This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021. The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early childhood education and care
- School education
- Vet and Adult learning
- Higher education
- Transversal skills and employability.
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
Signing of a memorandum of cooperation for the development of educational, cultural, scientific and research synergies and actions
On June 20, 2023, a memorandum was signed for taking initiatives and implementing actions for the benefit of the Cypriot citizens. The synergy is between the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and of Digital Policy and the Agency for Culture, Education, Sports, Sciences and Social Care of the Church of Cyprus. Non-Governmental Organizations KENTHEA and Interstellar Science, Education & Cultural Institute, also participated. The memorandum, will help in creating the foundations of a collaboration in educational, scientific and research level, and will form a new field of common policy. In this context, by allowing interaction with society, the memorandum opens up new perspectives on the preservation of Cyprus’ historical memory, the spread of Cypriot culture, the strengthening of education, the further development of the sciences, and also addresses the various challenges that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is called to manage in the modern age. The Ministry considers the Deputy Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Agency for Culture, Education, Sports, Sciences and Social Care of the Church of Cyprus as key partners, in the effort to respond to the maximum possible extent to its obligation towards the new generation and society in general. Experiential learning, experiential knowledge, and the cultivation of skills to the students are a key priority for the ministry, and goals which fall both in the Governance Program and in the ministry’s Strategic Planning.
National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2021-2027
The vision of Cyprus for Lifelong Learning Strategy of 2021-2027 is to assist citizens in pursuing their educational and training needs and goals in all educational settings (formal, nonformal and informal) throughout their life and will guarantee them possibilities for personal development and fulfilment, well-being and successful work and family life. The National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2021-2027 includes practices for the personal fulfillment and the development of skilled, trained and flexible workforce, that has the skills and qualifications needed by the European economy and European society to remain competitive and innovative, while contributing to the promotion of social cohesion and inclusion.
The Government programme
The overall education strategy and key objectives across the whole education system, as described in the Government Programme, are based on five pillars of educational policy, as follows:
1. Human resource development and upgrading in education, with reference to the following content areas:
1.1 Modernising the system of appointment in the public educational sector;
1.2 Upgrading the teachers’ in-service education and training;
1.3 Modernising the evaluation system for the teachers and educational work.
2. Modernising the administrative structures of the schools and the whole educational system, with reference to the following content areas:
2.1 Modernising the administrative structure of the ministry of education and culture;
2.2 Promoting school autonomy.
3. Upgrading the educational content and promoting effectiveness in education, with reference to the following content areas:
3.1 The curricula;
3.2 The timetables;
4. Supporting and empowering all learners, with reference to the following content areas:
4.1 Promoting new technologies in the educational system;
4.2 Pursuing educational success and literacy;
4.3 Promoting differentiation in the learning process.
5. Expanding and upgrading tertiary education, with reference to the following content areas:
5.1 Increasing the number of students;
5.2 Upgrading the private institutes/universities;
5.3 Promoting international cooperation;
5.4 Modernising the legal framework for the operation of private institutes of tertiary education.
Further information is available from the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
Reforms in education are based on policy objectives of the Government and views and suggestions of experts and stakeholders.
The Council of Ministers is the highest authority for education policy-making, while overall responsibility for education rests with the Ministry of Education and Culture. In the reform process, the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for drafting proposal measures, laws and budgets submitting them for approval to the House of Representatives via the Council of Ministers. The Attorney’s General Office (Γραφείο Γενικού Εισαγγελέα) acts as the legal adviser to the Ministry.
The Education Council (Συμβούλιο Παιδείας) is a consultative body to the Minister of Education and Culture, the objective of which is to initiate dialogue on reforms in the whole education system. It is made up of representatives from all of the parliamentary parties, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Permanent Secretary of the Planning Bureau, (renamed, by Law 127(I)/447, as Directorate-General for European Programmes, Coordination, and Development, on November 1st, 2013), the Chairman of the Education Committee of the House of Representatives, as well as other interested bodies. It is presided over by the Minister of Education and Culture.
The Education Committee of the House of Representatives is central to the education reform process, as it scrutinizes the policies and expenditure of the proposed reforms.
Major reforms on the restructuring of the educational system are usually based on views and suggestions of experts’ committees appointed Ad Hoc by the Government.
Public consultation with the various stakeholders is a common practice in the reform process. The teachers’ and the parents’ organisations are considered the main stakeholders in the process.