European Education Area Progress Report 2020

Education and Training Monitor 2020


1. Key indicators

Figure 1 – Key indicators overview
Cyprus EU-27
2009 2019 2009 2019
Education and training 2020 benchmarks
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) 11.7% 9.2% 14.0% 10.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) 45.0% 58.8% 31.1% 40.3%
Early childhood education
(from age 4 to starting age of compulsory primary education)
84.7% 95.3%18 90.3% 94.8%18
Proportion of 15 year-olds underachieving in: Reading 32.8%12 43.7%18 19.3% 22.5%18
Maths 42.0%12 36.9%18 22.2% 22.9%18
Science 38.0%12 39.0%18 17.8% 22.3%18
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-8 (total) 81.1% 81.7% 78.0% 80.9%
Adult participation in learning (age 25-64) ISCED 0-8 (total) 8.3% 5.9% 7.9% 10.8%b
Learning mobility Degree mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 35.2%18 : 4.3%18
Credit mobile graduates (ISCED 5-8) : 2.2%18 : 9.1%18
Other contextual indicators
Education investment Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP 6.4% 5.2%18 5.1% 4.6%18
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student in € PPS ISCED 1-2 €8 79312 €9 13417 €6 072d, 12 €6 240d, 16
ISCED 3-4 €10 120d, 12 €11 93717 :12 €7 757d, 16
ISCED 5-8 €9 92612 €9 85417 €9 679d, 12 €9 977d, 16
Early leavers from education and training (age 18-24) Native-born 7.8% 4.8% 12.6% 8.9%
Foreign-born 23.0% 23.3% 29.3% 22.2%
Tertiary educational attainment (age 30-34) Native-born 49.4% 66.2% 32.0% 41.3%
Foreign-born 36.5% 43.2% 25.1% 35.3%
Employment rate of recent graduates by educational attainment (age 20-34 having left education 1-3 years before reference year) ISCED 3-4 73.8% 72.3% 72.2% 75.9%
ISCED 5-8 82.9% 83.9% 83.7% 85.0%

Sources: Eurostat; OECD (PISA); Learning mobility figures are calculated by DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on UOE 2018 data. Further information can be found in Annex I and in Volume 1 ( Notes: The 2018 EU average on PISA reading performance does not include ES; b= break in time series, d = definition differs, := not available, 12= 2012, 16 = 2016, 17 = 2017, 18=2018.

Figure 2 - Position in relation to strongest and weakest performers

Source: DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, based on data from Eurostat (LFS 2019, UOE 2018) and OECD (PISA 2018).

2. Highlights

  • Digital education is clearly a policy focus but implementation needs to be improved. Distance learning highlighted several gaps.
  • Addressing underachievement and students’ well-being is crucial to improve learning outcomes.
  • Several initiatives in vocational education and training (VET) aim to improve labour market links, yet participation in upper secondary VET remains low.
  • Employability among young graduates has risen in 2019, but health and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates remain scarce.

3. A focus on digital education

Research shows a mixed picture regarding the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education. Digital education is most prevalent at lower secondary level, where ICT is a compulsory subject with one of the highest number of annual hours (135) allocated in Europe. The OECD’s teacher survey (‘TALIS’) shows that compared to other participating EU countries, Cyprus has a high share of lower secondary teachers (54.2%) that let students use ICT for projects or class work. However, since 2013, this share has increased much less than in other Member States (OECD, 2019d). A survey of all primary schools revealed that teachers frequently use ICT for their own preparation, but rarely integrate ICT in class. Teachers considered that the content-heavy and time restrictive curriculum was the main barrier for using ICT (Vrasidas, 2015). In the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, a majority of principals reported a lack of incentives for teachers to integrate digital devices in their teaching (Reimers and Schleicher, 2020).

