Primary education in the public sector comprises a six-year cycle of studies, which is free and compulsory for children who have reached the age of 6 years old. Schools are established by the Ministry of Education and Culture following a decision by the Council of Ministers. All schools are co-educational institutions with all classes running on a mixed-ability basis. No primary schools are attached to pre-primary or to secondary schools.
The fundamental aim of primary education is to create and secure the necessary learning opportunities for children, regardless of age, sex, family and social background, and mental abilities, so as to enable them to develop the characteristics of a wholesome personality. The aim includes the harmonious development of children in the cognitive, emotional and psychomotor domains; familiarisation with the school and the wider environment; promotion of socialization; acquisition of positive attitudes towards learning; development of social understanding and respect for cultural heritage and human rights; and, development of sensitivity in preserving and improving environment.
Private schools also operate in Cyprus. They are established by private individuals or bodies and are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Some of them extend their cycle of studies to seven or eight years. Pupils in private schools pay fees.
Primary education in the public sector is governed by Regulations ΚΔΠ 225/2008, and ΚΔΠ 276/2009, based on the Elementary Education Law, N. 99/1989 amended by N.227/1990. Additional Regulations governing public education include Κ.Δ.Π. 345/2011, Κ.Δ.Π. 253/2012, Κ.Δ.Π. 235/2017, Κ.Δ.Π. 236/2019, Κ.Δ.Π. 224/2020 and Κ.Δ.Π. 449/2020.
Private primary schools are established and operated under the laws on Private Schools and Institutes (Laws 5/1971 – 77(I)/2008) and Law 147(I)/2019.
The Directorate of Primary Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the administration of all primary schools both public and private.