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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in early childhood education and care


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.1National reforms in early childhood education and care

Last update: 22 March 2024


Free compulsory pre-primary education from the age of 4

The House Standing Committee on Education and Culture discussed at the end of February 2024, the issue of free compulsory pre-primary education from the age of 4 years old.
The minister of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY), said after the discussion in the Education and Culture House Standing Committee, that the government in cooperation with the European Commission have worked diligently so that children from September 2024, instead of entering school from 4 years and 8 months, will be gradually accepted from 4 years and 6 months, and slowly until 2031 will be accepted free of charge from 4 years old to public and community schools or in private schools, if their parents choose so.
The minister also said that the ministry has intensified its efforts to cooperate with the private sector both in joint programs, actions, training of kindergarten teachers of the private sector with kindergarten teachers of the public sector and teachers of all levels.

Respect for diversity: Transition to modern and inclusive school

On March 4, 2024, the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth (MESY), has published an article on the transition to modern, inclusive schooling, through concrete actions and policies that foster respect and diversity.
Reference is made on the right of the students to enroll and receive free education in public schools in Cyprus, at all levels, from pre-school to tertiary education. It is stated that the education system makes no distinction as to race, community, language, color, religion, students' political or other beliefs, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin, which are guaranteed by Article 20 of the Constitution of Cyprus. The school also respects the right to freedom of thought, political or other beliefs and religion.
Details are provided on the policies and actions on the following:

  • Anti-racist policy
  • Human rights – health education
  • Gender equality
  • Special education reform
  • Policy for students with immigrant biography
  • Program Imagine
  • Sex education


Supporting the expansion and strategic development of early childhood education and care in Cyprus

In a report published by UNICEF in April 2023, reference is made on the importance that Cyprus is placing in providing affordable high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), which is a condition for promoting children’s early development and their subsequent school performance. 
The Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth (MESY), recognizes ECEC as an area that needs improvement and therefore has high policy priority. This is highlighted in the national Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) adopted in 2021. Through its RRP, Cyprus also aims to enhance the availability of quality care and social development infrastructure for children, and thus address the shortcomings highlighted by the relevant Country Specific Recommendation of the 2019 European semester cycle.
The Cyprus RRP 2021-2026 identifies the main challenges in the area of ECEC as follows:

  • Cyprus relies heavily on informal settings or private institutions and social protection for families and children, as a proportion of GDP. This is comparatively low at 1.3% v EU 2.5% in 2016. 
  • Free childcare is mainly limited only to guaranteed minimum income recipients, who also receive subsidization for private childcare. 
  • The ECEC enrolment gap is higher for children under the age of three: while 97% of children aged 4 to 6 were enrolled in ECEC in 2019 (EU average 95.4%), 20.7% of children under the age of three participated in ECEC, below both the EU average (35.1%) and the Barcelona target (33%). 

Cyprus is committed to ECEC reforms and as such has a strong ECEC focus on their RRP and has requested technical support from the EU through the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) to enhance the quality, affordability, accessibility, and inclusiveness of ECEC for children aged 0-6. The Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth and the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare (Social Welfare Services) are committed to this project by driving this exciting intervention.


There have been no reforms.