New forms of digital learning require up-to-date equipment in schools. Educators feel that schools are well equipped with digital infrastructure at both primary (Vrasidas, 2015) and secondary levels (OECD, 2019d). However, in an EU-wide comparative study, the share of schools with high provision of digital equipment (laptops, computers, cameras, whiteboards) per student and ahigh broadband speed is very low at primary (2% v an EU average of 35%) and lower secondary level (0% v 55%) and moderate at upper secondary level (55% v 72%) (European Commission, 2019a)1. The upgrading of infrastructure is ongoing: since 2018, 405 robots have been acquired for secondary schools to support robotics lessons (Government of Cyprus, 2020). The Cyprus Pedagogical Institute (CPI) opened a lab in 2019 equipped with the latest technologies (e.g. anthropoid robots, robotics, 3D virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, and simulations) which teachers and students can use for hands-on activities.

There is a gap between how teachers and students perceive their own digital skills. The majority of teachers (61.8%) feel well or very well prepared for using ICT for teaching (EU average 37.5%) and only 10.8% report a high need of professional development in this area (EU average 18%) (OECD, 2019d). Slightly more than half the teachers who undertook continuing professional development (CPD) focused on ICT skills for teaching. However, given the fast-changing nature of the ICT sector, it is of concern that this share has remained unchanged since 2013. Among students, 19% of 16-19 year-olds considered themselves to have low digital skills in 20192 – a share above the EU average (15%) and practically unchanged since 2015. Above basic overall digital skills are reported by 36% of students - a major increase of 16 pps since 2015, but still far below the EU average (57%). High digital competence is positively linked to self-efficacy in using ICT for learning and has also potential benefits beyond ICT-linked learning (Hooft Graafland, 2018).

The shift to distance learning highlighted some gaps in students’ digital participation. Education became remote through a mix of asynchronous (email, websites), synchronous (web-streaming) and TV provision of educational content. To ensure that disadvantaged students without access to IT equipment were not left behind, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth distributed 7 431 tablets across all education levels, most donated by NGOs and the Bank of Cyprus. Around 1 800 households were provided with internet connection. Limited suitable digital learning material in Greek and teachers’ need to familiarise themselves with online teaching are further challenges at all education levels. Until May, more than 3 000 teachers had been trained on the use of the platforms. To better integrate ICT into education and prepare for blended forms of learning, training should eventually also focus on pedagogical aspects of digital education. A psychological framework for distance learning and active support through school counsellors helped maximise teachers’ and students’ success online.

Supporting teachers is crucial to ensure that digital education is beneficial. Researchers agree that the availability and integration of ICT in education is not per se beneficial for educational outcomes (Comi 2016; Bulman, 2016): pedagogy and learning design are key to unlocking its positive potential. However, comparatively few schools provide strong digital support through school strategies for the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and strong promotion of continuing professional development (CPD): 21% at primary, 40% at lower secondary and 59% at upper secondary level (EU-28: 32%, 54% and 84%) (European Commission, 2019a). Given that CPD for teachers on ICT is more effective when delivered in school (OECD, 2019e), it is encouraging that the CPI has expanded its provision of school-based CPD in recent years.

4. Investing in education and training

Public spending on education in Cyprus remains high overall except at pre-primary level. Cyprus slightly increased its public spending on education (+2.5% in real value) between 2017 and 2018. However, relative to GDP, government expenditure decreased from 5.3% to 5.2% and, as a share of overall government spending, from 14.4% to 12%. Tertiary education accounts for 18.1% of the education budget, slightly above the EU average (16.4%) whereas the shares for pre-primary and primary (30.7%) and secondary education (35.4%) are below the EU averages. For early childhood education, public spending per student3 is amongst the lowest in the EU4. Despite its sizable share in the overall education budget, public per-student spending is also comparatively low for tertiary education, reflecting the high participation in tertiary education.

