Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)

Last update: 29 March 2023
On this page
  1. National strategy
  2. Formal education: main policy measures on ELET
  3. Addressing ELET through non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work
  4. Cross-sector coordination and monitoring of ELET interventions

National strategy

There is no special national strategy tackling ELET in Cyprus.

However, one of the Strategic Horizontal Pillars of the Cyprus Lifelong Learning Strategy 2021-2027 (CyLLLS) is devoted on “Inclusion and equality”. As it is stated in the Strategy, “everyone has the right to access quality and inclusive education, training, and lifelong learning. (…) Therefore, issues such as equal and inclusive attainment in early childhood education, provision of alternative pathways to dropouts, (…) pathways for re-entering education are of particular importance for the CyLLLS”. The CyLLLS has four key priorities and the second one aims to “Decrease youth unemployment and upskill/reskill youth and the workforce”. The “2.2 Goal: Establish targeted measures for people at risk” specifically mentions that “education and training need to be provided equally and fairly andthis implies providing equalizing steppingstones and opportunities to people at risk. Access to information, availability of programmes, and existence of upskilling pathways are key elements in the lifelong learning sector. An analysis-based segmentation is required to identify certain target groups as well as their needs, leading to more targeted and effective efforts”. Each priority is supervised by specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and for the specific strategic priority 2, indicator 6 refers to the “Share of early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) and its target to be below 9%”.

The CyLLLS was funded by the European Union via the Technical Support Instrument, managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Structural Reform Support. It was approved by the Council of Ministers on September 30, 2022 and it is coordinated by the European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office of the MESY. The governance of the CyLLLS 2021-2027 is under the National and Technical Committees comprised by several bodies (for the composition of the Committees, please read the CyLLLs). In particular, the National Committee is responsible to monitor the implementation of the CyLLLS 2021-2027 and assess the effectiveness of its strategic measures. The Strategy targets all age groups of the Cypriot population.

In the 2014 Eurydice report "Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe:- Strategies, Policies and Measures” (see pp. 174-175), a number of other measures and individual policies are also presented and concern different levels of education (e.g. pre-primary, VET, etc.).

Evaluation and indicators of the implementation of the specific measure on ELET s available in the following section.

Formal education: main policy measures on ELET

The most important initiative implemented at top-level for preventing early school leaving is the "Activities of School and Social Inclusion +(DRA.S.E.+)" (Δράσεις Σχολικής και Κοινωνικής Ένταξης, pp. 265-268). The project aims to support, expand and improve the outcomes of the previous programme against “Early School Leaving, School Failure and Delinquency in Zones of Educational Priority" (p. 514), which was implemented during the 2007-2013 programming period. Based on the 2021 Annual Report of the MESY for the school year 2021/2022, the project ran in 170 school units and approximately 25% of the total pupil population has been benefited by actions provided through the project. It is implemented in all levels of education, from pre-primary and primary to lower and upper-secondary education as well as technical schools. The project is 60 % funded by the European Social Fund and it  is into force from 2014 until 2027.

In the DRA.S.E. project, the following programme actions are being implemented, as they were described in the Ministry’s 2020 & 2021 Annual Reports.

  • Morning and afternoon free programmes to reinforce learning and creativity of pupils and their families;
  • Free programmes to reinforce learning in Greek language for parents and guardians;
  • Additional psychosocial support services by clinical and consulting psychologists through the establishment and operation of Information and Psychosocial Support Centres:
    • Individual support for pupils and parents / guardians
    • Experiential workshops for groups of pupils, teachers and parents / guardians.
  • Supply of technological school equipment and educational tools/materials to schools;
  • Continuous training and professional development programmes for the involved teachers;

Based on the ongoing monitoring of the indicators of the DRA.S.E. programme, the programme has already met its objective, which was to support 15% of the total pupil population in Cyprus. The programme will be monitored annually until its expected completion by the end of 2027.

In addition, the upgraded educational policy related to Multicultural Education supports both the inclusion of all youngsters and contributes, in the long-term, to the prevention of early school leaving. The policy aims particularly at the smooth integration of pupils with migrant background into the Cypriot educational system, through a variety of actions, such as intensive teaching of the Greek Language in secondary education public schools, teachers’ training, etc. For more information, please read the section 6.6.

