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Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.5Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education

Last update: 12 June 2022

Saturday's Digital School for Secondary School Students

Starting mid-November 2021, the Pedagogical Institute, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth has started offering online courses during non-teaching time. The courses are addressed to Lyceum / TVSET students (Technical, Vocational School, Education and Training).
In November, courses were offered on a) protection from invisible enemies and ways to control and prevent Infectious Diseases and b) Internet: The dangers that lurk and useful tips for teens.

Curriculum, Subjects, and the number of hours

The Lyceum offers a study programme which is subdivided in common core subjects, elective (specialisation) subjects and subjects of special interest and/or enrichment. Both specialisation subjects and subjects of special interest are only offered in the second and third grades of the Lyceum. Specialisation subjects are offered for 16 weekly periods in grade B and 16 weekly periods in grade C. Subjects of special interest are offered for 4 and 2 weekly periods in grades B and C respectively. Pupils in grade A follow a common core curriculum and they can choose 2 courses of 2 hours each. There are syllabuses for every subject, which consist of goals and subject matter and also specify which teaching methods and materials must be used.    

ICT and foreign language learning are a priority in the educational system of Cyprus. Two or three computer rooms have been established in each lyceum, equipped with at least eighteen PCs, printers and scanners, and all students have access to the Internet. In addition to the computer rooms, computers have also been installed in physics laboratories, school libraries, career guidance offices and in classrooms used for teaching Mathematics, Foreign Languages and History.

There are also two language rooms in every lyceum. The establishment of the language room as a resource for language learning helps in the teaching of foreign languages.  A language room usually includes video players, a video camera, cassettes and cassette players, CDs, printers, TV films and computers connected to the Internet.

The use of the Language room helps in the development of students in many thematic areas by providing an integrated multimedia environment for the provision of Computer Assisted Language Learning.

New school curricula are being gradually implemented since September 2011 in all subjects and grades, from the kindergarten up to the lyceum. The new curricula have been created in the framework of the ongoing Educational Reform with the aim of upgrading the whole education system.

The initiative started in June 2008 by the establishment of a Scientific Commission for the Revision of the School Curricula (Επιστημονική Επιτροπή για την Αναθεώρηση των Αναλυτικών Προγραμμάτων). The curricula were completed by teams of specialists of university teachers and teachers of primary and secondary education. A period of public consultation followed before the new curricula were officially accepted and published.

The new curricula encompass the broad aims of education in Cyprus; fundamental pedagogical principles; subject related principles; and, aims and objectives and the content for every curriculum subject for all grades. The curricula also encompass elements of teaching and learning methodology; indicators of achievement; methods of evaluation; and, indicative activities used in teaching.

The broad aim of the new curricula is to contribute to the development of people who:

  • Possess a satisfactory and connective body of knowledge from all areas of science;
  • Develop behaviors and attitudes that characterize a democratic citizen; and,
  • Possess abilities, skills and competencies that are required in the ‘knowledge society’ of the 21st century, which include critical thinking, theoretical thinking and the ability to transfer theory into practice, analysis and planning abilities, problem solving, creativity, cooperative abilities, optimal and sensible use of ICT, empathy; and, communication skills.

Many radical changes have been applied for the Lyceum. The new timetable which is provided below, was introduced in September 2015, it replaces the old system of the Integrated Lyceum by a new Lyceum system providing for six concrete streams of specialization (combinations of subjects) to be offered in forms B and C Lyceum, while in form A, four “orientation groups of subjects” are offered. 

New  Timetable for grade A at Lyceum level

Thirty-one (31) of the 35 teaching periods will be Common Core courses. The other (Specialization) 4 periods can be in : 

  1. Ancient Greek/History
  2. Math/Physics
  3. Math/Economics
  4. Economics/English

New timetable for grade B at Lyceum level

In B Lyceum, students can choose one of the following six (6) specializations. In each option, four (4) orientation courses are taught, of four (4) periods each (total of 16 periods).
Stream 1: Classical Studies and Humanities
Stream 2: Foreign Languages and European Studies
Stream 3: Sciences - Life Sciences - Information Technology - Technology
Stream 4: Financial Studies
Stream 5: Commerce and Services
Stream 6: Fine Arts

New Timetable for grade C Lyceum

In C Lyceum, students continue with the Stream of studies that they chose in B Lyceum. 

In parallel to the new timetables, a new Access Framework for the Greek and Cypriot universities has been prepared by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Streams – mandatory courses and elective courses for B’ and C’ Lyceum

There are 6 streams of mandatory and elective courses for grade B Lyceum and grade C Lyceum. 

Teaching methods and materials

The Ministry of Education and Culture does not provide guidelines for teaching methodologies. As all teachers are university graduates and have completed one year of pre-service professional training, they are expected to be familiar with all new teaching methods and techniques and to apply the method which is best suited to the needs of their students and to the requirements of the syllabus. The system of inspections ensures that teachers are using appropriate and up-to-date pedagogical methods in their teaching.

At the beginning of every school year, pedagogical instructions for the various subjects of the curriculum are usually given out to teachers as part of seminars offered to them where small group activities, project work, and computer-assisted learning are encouraged.
The Curriculum Development Unit of the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus is responsible for the preparation of books and audio-visual material that teachers and pupils use during lessons. All textbooks, materials, and teaching aids are provided to schools and pupils free of charge. All public secondary schools use the same core teaching texts, however, a school may opt to buy and use supplementary teaching materials.

Homework is considered as part of the teaching and learning process in the schools of Cyprus and is part of the training included either in the teachers’ formal in-service training at the Pedagogical Institute, the inspectors’ seminars to the teachers or pedagogical sessions at the school level. There are no official recommendations on homework at the Lyceum level.