5. Modernising early childhood and school education

Participation in early childhood education (ECE) has risen steadily. In 2018, 95.3% of 4-6 year-olds attended ECE compared to 85.4% in 2010. In addition, with 31.4% of children under 3 attending childcare in 2018, Cyprus has moved closer to the EU target of 33%. About two thirds of those children attend childcare for 30 hours or more per week and one third for up to 29 hours. Further increasing participation would be a good investment since high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is associated with long-lasting potential benefits, including improved educational attainment and social integration, higher earnings and better health (EENEE, 2018).

Reliance on informal care and private ECEC institutions remains high, especially for younger children. One third of all kindergartens are private (176/522)5, as well as over two thirds (153/223) of nurseries6. Access to private facilities is closely linked to affordability. For under 3 year-olds, 27.9% of parents relied on full-time (over 30 hours a week) childcare by grandparents, other household members, other relatives, friends or neighbours – the second highest share of informal arrangements after Greece. In addition to informal settings, regulated home-based childcare also exists. Childminders can take up to six children (up to three if below 2 years), but no minimum qualifications or specific training is required (European Commission, 2019d).

ECEC provision for under 3 year-olds in rural areas is insufficient. If they exist at all, ECEC facilities in rural areas for the very young are mostly private. This leads to people relocating to cities or to prevalent inequality for families in those areas. There is currently no mapping of demand/supply needs for ECEC. Investment to upgrade infrastructure is insufficient, particularly in small villages and socially disadvantaged areas. A growing awareness of the problem is demonstrated by a recent proposal for revitalisation of the mountainous Troodos region, which includes plans for ECEC facilities.

Early school leaving (ESL) is on the rise. Among 18-24 year-olds, 9.2% were early school leavers in 2019, up from 7.8% in 2018 and just below the Europe 2020 national target (10%). While ESL values in Cyprus are somewhat volatile due to a small sample size, there appears to be an upward trend since 2015, when ESL was at its lowest at 5.2%. This is primarily caused by a strong increase among foreign-born students, whose ESL share went up 9.4 pps to 23.3% from 2018 to 2019 while the share decreased among native-born to 4.8% (-1.4 pps). Since 2016, immigration to Cyprus has increased again, in particular the number of asylum seekers. Structural drivers of ESL in Cyprus appear to include insufficient flexibility and permeability within education programmes (European Commission, 2019b). Individualised diagnostic tests to better support disadvantaged students could help prevent ESL (ibid.). Truancy in Cyprus is also higher than the EU average. In PISA 2018, one third of students reported to have skipped a whole day, 43% some classes, and 68% had arrived late in the 2 weeks prior to the PISA test (OECD, 2019c).

Box 1: EU funds support prevention schemes for early school leaving

In 2014-2020, the European Social Fund (ESF) supported the ‘Actions for social and school inclusion (DRA.S.E.)’ programme, which helped reduce early school leaving, improve learning outcomes and tackle delinquency among disadvantaged children, including recently arrived migrants.

DRA.S.E. is a comprehensive programme comprising morning and afternoon activities, as well as after school lessons, to reinforce various subjects (Greek language, maths, physics, chemistry, computer science, economics etc.). DRA.S.E. also offers programmes for personal development and helps students develop social skills through theatre, art, sports, dance and music. Psychological support is also offered to students and parents. At present, about 15% of the student population is participating in 96 pre-primary, primary, secondary, and vocational schools. The programme’s total budget is EUR 29 million, of which 85% is contributed by the ESF.

Other measures to support disadvantaged children include a free breakfast programme (also co-funded by the ESF) to ensure that the most vulnerable pupils receive a daily nutritious breakfast.

Under the European Commission’s structural reform and support programme, Cyprus is also currently implementing a project to address students’ disengagement and dropout from secondary school, to be completed by April 2021.

