approaches to teaching Greek as a second/foreign language in order to be able to teach it in their countries of origin as well as to give them the opportunity to improve their knowledge in the Greek language, literature, history, and culture. They consider them ambassadors of Greek language and culture in their countries and want to develop a culture of team spirit among those who are chosen to participate.
Institutions, level, and models of training
Day nurseries are not considered to be educational institutions, as their aim is to provide care and safety rather than education to children. As a consequence, day nursery staff in the public sector are not required to hold any teaching qualifications. They are qualified social welfare personnel with the status of a civil servant.
Pre-primary and primary level
All kindergarten teachers in the public sector are university graduates. Most of them are graduates of the University of Cyprus with a Bachelor’s degree from the Pre-School Section of the Department of Education (Tmima Epistimon tis Agogis), Faculty of Social Sciences and Education. There are also graduates of other universities with a minimum qualification recognized by KYSATS as ‘equivalent and corresponding’ to those offered by the University of Cyprus.
Primary teachers in the public sector are either university graduates or graduates of the Cyprus Pedagogical Academy, which was abolished on the establishment and operation of the University of Cyprus, in 1992. Most of the university graduates hold a Bachelor’s degree from the Primary School Section of the Department of Education (Tmima Epistimon tis Agogis), Faculty of Social Sciences and Education of the University of Cyprus. There are also graduates of other universities with a minimum qualification recognized by KYSATS as ‘equivalent and corresponding’ to those offered by the University of Cyprus. The graduates of the Cyprus Pedagogical Academy are considered to be university graduates upon graduating from a special program (Programma Exomeiosis) conducted by the University of Cyprus and a number of Greek universities, in the period 1997-1999, upon an agreement between the primary teachers’ union and the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Bachelor degree program at the University of Cyprus, both for pre-primary and primary school level teachers, is a four-year full-time course, which comprises compulsory and elective courses. The main areas of study are Pedagogical Science, Teaching Methodology, Content Area Courses, Specialisation, General Education and Foreign Language. The program is based on the system of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Students are required to successfully complete at least 240 ECTS, divided into the following categories:
● Compulsory courses – 190 ECTS (79.2% of the course) for primary teachers and 170 ECTS (70.8% of the course) for pre-primary teachers.
● Elective courses – 30 ECTS (12.5% of the course) for primary teachers and 55 ECTS (22.9% of the course) for pre-primary.
● General education courses – 20 ECTS (8.3% of the course) for primary teachers and 15 ECTS (6.3% of the course) for pre-primary teachers.
The program follows the ‘concurrent’ model with school experience being an integral part of it. School experience for pre-primary education is completed in three phases, as follows:
● Phase I is completed in the second year of studies, fall or spring semester.
● Phase II is completed in the third year of studies, fall or spring semester.
● Phase III is completed in the fourth year of studies, fall or spring semester.
School experience for primary education is completed in four phases, as follows:
● Phase I is completed in the second year of studies, spring semester.
● Phase II is completed in the third year of studies, fall semester.
● Phase III is completed in the third year of studies, spring semester.
● Phase IV is completed in the fourth year of studies, fall or spring semester.
Students are required to complete 30 ECTS in School Experience as part of the program of their studies. The purpose is to familiarise students with what takes place in a school setting, focussing on planning for instruction and the different roles undertaken by teachers in school settings.
Secondary school teachers are required, as a minimum, to hold a recognized university degree at Bachelor level in a subject taught in secondary schools in Cyprus. In addition, prospective teachers must attend a nine-month pre-service training course, which, as from September 2007, is delivered by the Department of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Education of the University of Cyprus.
The pre-service training course provides for a combination of theory and practice and a participant must successfully complete 48 ECTS. The course is made up of the following elements:
● Compulsory Common Core Subjects (3X4=12 ECTS)
● School Experience - compulsory (20 ECTS)
● Subject Specialisation (1X4=4 ECTS)
● Teaching Methodology for Subject Specialisation (2X4=8 ECTS)
● Electives (1X4=4 ECTS)
The number of credits assigned above to the Teaching Methodology for Subject Specialisation and Electives can be modified to serve better the needs of each particular specialization area.
The pre-service training is held in the morning (09.00-13.00) and afternoon (15.00-19.00). Those participants who attend the morning session receive a monthly allowance of €1025.16 during the eight months that they attend the course. The participants who attend the afternoon session are not entitled to a monthly allowance.
Upon completion of the course, participants receive a certificate from the University, which is a prerequisite for appointment to permanent teaching posts in secondary education.
Special education operates under the Directorate of Primary Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Teachers of Special Education must have a first degree in one of the areas of special education or a first degree as a teacher of primary/pre-primary education and a postgraduate qualification in the specialist area in which they wish to teach. Areas of special education include:
● Teaching children with learning difficulties or emotional problems;
● Teaching children with visual impairments;
● Teaching children with hearing impairments;
● Speech therapy;
● Special physical education;
● Music therapy;
● Occupational therapy;
Private schools at the pre-primary, primary and secondary level, are governed by Laws N. 5/1971 – N. 77(I)/2008 on Private Schools and Institutes, are responsible to set their own selection criteria for recruiting teaching staff. Most often they follow the methods of appointment of the public schools recruiting teaching personnel from the ‘waiting list’ of the Education Service Commission. Community kindergarten teachers are appointed by a Special Committee of Appointment of the kindergarten, which is made up of the President of the Local School Board (Sholiki Eforia), the headteacher of the nearest primary school and the director of the kindergarten.
