Cyprus is committed to further strengthening education and is focusing on reforms to achieve sustainable growth. Since 2004, when Cyprus joined the European Union, the country has consistently allocated over 6% of GDP of public expenditure on Education. The Ministry of Education and Culture aspires for Cyprus to be established as a technological and educational center of excellence.
Higher education policy objectives, as expressed in official documents of the Ministry of Education and Culture are mainly two: To fulfill the local needs for higher education and to establish Cyprus as a regional centre for education and research. The Government’s research expenditure target, as expressed in the Strategic Development Plan 2007-2013, was to reach 1% of GDP by 2010 with the ultimate goal of achieving the Lisbon Strategy goal of 3% at a later stage with the contribution of the private sector.
The higher education system in Cyprus is shaped by the European Higher Education Area as outlined by the Bologna Process. In line with the Bologna main objectives, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and the Diploma Supplement are used by all public universities and most of other institutions. Two independent bodies are responsible for quality assurance – the Council for Educational Evaluation and Accreditation (SEKAP), which is responsible for the evaluation and accreditation of programmes of study of non-university level private institutions in Cyprus, and the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications (KYSATS), which is responsible for the recognition of qualifications awarded by institutions of higher education in Cyprus and abroad.
Higher education in Cyprus is provided at university and non-university level, in public and private institutions of higher education. In the academic year 2014-2015, there are three state and five private universities in operation, while at the non-university level there are five public and thirty private institutions in operation. Overall responsibility for the higher education sector lies with the Ministry of Education and Culture, except for the public non-university level institutions which come under the remit of other ministries.
Most public and private universities in Cyprus offer their courses in the English language and all higher educational institutions actively participate in EU funding programs such as the Erasmus + program. The majority of foreign students who select Cyprus for their tertiary education originate from Asia, Africa, Eastern European Countries and countries members of the European Union.
Cyprus has a young, well-educated talent pool. According to statistics of the Ministry of Education, a large number of Cypriot students study at universities abroad. Traditionally, many students prefer to study in Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States.
In general, Cyprus has a high percentage of tertiary education attainment (46.7% in the 30-34 age group, for 2013), exceeding the national target, and achieving a percentage that is higher than the EU28 average of 36.8%, and one of the highest percentages in the world.
Most public and private universities in Cyprus offer their courses in the English language. The majority of foreign students who select Cyprus for their tertiary education originate from India, Bangladesh, countries of the European Union and Russia.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Education, a large number of Cypriot students study at universities abroad. Traditionally, many students prefer to study in Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States.