The basic skills levels of Cyprus’ students lag behind those of other EU countries. Performance among 15 year-olds in Cyprus, as measured in PISA 2018, remains far below the EU average. Since 2015, Cyprus has managed to reduce the share of low achievers in both maths (-5.7 pps) and science (-3.2 pps) to 36.9% and 39% respectively. Despite this positive trend, Cyprus trails behind other EU countries in maths and science (average share of low achievers in EU-27 = 22.9% and 22.3% respectively). The share of low achievers in reading has risen by 8.1 pps since 2015, the biggest increase in the EU. Some 43.7% of pupils had difficulties with texts of moderate length and complexity or with unfamiliar material. The share of top achievers has also decreased. Students in vocational programmes also significantly lag behind those in general programmes. Their reading performance is 109 score points lower, comparable to around 3 years of schooling. The large gender gap in reading is also a concern: girls outperform boys on average by 47 score points, corresponding to more than 1 year of schooling (EU-27 average: 28 points). More than half of all boys are underachievers in reading compared to 1 in 3 girls, the widest gap in the EU.

Figure 3 - Low and top performers in reading, maths, science between 2012 and 2018

Source: OECD (2019), PISA 2018. Note: The EU-27 averages for reading do not include ES results.

Addressing underachievement at all levels is crucial. Almost 2 out of 3 students (58.9%) from the lowest socio-economic quartile are low achievers in reading (EU average: 36.4%). In the top socio-economic quartile, 29.7% are low achievers, the highest share in the EU (where the average is 9.5%). These findings underline the need for policies that tackle underachievement across the socio-economic spectrum while maintaining and strengthening specific support for disadvantaged groups.

Improving students’ well-being could boost learning outcomes. One student in 3 reported being bullied at least a few times a month and attend schools where bullying is prevalent. Low achievers are much more exposed to frequent bullying than high achievers (54.6% v 21.1%). Socio-economic status or migrant background do not appear to be significant triggers for bullying, in contrast to gender: a much higher share of boys (40.9%) than girls (27.2%) report being frequently bullied. Boys also appear to be more accepting of bullying. Given the marked gender gap in reading performance noted above, it is noteworthy that being bullied at least a few times a month is associated with a poorer reading performance – equivalent to more than 1 year of schooling7. Cyprus has in place a policy framework against violence and racism at school, but educators sometimes lack awareness about what constitutes violent behaviour.

Education reforms have slowed down. To achieve better learning outcomes, Cyprus has taken a comprehensive approach to modernising its education system. A new procedure for teacher appointment based on competitive exams was installed in 2017. A unified system for student evaluation provides for more formative assessment of students, and biannual exams in secondary education have replaced annual exams to allow for earlier remedial intervention if necessary. The introduction of more frequent exams was opposed by teachers and students who fear a heavier workload and implementation has stalled due to the pandemic. A proposal for teacher evaluation was submitted in early 2019 but since then stakeholder discussions have stalled. Since 2016, curricula across all levels have been revised to better reflect intended learning outcomes. However, an evaluation found a mismatch between content and assigned teaching time for some subjects, including maths and science. In addition to the persistent heavy content load of the curriculum, centralised CPD of teachers does not sufficiently respond to teachers’ individual needs to master the new curriculum (Xenofontos, 2019). Therefore, pilot programmes by the CPI to implement school-based CPD should be scaled-up.

Box 2: Survey sheds light on school culture in Cyprus

According to further qualitative insights from the 2018 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), schools in Cyprus have comparatively low pedagogical autonomy. In Cyprus’ centralised education system, almost no administrative decisions at public schools, such as appointing or suspending teachers, determining salaries or allocating budget, are taken by school principals (OECD, 2019d). Regarding pedagogical autonomy, TALIS shows that within the expected margin of autonomy that even a centralised system offers, Cyprus also scores very low. The share of school principals who report autonomous decisions on learning material, course content and offers is the lowest of all 22 EU participant countries in TALIS (OECD, 2019d). However, teachers perceive their pedagogical autonomy as being on par with decentralised systems, suggesting contentment with their room for manoeuvre. Research suggests that increased autonomy over academic content impacts positively on student achievement whereas personnel and budget autonomy produce smaller effects (Hanushek et al., 2013).

