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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 22 March 2024


Policy for the smooth transition from primary to high school

Regarding the smooth transition from primary to secondary school, the Educational Psychology Service (EPS), in collaboration with all interested parties, is planning training workshops on a nationwide basis, within the framework of the policy for the smooth transition from primary to secondary school. The training workshops, which will focus on the analysis of practices to support students for their transition and adaptation to gymnasium, concern principals and teachers who oversee sixth grade classes of primary schools.
The transition from primary to secondary school is a significant change in the lives of children and their families, because at the same time it marks the transition from childhood to adolescence. In addition to the objective, cognitive/educational needs they will be called upon to face, children are also called upon to manage the developmental, emotional, and social changes that the transition entails.
To adopt good practices for psycho-emotional empowerment of students during their transition from primary to secondary school, each principal is invited to participate in the workshop together with at least one sixth grade teacher from his school. Each principal and the teacher participating in the workshop will act as nuclei afterwards, aiming to transfer knowledge and good practices to other sixth grade teachers of their school.

The road to inclusive school and the goal of improving learning outcomes

The Minister of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY) in Cyprus has highlighted, at the beginning of the year 2024, the efforts towards inclusive education and improving learning outcomes. The ministry's main goal is to create democratic and critical-thinking citizens through an educational system that nurtures each child's talents and abilities. In the past 10 months, the ministry has achieved several milestones, focusing on pedagogical criteria and innovative educational practices. Key highlights include:

  • Emphasis on creating democratic and critical-thinking citizens through an inclusive educational system
  • Finalizing the assessment system for secondary education with a focus on formative and pedagogical evaluation
  • Abolishing the marketization of support programs, providing employment opportunities for those in need
  • Implementation of programs for prevention and early intervention in preschool education
  • Modernization of assessment systems and improvement of learning outcomes
  • Expansion and enhancement of all-day schools and vocational education
  • Upgrading school infrastructure and accelerating digital transformation
    Involvement of all stakeholders in dialogue and collaboration for the advancement of education

The ministry is committed to open dialogue and collaboration with all stakeholders, including students, parents, educators, and interested parties, to achieve its goals.

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

Phase B of the PEDIA Project - Creation of green and nearly zero energy schools

The Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY) presented in April 2023, the second phase of the PEDIA project, which has been funded by the European Commission, under the Horizon 2020 program. The PEDIA project is an innovation project, which seeks to promote energy efficiency and develop innovative approaches in schools, of particular importance for Cyprus, as it is the first time that on such an expanded scale attempts are made to transform school buildings into green and sustainable ones.
This project is the first of its kind funded by the European Union with the main objective of creating a methodological tool, the application of which can capture the real energy upgrade needs of each school building in Cyprus. This tool was funded by the EU with the amount of 500 thousand euros, while 8 million euros have been secured for school upgrades by the public and private sector.
The importance of the program is realized by the very interest shown by schools in receiving energy upgrades. Specifically, 162 schools of all educational levels applied to be evaluated by the program, of which 144 were eligible. In the first phase of school evaluation, 55 schools were selected and evaluated on-site and in depth, as the second phase of the program, through which the first 25 schools that will receive a total energy upgrade were selected.

Actions to tackle more effectively violence and delinquency in schools

 The ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY) convened meetings with all stakeholders in recent months to systematically prevent and tackle violence and delinquency in schools, an issue that has plagued society at large, over time.
To reduce incidents of violence and delinquency in school settings, specific measures have already been taken and are being implemented within schools, although it is commonly accepted that this serious issue is multifactorial and concerns many other stakeholders (parents-family, police, support services, community, etc.).
Specifically, a series of measures have been institutionalized through a Decision of the Council of Ministers and are being implemented as of this year, which, based on research data, are effective. Among many others, the following were institutionalized:
1. Strengthening the management team and teachers (strengthening the institution of the head of department, setting up committees on violence and delinquency, training teachers and explaining their role in crisis management issues at school, etc.).
2. Simplification of crisis management procedures, simplification and strengthening of cooperation protocols between schools with the Immediate Intervention Team and the Educational Psychology Service.
3. Implementation of a protocol for reporting incidents of violence and delinquency on an electronic platform of the Observatory for Violence in schools of the Pedagogical Institute.
4. Introduction of preventive programs at younger ages (preschool).
5. Implementation of programs for the development of a culture of acceptance of diversity.
At a meeting, convened by the Minister of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY) in December 2023, with the participation of all stakeholders, specific measures of immediate implementation were decided.


