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Cyprus

Cyprus

8. Creativity and Culture

8.7 Fostering the creative use of new technologies

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  1. New technologies in support of creativity and innovation
  2. Facilitating access to culture through new technologies

New technologies in support of creativity and innovation

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth has set high priority on the integration and exploitation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the educational process as well as on the development of those technologies that will advance school administrative procedures.

The ICT in the Learning Process sector of the newly established ICT Unit aims at the use of digital technologies to support teaching and learning. To pursue this goal, it maintains the promotion of continuous professional learning programmes, online portals with open educational resources, e-learning and blended learning supported by learning management systems, online communities of practice, school-based programmes and competitions, participation in European and research programmes, coordination of the safer internet programme, and the promotion, in general, of innovations related to the use of new technologies in education.

During 2018, the aim of the ICT in the Learning Process sector has been supported by the activities of the CPI Educational Technology Department. At the same time, under the collaboration with the Ministry’s Departments of Education (Primary, Secondary General and Technical and Vocational), a policy towards the internet access in schools is being planned, including WiFi radiation measurements in schools along with the implementation of a safe internet filter provided by Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA). In addition, in collaboration with Microsoft, training was provided for school academies. The actions focus on the Education and Training 2020 European priorities as well as the Cyprus Digital Agenda. Under this scope the following actions on Opening up Education through digital technologies have been taking place during the year 2019, covering the following areas:

  • Use of Digital Technologies in teaching and learning.
  • Creative, safe and responsible use of the internet.
  • Transversal and digital skills for pupils and teachers.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the ongoing effort of supporting as many schools as possible and exploiting the existing computer equipment in the most productive way was continued. In all Lycea and Gymnasia (i.e. secondary education) there are IT labs for the purpose of teaching all computer science courses.

Moreover, during the past few years, the syllabi of all IT courses taught at Secondary Education Level schools have been updated in order to meet European standards and current trends. This was pursued as it is one of the objectives of the National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs. Therefore, in all Gymnasia, IT courses are mandatory for all students and are taught for two periods per week in each of the three classes. The main objective of these courses is for pupils to cover material of European standards (ECDL). In addition, students are taught IT essentials and basic concepts of algorithm development and computer programming. In the A' Lyceum class, the IT course is mandatory for all students and is taught for two periods per week. Its objective is to introduce students to computer science. In B' and C' classes of the Lyceum there are three elective IT courses (Computer Science, Computer Applications and Networking/CISCO) which are taught for four periods per week.

Source:  2019 Annual Report of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth.

According to a Council of Ministers Decision in 2018, students of the B class of Gymnasium, that are supported by public income, were allowed to a subsidy of 400 euros to buy a laptop.  

In cooperation with various organizations such as the University of Cyprus (UCY), the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), the Cyprus Computer Society, the Society of Computer Science Teachers in Secondary Education, CYTA, Microsoft, and so on, the following actions were held during the 2018-2019 school year:

  • Cyprus Olympiad in Informatics;
  • Cyprus Competition for creating Educational Games (LogiPaignion) for Secondary Education pupils;
  • Program “We Record Memory, Production, documentaries by students”;
  • Seminars and experiential workshops for teachers, parents and students;
  • Operation of the helpline and complaints 1480;
  • Other competitions, conferences, workshops.

All public universities offer online student information services, free wifi and some offer e-learning classes and of course the Open University of Cyprus provides online courses at different levels. Some of the courses of the Open University of Cyprus connected to culture or new technologies are:

  • Theatre Studies
  • Studies in Hellenic Culture
  • Cultural Policy and Development
  • Communication and new Journalism

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth offers a subsidy up to 500 euros to each new university student for acquiring a computer or for upgrading one. The subsidy is given to the students according to their social and financial status.

The Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) excels in the promotion of new technologies. Recent successes include two ERC strategic projects totalling 3.3 million Euros, two “Teaming for Excellence” research proposals led by the CUT, which ensured the highest pan-European rating and participation in the creation of a RISE Excellence Centre for technological and business innovation. CUT University operates the CUTing Edge: An American Space which aims to provide an inspirational place where people can relax and embrace technology, become innovators and present their work to the worldwide community. 

In addition, Youth Makerspace Larnaka is a venue of innovation, built upon the example similar successful venues that operate in various cities around the world, following the international standards of Makerspaces that are developed by academic institutions and communities globally. It offers young people the opportunity to have access to high-end technological equipment that will enable them to develop their business ideas and put them in practice.

Makerspace venues contribute to the democratization of design, construction, engineering and education. Through their distinct learning philosophy, they empower young people on multiple levels: technology, handcrafts, creativity, construction, etc. In Makerspaces, young people have the chance to share and implement their skills and knowledge, boosting their vast potential of creativity.

In 2019, Youth Board of Cyprus created the mobile unit of Makerspace. The mobile unit aims to reach young people who live in rural areas, away from urban centres, and who therefore do not have access to programs and technologies such as Youth Makerspace. It is specially designed for this purpose and houses high tech technological equipment.

Facilitating access to culture through new technologies

There are limited initiatives that facilitate access to culture through new technologies such as:

  • The Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth have created the Portal of Cultural Information programme which is incorporated in the creation of a national network of cultural information. The Portal presents artists’ profile, their creative works and covers the areas of Visual Arts, Cinematography, Music, Writing and Performing Arts.
  • In November 2017 UNESCO approved the application submitted by the Cyprus Technological University/ Digital Heritage Workshop for the creation of a third UNESCO Chair in Limassol on “Digital Cultural Heritage”.
  • Cyprus University of Technology and University of Cyprus  have started a new project, the iMARECULTURE which will address the challenges of bringing the underwater (UW) cultural heritage (CH) into public attention as something more tangible, while raising awareness about European identity. Project aims to overcome the limitations of time and space using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), along with Serious Games. Several actions and tasks will help to the goal, such as two Serious Games with interactive storytelling, Dry visits in museums using Holographic screens, Head Mount Devices (HMD) or VR caves, and AR in UW tablets for divers in underwater archaeological parks.
  • TheYouth Makerspace Larnaka, referred to above, aims at helping children and young people to develop their  skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, design and critical thinking, through the use of advanced technological equipment which is available to young people free of charge.