Collaborative teaching is also not common. Only 6.4% of teachers report teaching as part of a team at least once a month, compared to 28.2% in the EU-22 (OECD, 2019d). Engaging in joint activities across classes or observing other teachers in class and providing feedback is similarly rare. Collaboration is however more widespread than in most EU TALIS countries as regards exchanging teaching material, debating student progress and assessment, and attending team conferences. Participation in collaborative professional learning is similarly low (12.9%) as in other EU countries. Research shows that collaboration among teachers, in particular for teaching and training is one the most effective practices for improving teaching quality and learning outcomes (OECD, 2019e).

Sustained efforts are necessary to integrate students with a migrant background. In the last 3 years, Cyprus has emerged as one of the Mediterranean destination countries for asylum seekers. In 2019, 12 724 new asylum applications were launched, up 65% from 2018. The top 10 countries of origin are Syria, Georgia, India, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Pakistan, Egypt, Vietnam, Nigeria and Sri Lanka (UNHCR, 2019b). Since 2016, 1 249 unaccompanied children have applied for asylum, 549 in 2019 (UNHCR, 2019a). Preparatory afternoon classes for unaccompanied minors were created in three state institutes for further education in Limassol and Larnaca. Work on several recommendations stemming from a European Commission-supported peer counselling on integrating students with a migrant background has started but reception, language teaching and curriculum-setting is delayed due to the pandemic. Providing support for students with a migrant background has proven challenging during the COVID-19 school closures. Teachers reported difficulties reaching non-Greek speaking students (FRA, 2020). Intensified integration efforts upon return to school could help mitigate the risk of a widening gap with native-born students.

Competences for environmental sustainability are part of school education. At pre-primary, primary and secondary levels, schools cover environmental and social topics. Environmental programmes include teaching on global warming, climate change, energy, urban development, and means of transport. Since 2007, the national strategic plan for environmental education has been monitored and upgraded every year. Schools can also join the Network of Environmental Education Centres - the body that coordinates environmental education and sustainable development in formal and non-formal curricula. Operated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, this network cooperates with government services, universities, research centres and NGOs to help integrate environmental issues in school curricula, in education and training of teachers and education executives as well as in field research.

6. Modernising vocational education and training

Measures to improve attractiveness of VET have increased student numbers over recent years but participation in upper secondary VET remains low. In 2018, 16.7% of upper-secondary students were enrolled in VET, the lowest in the EU and well below the EU average (48.4%). Students had limited exposure to work-based learning. Employers’ engagement in VET has increased, and measures have been taken to ensure skills relevance in the sector, including tracking graduates on placement schemes and cooperation with industry on curriculum development.

Initiatives to improve labour market links are under way. To set up a national monitoring system for initial VET and continuing VET graduates, a platform is currently being piloted for initial VET graduates. It aims to facilitate communication between initial graduates of secondary VET and of post-secondary, higher VET institutes and potential employers (Cedefop, 2020b). In 2019, the Youth Board of Cyprus set up a career guidance service offering: (i) personalised career guidance; (ii) skill testing (a tool to help lower secondary students decide on their further education); (iii) workshops to develop soft skills; and (iv) two-day ‘Career Academies’, i.e. lectures and workshops on career choice, job search, career development and more specialised topics (Cedefop, 2020a).

VET adapted to the COVID-19 mobility restrictions. Final VET exams were cancelled. The Human Resource Development Authority updated the policy and procedures guide for distance learning (‘Utilising E-Learning methods in training programmes’), which entered into force in March 2020. As well as responding to the COVID-19 threat, the guide pushes for faster adoption of ICT in VET (Cedefop, 2020c).

7. Modernising higher education

Tertiary educational attainment is high and rose further. In 2019, 58.8% of 30-34 year-olds in Cyprus had obtained a tertiary degree, the highest share in the EU (41.6%). Cyprus also includes as tertiary students those that follow VET programmes – about one third of all enrolled students. A large gap of 23 pps in tertiary attainment exists between native-born and foreign-born, whose attainment level is nonetheless high (43.2%). Similar to basic skills levels, there is a significant gender gap in tertiary attainment: 68.2% of females have a tertiary degree compared to 49% of males.