Regulations of 2023 for the operation of public secondary schools (Amendment No. 2)

The Amending (No. 2) Regulations on the operation of public secondary schools that have been passed for 2023 bring about the following changes:
(a) The uniform written assessment at the end of each quarter is abolished and the uniform final examination is introduced after the end of the courses, at the end of May.
(b) For courses that are not examined in writing after the end of the course, the grade of the year will be the average of the grades of the two (2) quarters, while for courses that are examined in writing after the end of the course, the grade of year will be the sum of the grades of the two (2) quarters, at a rate of 35% for each quarter, and the grade of the single final written examination, at a rate of 30%.
(c) The grade of each quarter will result from the concurrent and written evaluation. It will concern the performance that characterizes the student's attendance during the quarter, which is evaluated on the basis of exams, written assignments - projects and other forms of evaluation, which will be carried out in the context of the intended learning outcomes, in accordance with the instructions of the Competent Authority, and will not include the grade of the written promotional exams. For this purpose, the provisions of Regulations 15A and 15B (amending No. 2 Regulations of 2020), which relate to the existing student assessment process, will cease to apply.
(d) The number of subjects examined in grades A' and B' of high school is reduced from four to two subjects, which will be Modern Greek and Mathematics.
(e) The final examination for all secondary education classes will continue to be prepared centrally, with reinforcement of existing procedures, so as to ensure their reliability.
The above improvement changes aim both at increasing the teaching time and at strengthening the existing procedures, with the ultimate goal of forming and introducing an integrated, modern and reliable assessment system for students in secondary education, based on pedagogical criteria.

Abolition of the service purchase regime in the DRASE+ (Social and School Integration Actions) and Optional Full-Day School programs of Primary Education

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth is proceeding with the abolition of the service purchase regime in its educational programs.
On June 15, 2023, the Council of Ministers approved the Proposal of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth (YPAN) for the gradual abolition of the service purchase regime in its programs and for the staffing of the programs for the school year 2023-2024.
Based on the decision, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth is proceeding with the abolition of the service purchase regime in its educational programs, starting next September.
In this context, from September 2023, the DRASE+ Primary Education and Optional All-Day Primary Education programs will be staffed in the majority with teachers from the lists of appointees of the Education Service Commission. In all other educational programs, salaried employment contracts will be offered for the 2023-2024 school year. At the same time, consultations continue for each individual program, in order to achieve the pedagogical restructuring of the programs and also to ensure the best working conditions for the people employed in the programs of the Ministry of Education.
Every possible effort is being made so that this important action to modernize the educational system affects the smallest possible number of people who have been employed in these programs in recent years.

The modernization of syllabi 

The Minister of Education in an interview on June 26,2023, stated that several actions and policies have been promoted in the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth during the last 3 months.
One of them, concerns the evaluation of the students in secondary education.
A temporary solution which was proposed, passed by the Parliament and adopted, and refers to the current school year, is the central evaluation of the second quarter, with the aim of not harming the children. The new, modern evaluation system which has been proposed since May 2023, gives emphasis on the continuous evaluation of students. A student-centered system that focuses on authentic assessment and learning, and is limited to a central examination at the end of the school year.
Another major decision concerns the resolution of the chronic issue of the status of purchase of services in several educational programs of the Ministry. Due to the decision of the Council of Ministers on June 15, from September 2023, the DRASE+ (School and Social Integration Actions) Primary Education and optional All-Day Primary Education programs will be staffed in their majority with teachers from the lists of appointees of the Education Service Commission. Therefore, there will be a continuity in the schools implementing the DRA.SE program. and All-Day, and this gives the Ministry, the opportunity to check, evaluate and improve these structures.
Another policy that was promoted relates to the institution of All-Day schools, which, again by decision of the Ministry of Education, is extended to both Primary and Secondary Education. The decision 
includes the expansion, improvement and reconstruction of the institution, a topic on which a dialogue will begin in the next period.
The Minister of Education also stated that in the last 3 months, a decision was made to expand and upgrade MIEK (Post-secondary Vocational Education and Training Institutes), which offer high-quality education and training programs in developing sectors, providing citizens with the opportunity to acquire, improve or upgrade their professional qualifications and skills.
In the end, the Minister stated that through the policies that have already begun to be implemented, the foundations have been laid for the great bet of the educational system, the modernization of the syllabi, i.e., the rationalization of the curriculum, the updating, limiting it to the necessary, to the core knowledge, aiming at a modern, new educational system, which promotes the abilities, skills and knowledge of each child.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth promotes new regulations for the evaluation of students in the secondary education

In a meeting of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth and all stakeholders on May 22, 2023, the new assessment framework for students in the secondary education was discussed.
During the meeting, the Minister of Education initially reviewed the present situation and the challenges presented in the issues of student evaluation in the secondary education, while she then presented the basic aspects and provisions of the proposed new evaluation system. The basic philosophy of the evaluation will be its formative and pedagogical character.
With the new assessment plan, emphasis is placed on the multiple forms of concurrent assessment, the increase in teaching time, the continuous professional development of teachers and the limitation of the subjects examined in the 1st class of Gymnasium Grade 7), for the purposes of a smooth transition from Primary school to the Gymnasium, while at the same time the final written exam in January is abolished in all classes.
The school year is still divided, for matters of organization and teaching, into two four-month periods, while students will sit for a written final exam, which will be prepared centrally, at the end of the second four-month period.