As for ELVET-specific measures, there is not a specific strategy, but the most important measures that are still in progress are mentioned in the Eurydice report of 2014 (p. 174). Indicatively, the most important are:

  • The New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) Programme which started its operation in the school year 2012/2013. Τhe NMA provides an alternative pathway for education, training and development for young people who drop out from the formal education system and is geared towards meeting the needs of the labour market. The NMA embraces young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation is not compulsory and is free of charge.
  • The Evening Technical Schools (Εσπερινά Σχολεία) are second chance schools that have been established to promote participation in secondary technical and vocational education and to combat early leaving. The Evening Technical schools target any person above 18 years old who, for any reason, has dropout school.  

Addressing ELET through non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work

There is no policy, programme, project and initiative – either directly organised or funded – by top level authorities aiming at preventing and reducing ELET through non-formal and informal learning.

However, the first 3-year Action Plan for the implementation of the National Youth Strategy 2017-2022 states that non-formal educational activities, workshops, seminars and classes (such as theatre, sports and arts) are offered to children and teenagers of migrant background in the Reception and Accommodation Centers for Applicants of International Protection so as to support their social skills and educational background. Based on the evaluation of the first Action Plan 2017-2019 of the National Youth Strategy (NYS), the indicator of this action was met (at least 113 participants in the educational activities).

Cross-sector coordination and monitoring of ELET interventions

In regards to the existence of policies/programmes/projects/initiatives supporting multi-agency partnerships between the main categories of professionals working to address early leaving at school and community level, the Eurydice report of 2014 (p. 174) mentions that in Cyprus “the policy areas of employment, social affairs and health are involved in the cooperation on tackling early leaving, but cooperation mechanisms have not yet been established. Multi-agency partnerships at local/institutional level are well established and involve both psychologists and guidance specialists. School heads, teachers, social workers, therapists, speech and language specialists, as well as other necessary specialised staff to help students with specific problems may also be associated within projects. Youth workers may also be involved”.

In the Cyprus Lifelong Learning Strategy 2021-2027 (CyLLLS), that was presented under section 6.3 – National strategy, the Strategic priority 2 is devoted to “Decrease youth unemployment and upskill/reskill youth and the workforce”. The “2.2 Goal: Establish targeted measures for people at risk” and the “2.3 Goal: Re-skilling youth and the workforce” explicitly mention that learning opportunities and working experience should be provided to people at risk. In addition, under strategic priority 2, there is a specific indicator (No.8) which refers to the “Young people neither in employment nor in education and training by sex, age, and labour status (NEET rates) [15-34] and its respective target to be below 10%”. As CyLLS is an ongoing national strategy, a specific action plan is expected to be developed especially for addressing the indicators of Strategic Priority 2, where cross-sector coordination among various stakeholders is going to be defined, together with monitoring and evaluation procedures.

The 2021 Annual Report of the Ministry of Education,  Sport and Youth (MESY) also mentions that the Coordinating Committee for Health Education and Citizenship (Συντονιστική Επιτροπή Αγωγής Υγείας και Πολιτότητας) undertakes the coordination of all health and citizenship-related policies, actions and programmes in collaboration with all departments and other responsible units of the Ministry  that promote the physical, mental and social well-being of students, including the DRA.S.E. Programme. The Committee also coordinates the collaboration with other external bodies and actors, such as the Cyprus National Addictions Authority, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance as well as the Ministry of Health.

Official monitoring reports and evaluations undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the measures implemented and the level of cooperation between stakeholders, have not be published by the MESY.

In an attempt to safeguard young people’s continuous participation in education and training, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance also launched between 2014-2017 the National Action Plan for Youth Employment which implements the Youth Guarantee Recommendation in Cyprus. It endorses a wide range of actions that aim to reinforce youth employment and activate young people (especially NEETs) as regards available employment schemes, encourage them to register at the Public Employment Service and provide substantial help in job search, education or training opportunities. Development, monitoring and evaluation is overseen by a cross-sectoral Working Group which was established for the preparation of the National Action Plan for Youth Employment. This working group includes representatives from all implementing bodies, social partners, and youth organisations.