Employability among young graduates has risen in 2019 but is likely to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The employment level of 20-34 year-olds with tertiary education was 83.9% in 2019, only slightly below the EU average of 85.3%. While tertiary education clearly offers the best opportunities for employment in Cyprus, young people with secondary education fare comparatively well, as 72.3% had a job compared to the EU average of 76.4%. As Cyprus’ economy strongly relies on tourism and services, temporary business closures during the pandemic are likely to affect overall employment levels, including those of recent graduates who have the least work experience.

Cyprus produces fewer health and STEM graduates than most EU countries. At 6.2% Cyprus had in 2018 the lowest share of health graduates in the EU while 19.6% graduated in education and 39% in business, administration and law. So far, the Career Counselling and Educational Services under the MOECSY have not specifically promoted medical education. The share of STEM graduates was at 15% also very low compared with the EU average (25%) in 2018. Only 2.7% of graduates obtained a degree in ICT (EU average: 3.6%). New green jobs are expected to be created mostly in manufacturing, construction, services, waste management and sustainable finance (European Commission, 2020). The need for digital skills and solutions, highlighted during the COVID-19 mobility restrictions, together with the greening of the economy requires a reinforced focus on STEM profiles.

Better intelligence on skills utilisation can reduce skills mismatches. The discrepancy between labour market needs and young people’s study choices could be reduced by comprehensive graduate tracking. However, at present this is lacking at both system and provider‑level for tertiary education which produces most graduates in Cyprus. Initial steps have been made to track IVET graduates and a pilot is carried out with the two biggest public universities to track graduates of the previous five years. However, collecting information on skills utilisation in the labour market and placement rates for policy-making and career counselling needs to be further expanded and systematised. In 2020, Cyprus received a country-specific recommendation to improve labour-market relevance of education and training (Council of the European Union, 2020).

Figure 4 - Distribution of tertiary graduates by field of education, 2018

Source: Eurostat, UOE: [educ_uoe_grad03].

8. Promoting adult learning

Skills provision among adults is slow to improve. Participation in adult learning (25-64) remains low at only 5.9% in 2019, compared to the EU average of 10.8% and has further decreased compared to the previous year (6.7%). This is partly due to the low attractiveness of the learning environment. Most providers require learners’ physical presence and use pre-fixed programmes providing little space for adjustments to meet learners’ individual needs. So far, no tools for validation and accreditation of prior learning exist.

Educational support and tracking in adult education is underdeveloped. In September 2019, a new model of evening secondary schools and evening technical schools was introduced to increase the attractiveness of the two programmes and bring more low-skilled adult learners to education. However, Cyprus lags behind other EU countries in lifelong learning counselling and monitoring mechanisms for the professional and educational careers of learners, especially those belonging to vulnerable groups. This applies to all types of adult education (basic skills, second chance and VET). In addition, online adult learning opportunities are limited so far.

Despite many initiatives to improve adults’ digital literacy, digital skills remain below the EU average. The lifelong learning VET programmes provide digital skills courses and also job-related courses. The Human Resource Development Authority offers training in digital literacy for the unemployed and for employees in the private and the public sectors (Cedefop, 2020a). The Cyprus Productivity Centre offers courses on e-government systems and on basic digital skills, while the Cyprus Academy of Public Administration trains public service staff for the transition to e-government. However, in 2019 only 45% of adults aged 16-74 declared to have basic or above basic overall digital skills (EU-27 average: 56%).

9. References

Bulman, George; Fairlie, Robert W. (2016), Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet. NBER Working Paper No. 22237.

Comi, Simona Lorena et al. (2016), Is it the way they use it? Teachers, ICT and student achievement. In: Economics of Education Review (56) 2017, 24-39.