Four-month examination of secondary general and technical and vocational students education and training 

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth (ECSY) has announced on March 2, 2023 that it is proceeding with the complete restructuring of the student evaluation system in Secondary General and Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training, in consultation with all partners.
In this context and with the aim of providing pedagogical support to all students of middle schools, high schools and technical Schools, the Ministry of Education is proceeding with improvement measures regarding the examination of the second quarter of the current school year.
Specifically, the Ministry of the Interior will propose reducing the weight of the written exam of the second quarter of the 2022-23 school year from 40% to 20%, with legislative regulation, as well as reducing the examined material to 60% of the taught material. In addition, a monitoring mechanism has already been put in place to supervise the marking and control of the degree of difficulty of the examination essays, in order to avoid additional stress and burden on the students in their academic progress. Instructions were also given for proper use of the teaching time.


The progress of the educational reform and the proposal for the National Plan for Education, 2021-23

Responding to a proposal on November 1, 2021 by the President of the Commission of Education and Culture of the Parliament, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth has proceeded to a proposal of the National Plan for Education, 2021-23.
The National Plan for Education for the reforms of the years 2021, 2022 and 2023, was presented by the Minister of Education to the Council of Ministers on November 11, 2022. Based on some of the characteristics that emerge, the design of a series of policies that are currently being promoted also emerges. In order to achieve the main goals of the Educational Reform, namely the quality in education and learning outcomes, the following steps have been taken by the Ministry of Education: 
1.Increase of the number of teachers in schools, especially in Special Education 
2. The application of a new credible and meritocratic evaluation plan for teachers 
3. The adoption of free breakfast to elementary student beneficiaries according to set criteria 
4. Continuance and intensification of the efforts to integrate the children of Special education equally into regular classes 
5. Significant improvement in learning outcomes due to the reform effort and innovations adopted 
6. Adoption of a plan for strengthening and effective integration of immigrant students  
7. Adoption of a plan for strengthening and reorganizing Special Education 
8. The utilization of digital technology throughout all levels of education 
9. French language teaching in the whole high school cycle 
10. Certification of foreign language knowledge 
11. Diagnostic procedures of learning problems and other characteristics from the earliest age possible 12. Adoption of "school and social inclusion actions" program 
13. Greater emphasis on sexual education and prevention against sexual abuse and
14. Policy to support small schools in mountainous, rural, and remote areas.   

Signing of the "Support Services System (SSS)" Project Contract for the electronic governance of Public Education

On September 6, 2022, a €20 million contract was signed for the project "System of Support Services" regarding the introduction of e-governance in public education.
The Contract provides for the development, installation, maintenance and operation of a complete Digital Computer System Transformation through which school management will be improved. In addition, teachers, parents and students will be actively supported on the daily management of all matters and they will be involved in the daily administrative needs of the relevant services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth (MECSY).
The project includes the development and supply of advanced equipment and software, training, as well as system maintenance and operation services for a ten-year period.
The main goal is for parents, students and teachers to be able to quickly handle all their daily activities and statutory procedures that have to do with their school unit and to interact with each other with any "smart" device they have (mobile phone, tablet or any type of computer).
With the introduction of this Computerization System, all those involved will have direct access to the functions of the schools and to the information of the Education departments of the Ministry and will be able to be served immediately and find answers to their needs.
At the same time, with the use of the System, the bureaucracy and the suffering of the citizens is substantially reduced, and greater efficiency of the services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth (MECSY) is achieved, as well as better coordination of the Ministry with other public services.

