Cyprus Secondary General Education

Cyprus Gymnasio - The Gymnasio is the first 3-year circle of secondary education. Compulsory education in Cyprus spans the primary and secondary education up to the age of 15, therefore tuition at the Gymnasio is compulsory. The main goal of the Gymnasio is to promote the development of pupils according to their age potentials and the respective requirements of society.

The Gymnasio is a self-contained school unit of general education. It complements the general education offered by primary education and prepares pupils for the further enhanced general humane education, while it also prepares them for further education at the Eniaio Lykeio or the Technical Schools. The subjects at the Gymnasio are common for all the pupils. The teaching periods are 37weekly for all three forms. Almost all subjects are taught at all three forms.

Cyprus Innovations and Reforms

Foreign Languages - One of the essential pylons which support Cypriot Secondary Education is the knowledge of foreign languages. For this reason pupils at the Gymnasio are taught two foreign languages (English and French).

Sex Education - In an effort to update and align schools wish modern needs and trends in society, a pilot programme was established for intersexual relations and sex education which is implemented, at a first stage, in 3 gymnasia. The programme is expected to cater for the psychological, social and emotional aspects of sex education.

Form Teacher - At the B and C forms of the Gymnasio there is the institution of the form teacher who is instrumental in improving the school atmosphere and the relations between educators and pupils as well as in developing the sense of responsibility and creativity of pupils and their involvement in the organization and operation of the class. The form teacher monitors the improvement and progress of the class and the pupils individually and helps create a new school ethos.

Information Communication Technology - The whole issue of the best possible use of new technologies in education is the object of a general policy and orientation of the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition, the European orientation of Cyprus leads to the need for harmonization of the education policy of the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture with that of the European Union. Special interest is given to the initiative for an electronic Europe through the activities and the goals of the e-Europe programme, adopted by the Cyprus state. As a result, the subject of computer studies and the use of computers has been extended to the Gymnasio following its successful establishment at the Lykeio.

Indicative examples of the whole tendency for reform and modernization are the pupil terminals for anti-drug education (for B form pupils), the mobile units 'mentor' (for A form pupils) and the environmental programmes 'Chrysoprasino Fyllo' (Green-gold Leaf), 'Globe', 'Young journalists and the environment - Ecoschools' and 'SEMER'.

In the school year 2002-2003 there were 63 Gymnasia attended by 28.826 pupils out of a total of 52.056 pupils.

Cyprus Eniaio Lykeio - The Secondary General Education, state and private, constitutes a large part of Cyprus education system. As from the school year 2000-2001 Secondary Education is marked by the milestone of the Eniaio Lykeio (Lyceum). This is perhaps the most important reform in Cypriot education in the last two decades. The reform concerns an important change in the structure of the Lykeia on pan Cyprian dimensions following a pilot implementation.

The Lykeio cycle of the state Secondary Education offers a 3-year education programme for pupils aged 15 to 18. The new institution has as its main feature the general education (including both technological and economic education) and the development of an integral personality. The pupils have the options to form the timetable according to interests and talents. The pupil is assisted by the counselors and the committee for the evaluation of choices.

The A form is a form for observation, guidance and orientation. In this form pupils have the opportunity to take calculated decisions for the future forms and how to form the future preparing for further studies or the labor market. In forms B and C the pupil attends common core subjects considered indispensable for all the pupils. The pupil can select those subjects (direction) which will help the preparation for the future career as well as the subjects (interest or/and enrichment) which will satisfy or enrich special interests or talents.

The Eniaio Lykeio is also connected to the following inner reforms which are essential for materializing its main pursuits: upgrading and supporting the form teacher, the programme 'Action, Creativity, Social service', making use of the school library, supporting the in-service training of educators, extending laboratory classes to the A form of the Eniaio Lykeio, lowering the maximum number of pupils per class, supporting and upgrading career guidance and counseling, enriching and supporting teaching material with renewed text books as well as with audiovisual, software and other support material and the new didactic methodology which aims at reducing direct teaching and eliminating memorizing data and mechanical reproduction.

The number of pupils at the Lykeio in the last six years is as follows:

1997-1998 21506
1998-1999 22101
1999-2000 22878
2000-2001 22933
2001-2002 22840
2002-2003 23230

Computer Studies and Computers (ICT) - The syllabuses for computer studies have been upgraded to European standards. The introduction of direction subjects in B and C forms of the Eniaio Lykeio have as main goal to provide pupils with the required knowledge so as to operate computers as tools for problem solving in their pupil and student life, their future employment as well as a base for further study of the subject. Computer Labs are equipped with at least 18 pcs, printers, scanners and multimedia equipment. There is a systematic use of the computer at the Lykeia as a means or/and a tool in subjects such as Typing, Physics, Biology, History and Foreign Languages. There is also the possibility of using computers for the other subjects of the syllabus, with suitable software or equipment.

Cyprus and the European Dimension in Education - The European Dimension in Education was the target topic since the school year 1996-97 and ever since schools respond positively in attaining this target.

Activities undertaken by the Lykeia as regards the European Dimension are, among others:

  • Collecting material relevant to the European Dimension, available to both educators and pupils.
  • Creating European Clubs which cooperate with counterparts in Cyprus and abroad.
  • Publishing special leaflets or articles in the school magazines.
  • Undertaking interdisciplinary projects by pupils on topics such as: human rights, xenophobia, racism, the environment, cultural heritage, European identity, common European features, etc.
  • Links of Lykeia with European schools either through e-mail and internet or through the programme school links and Exchanges.
  • Stress on celebrating Europe Day and establishment of Europe Week with relevant activities.

Special Rooms - One of the innovations of the Eniaio Lykeio is the implementation of the programme Teaching classes in special rooms. The traditional teaching adhered to a classroom for all subjects taught. By establishing special rooms, teaching is updated for each subject and a number of education means and didactic techniques are used for each subject. The use of special rooms is expected to enhance the interest in and effectiveness of teaching.

Private Secondary Education - There are a number of private secondary schools, all registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture and operating according to existing regulations. They offer six or seven-year courses. Some of them apply exactly the syllabuses and timetables of the state schools. The language of teaching in private schools varies, the main ones being Greek, English, French and Russian.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005