Cedefop (2019), Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus. Vocational education and training in Europe: Cyprus [From Cedefop; ReferNet. Vocational education and training in Europe database].

Cedefop (2020a), ReferNet, Cyprus: 2020 update of VET policy developments in the deliverables agreed in the 2015 Riga conclusions. Unpublished

Cedefop (2020b), ReferNet Cyprus. Cyprus: E-platform for data collection and employability.

Cedefop (2020c), ReferNet Cyprus. Cyprus: changing e-learning procedures in CVET.

Cedefop (forthcoming). Key competences in initial VET: digital, multilingual and literacy.

Council of the European Union (2020), Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2020 National Reform Programme of Cyprus and delivering a Council opinion on the 2020 Convergence Programme of Cyprus.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) (2020), Coronavirus pandemic in the EU ― Fundamental rights implications.

European Commission (2020), Commission Staff Working Document. Country Report Cyprus 2020.

European Commission (2019a), 2nd survey of schools. ICT in education: Cyprus country report.

European Commission (2019b), Assessment of the Implementation of the 2011 Council Recommendation on Policies to Reduce Early School Leaving.

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2019b), Digital Education at School in Europe. Eurydice Report.

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, (2019d), Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe – 2019 Edition.

European Expert Network on Economics of Education (EENEE) (2018), Analytical Report n. 32. Benefits of Early Childhood Education and Care and the Conditions for Obtaining Them.

Government of Cyprus (2020), EUROPE 2020. Cyprus National Reform Programme.

Hanushek, E. A. Link, S. and Woessmann, L. (2013). Does school autonomy make sense everywhere? Panel estimates from PISA. Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 104, pp. 212-232.

Hooft Graafland, Julie (2018), New technologies and 21st century children: Recent trends and outcomes. OECD Education Working Paper No. 179.

OECD (2019a), PISA 2018 Results (Volume I): What Students Know and Can Do, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019b), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019c), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2019d), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS.

OECD (2019e), Working and Learning Together: Rethinking Human Resource Policies for Schools, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Reimers F. M., Schleicher, A. (2020). A framework to guide an education response to the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020.

Theocharous, A. (forthcoming) Vocational education and training for the future of work: Cyprus Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.

UNHCR (2019a), Cyprus fact sheet.

UNHCR (2019b), Cyprus. Integration Capacity.

Vrasidas, Charalambos (2015), The rhetoric of reform and teachers' use of ICT. In: British Journal for Educational Technology 46(2), 370–380.

Xenofontos, Constantinos (2019), Primary teachers’ perspectives on mathematics during curriculum reform: A collective case study from Cyprus. Issues in Educational Research, 29(3), 979-996.

Annex I: Key indicators sources

Indicator Eurostat online data code
Early leavers from education and training edat_lfse_14 + edat_lfse_02
Tertiary educational attainment edat_lfse_03 + edat_lfs_9912
Early childhood education educ_uoe_enra10
Underachievement in reading, maths and science OECD (PISA)
Employment rate of recent graduates edat_lfse_24
Adult participation in learning trng_lfse_03
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP gov_10a_exp
Expenditure on public and private institutions per student educ_uoe_fini04
Learning mobility:
- Degree-mobile graduates
- Credit-mobile graduates
DG EAC computation based on Eurostat / UIS / OECD data

Annex II: Structure of the education system

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2020. The Structure of the European Education Systems 2019/2020: Schematic Diagrams. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Comments and questions on this report are welcome and can be sent by email to:



1 Overall, high-speed broadband uptake has so far been low in Cyprus.

2 Eurostat data.

3 In PPS.

4 Most recent values for 2017.

5 Cystat data for 2017/2018.

6 Nurseries are the Ministry of Labour’s responsibility and open to children under 3 whereas kindergartens are the Ministry of Education’s responsibility and cater to 3-6 year-olds.

7 Difference of 48 score points after accounting for socio-economic background.