Taking the education reform a step further

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth through the National Education Plan will make some decisions in the years 2021-2023 that will take educational reform a step further.
Data, which has been collected will form the basis of a new set of decisions to do with the education system, informed “by predictions and suggestions concerning all of its aspects” that will come to form the National Education Plan for the years 2021-2023.
According to statistics, there were 2.4 per cent less primary school pupils in 2021-2022 than last year (2020-2021), which followed yet another 2.1 per cent decrease from the year before.
On the contrary, primary school teachers increased by 2 per cent this year and 2.1 last year. Teachers in special education marked the highest increase at 5.5 per cent this year and 8 per cent last year. This means that there were 9.5 pupils per teacher in 2021-2022, compared to 10 in 2020-21 and 10.4 in 2019-20.
When it came to secondary schools, the figures showed a 1.7 per cent decrease in pupils as opposed to a 2.5 per cent increase recorded the previous year. In total, there were 45,537 pupils in secondary education, of whom 4,721 were in technical schools.
At the same time, teachers increased by 2.7 per cent this year, following 1.9 last year and 3.5 per cent in 2019-20. Of all the teachers, 6,406 work in secondary schools (marking a 2.4 per cent increase) and 676 in technical schools (5.3 per cent increase).
The figures showed that this year there were 6.4 pupils per secondary school teacher as opposed to 6.7 per cent the year before.
The ministry is examining several options that will limit drop-outs and simultaneously accommodate pupils with learning difficulties from creating alternative education programmes to promoting vocational training for those who cannot cope in traditional education.
The ministry will also put forth proposals to improve integration programmes for migrant pupils and those whose first language is not Greek, so that they can improve their results as the language is mandatory in public schools.
Lastly the ministry will put together its proposals into a National Education Plan for 2021-23, which will not be made public until it gets full approval by the House education committee.

Smooth integration of students with an immigrant background

During the press conference given by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth in July 2022, he referred to the strengthening of the procedures for the reception and smooth integration of students with an immigrant background.
He stated that due to the change in trends and developments in our society, the composition of the student population in Cyprus has changed and continues to change at a rapid pace since the students with an immigrant background are now an important portion of the student population at all levels of the education system. Ηe also said that the policy of the Republic of Cyprus, is the reception of these students and their smooth integration into the public school. For this purpose, the basic prerequisite is the learning of the Greek language and some training at the level of social-cultural awareness.

Meeting on Secondary Education curricula and developments in the field of employment

In a meeting which was held in January 2022, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth (YPPAN) discussed with representatives of Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ΚΕΒΕ), Organization of employers and industrialists (ΟΕΒ), Organization of Greek Secondary Education Officials of Cyprus (ΟΕLΜΕΚ) and the Human Resource Development Authority (ANAD), the secondary education study programs and the developments in relation to the modern needs and employment conditions in the labor market, as well as vocational guidance needs in education.
The meeting held was about the necessary changes in the organization of curricula in Lyceums and Technical Schools including internships during studies and development of the Post-Secondary Institutes of Vocational Education and Training (MIEEK), with emphasis on the development of skills (including digital skills) that are necessary in today's world and in line with future trends.

Implementation of a pilot program STEM in Primary Education

Pilot program STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Program has been teaching in a pilot program in eight primary schools since the academic year 2021-2022.The operation of STEM program is also planned to be implemented in Secondary Education. The program which states the educational policy and direction promotes an integrated interdisciplinary approach to the learning process. Children are involved in activities that provide them with opportunities to utilize knowledge, concepts, processes and practices in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to address situations and issues related to the world of everyday life. By using STEM methodology, the students complete projects through which they seek, design, elaborate and propose innovative solutions to various issues of the 1-day experience, in a context of coexistence and synergy of the four disciplines.

Online Learning Action on Internet Security

Thousands of students from 300 elementary school classes of Grades 1 to 4 from Cyprus and Greece have participated in the second online educational activity on the topic of Internet security which took place in February 2022, and which was titled: "Athena and Dickie in the Magic World of the Internet”.
This event was co-organized, in the framework of the International Safer Internet Day by the Cyprus Safer Internet Center - CYberSafety which is coordinated by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, and the Safe Internet Center of Greece
The students, with the help of the authors and heroes of the fairy tales "Athena learns about personal data" and "Dickey in the Magical World of the Internet", were informed in a creative way about the safe and responsible use of the Internet.
This event offered the opportunity to elementary students Grades 1 to 4 from Greece and Cyprus to connect and communicate remotely, thus strengthening the good cooperation between the two Secure Internet Centers (Cyprus and Greece). In addition, this effort encourages the relevant bodies of the European Union (Insafe and INHOPE) to exchange views, best practices, experiences and know-how on promoting the safe and responsible use of the Internet, as well as on the exchange and exploitation of educational material, in printed and digital form, between the two Centers.

Online program for Gymnasium students on mental resilience

The Ministry of education, is continuing in February the series of the Online program "What is mental resilience and how students can achieve it", which is directed to Gymnasium students, and who can participate in their free time.
The main purpose of the program is to explain the term "mental resilience" and emphasize the reasons why mental resilience is important as well as on how one can develop this ability, to overcome his/her difficulties in life.