Teachers at all levels of school education in Cyprus – pre-primary, primary and secondary, have to be university graduates, therefore, admission criteria to their initial education are set by the respective universities. Admission to the University of Cyprus and the Greek universities is set upon success in the Pancyprian Examinations conducted every June by the Ministry of Education and Culture. These examinations serve both as upper secondary level final examinations and entrance examinations to the aforementioned universities. In order to be eligible for the examination, applicants must be Cypriot citizens with at least one Cypriot parent and have a school-leaving certificate from a lyceum or a technical school or a recognized private school. Other universities, either private universities in Cyprus or foreign universities, set their own admission criteria.
Curriculum, level of specialization and learning outcomes
Teachers in Cyprus are specifically trained for one certain level of education, therefore, they are not qualified to teach to any other education level. Secondary school teachers are subject specialists, while primary teachers choose two subjects of specialization during the fourth year of their studies. Universities offering initial teacher education and training are responsible for determining the respective curricula.
Elements of specific skills associated with school management and administration and the ability to manage mixed groups of pupils, especially mixed ability and culturally diverse groups, are included both in the curricula for the initial education for pre-primary and primary teachers and the pre-service course of secondary school teachers. The main areas of study of the primary and pre-primary curriculum are:
- Pedagogical Sciences: It comprises compulsory and elective courses totaling 60 ECTS for the primary level and 70 ECTS for the pre-primary level. The compulsory courses for primary education include:
Introduction to Pedagogical Sciences; Educational Technology; Methodology of Educational Research; Theory and Practice of Teaching; Introduction to Inclusive Education; Educational Evaluation; Sociology of Education; Developmental Psychology.
The compulsory courses for pre-primary education include:
Introduction to Pedagogical Sciences; Educational Technology; Methodology of Educational Research; Theory and Practice of Teaching; Introduction to Inclusive Education; Educational Evaluation; Developmental Psychology; Principles and Perspectives of Early Childhood Education; Early Childhood Pedagogy.
- Teaching Methodology: It comprises compulsory and elective courses totaling 50 ECTS for the primary level and 65 ECTS for the pre-primary level. The compulsory courses for primary education include:
Early Literacy; Language Arts Methods; Teaching of Mathematics; Theology and Christian Education; Art Education in Primary School; Teaching of Natural Sciences; Music Education in Primary School; Physical Education in Elementary School. The compulsory courses for pre-primary education include:
Early Literacy; Social Studies; Cultural Learning and Art; Forms of Language Expression; Early Childhood Music Education; Mathematical Concepts; Natural Sciences; Play – Learning and Development; Content of Physical Education.
- Content Area Courses: It comprises compulsory courses (40 ECTS) for primary teachers and compulsory and elective courses totaling 50 ECTS for pre-primary teachers. The courses for primary teachers are:
Introduction to Computer Science; Statistical Methods; Greek Language or Greek Literature; Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics I; Natural Sciences in the Elementary School-Environmental and Living Organisms or Environmental Issues or Experimental Study of Natural Sciences; Greek Language Instruction – the Structure of Greek; Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics II or Topics from Modern Mathematics; Natural Sciences in the Elementary School – Physical and Chemical Phenomena and Changes. The compulsory courses for pre-primary teachers are:
Introduction to Computer Science; Statistical Methods; Greek Language or Greek Literature; Pre-Mathematical Concepts; Natural Science Concepts–Environment and Living Organisms; Art Education in the Kindergarten; Early Childhood Music Education; Physical Education in Preschool Education.
- Specialization (A and B): It is required only for the degree of primary school teachers. Students are required to complete 30 ECTS – 15 ECTS from Specialisation A and 15 ECTS from B – in the fourth year of studies. Students must choose two areas from the following:
○ Specialization A - Greek Language, Mathematics, Science Education.
○ Specialization B – Special Education, Art Education, Music Education, Physical Education.
- Elective Courses. The courses must be chosen from at least two different faculties and be completed within the first two years of studies. Four courses (20 ECTS) are required for the primary education level and three courses (15 ECTS) for the pre-primary level.
- Foreign Language: Students are required to complete 10 ECTS in a foreign language.
- School Experience: 30 ECTS are allocated to school experience for both the primary and the pre-primary school level.
As the minimum qualification required for appointment to a teaching post, at any level of school education, is a Bachelor’s degree, teacher educators are university teachers.
Qualifications, evaluation, and certificates
In the public universities of Cyprus, students are assessed internally by the teaching staff of the university. Assessment methods include written and/or oral examinations at the mid-term or the end of a semester, continuous assessment focused on the student’s active participation, laboratory exercises, written or practical assignments, projects, and dissertations.
Students progress from one year/stage of studies to the next provided that they have obtained at least the minimum pass mark in all prescribed evaluations and have attended at least a minimum required a percentage of the program, actual percentages being determined by the individual universities.
Certification in the public universities of Cyprus is the responsibility of each university. Upon successful completion of the program of studies the institution awards the final qualification. The award of a Bachelor’s degree, which is the minimum required qualification for teachers, is subject to the approval of the Board of the Department.
Alternative training pathways
No alternative training paths alongside the models described above are provided in Cyprus.