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According to the World of Bank 2014 Report “Analysis of the Function and Structure of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus”, education governance in Cyprus is largely centralized with only a limited amount of decentralization. The main authorities responsible for education are the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (MOECSY), the Educational Service Commission (ESC) (Επιτροπή Εκπαιδευτικής Υπηρεσίας), and the Local school boards (Σχολικές Εφορίες).
The Council of Ministers sets the educational policy in Cyprus. The overall responsibility for policy implementation, educational planning and service delivery rests with the MOECSY, except for some cases. The ESC manages the appointment, promotion, secondment, and retirement of educators as well as the appointment of head teachers and inspectors.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth and Culture is organized into 14 departments. The most important structures that are under the Ministry or work closely with it are:
- The Department of Primary Education administers pre-primary and primary education.
- The Department of Secondary General Education administers general secondary education.
- The Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education has the responsibility of technical and vocational education.
- The Higher Education Department administers tertiary and higher education.
- The Cyprus Pedagogical Institute is responsible for the in-service training of teachers and for curriculum support.
- The Centre of Educational Research and Evaluation is responsible for the promotion and establishment of research in education related issues (educational policy, curricula, textbooks, training).
For more information, you can also visit the relevant Eurydice website under the section Cyprus Education Organisation and Governance.
In addition, the Youth Board of Cyprus (YBC) is an important entity regarding the identification and promotion of youth policies in the field of Education and Training as well as other youth related issues. The YBC, as an advisory body, submits through the Minister of Education,Culture, Sports and Youth to the Council of Ministers suggestions regarding the development of a comprehensive and specialized youth policy for the promotion of the progress and prosperity of all young people in Cyprus and for providing opportunities to all young people.
As regards to regional/local authorities, Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Ammochostos, Pafos and Kyrenia. District authorities have no responsibility either in policymaking in education, educational planning or the establishment and operation of schools. However, some administrative authority is exercised at local level by the Local School Boards which are established in municipalities, villages or neighbouring communities where schools operate. Local school boards are public entities charged with some financial management and infrastructure management of school buildings, including recruitment and management of teacher assistants to help with special needs children, hiring school support staff (such as cleaners and guards), purchasing and delivering stationery, distributing learning materials, and liaising with the Ministry’s Technical Services for larger repairs and school maintenance. Therefore, they act as an intermediary administrative and supply station between the Ministry and the schools.
For more information, please visit the Eurydice website under the section Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level in Cyprus.
The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) (Αρχή Ανάπτυξης Ανθρώπινου ∆υναμικού) plays also an important role in vocational training not only for young people, but for the general population in Cyprus. The HRDA is a semi-government organisation whose mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of the human resources of Cyprus. For more information, please read the 2019 Annual Report of the organisation.
Concerning the role of non-public actors in the field of education and training in Cyprus, the trade unions are powerful and have an active role in the development and implementation of policies. They always participate in negotiations about teachers’ working conditions, remuneration, evaluation and any kind of educational reform at all levels. There are three teachers’ unions in Cyprus that are key stakeholders in education:
- POED – Pancyprian Greek Teachers Organisation (Παγκύπρια Οργάνωση Ελλήνων Δασκάλων) is the union for pre-primary and primary teachers.
- OELMEK – Association of Greek Secondary Education Teachers (Οργάνωση Ελλήνων Λειτουργών Μέσης Εκπαίδευσης Κύπρου) is the union for secondary general teachers.
- OLTEK – Association of Teachers of Technical Education in Cyprus (Οργάνωση Λειτουργών Τεχνικής Εκπαίδευσης Κύπρου) is the union for secondary technical and vocational education teachers.
- P.S.E.M – Pancyprian Student Coordination Committee (Παγκύπρια Συντονιστική Επιτροπή Μαθητών) is the body responsible for safeguarding the rights of school students in Education as well as their representation in decision-making processes. For more info about this actor, please visit the section 5.3 Youth representation bodies.
In the field of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education, the relevant Ministry’s Department co-operates on European level with CEDEFOP and the European Training Foundation (ETF) and on national level with stakeholders and social partners, including:
- The Committee for the Monitoring of the Upgrading of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education;
- The Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation;
- Various trade unions, and
- The Advisory Body for Post-Secondary Institutes of Vocational Education and Training.
There is not a specific mechanism of cross-sectoral cooperation between Ministries, Departments, Agencies involved in defining policies and measures on education and training for young people. However, the 2019 Annual Report of the MOECSY states that the European and International Affairs Office (GEDY) promotes the implementation of the EU and International policies in Cyprus in line with national priorities through coordination of educational committees, technical working groups and other groups of experts. It collaborates closely with all the Departments of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, the Cyprus Sports Organization, the Youth Board of Cyprus, and other Governmental Departments and nn-governmental organisations, the Permanent Representation of Cyprus in Brussels, Strasbourg, Geneva and elsewhere, and with the embassies of the Republic of Cyprus abroad.
As for the field of youth, in the National Youth Strategy 2017-2022υ, there is an action field devoted in Education and Training where the coordination of youth priorities and initiatives of all public bodies will be under the responsibility of the Youth Board of Cyprus. The cross-sectoral cooperation that takes places in the frame of the National Youth Strategy is described in Section 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.