Expats will find the system of education in Cyprus riddled with inconsistencies and politics. That said, finding a good school in Cyprus is certainly possible. It just demands extra leg-work and added effort on the part of parents.
Cyprus has state-sponsored education as well as private and international schools. The public and private systems are both open and accessible to expats, and parents usually decide according to their expectations surrounding cost, language and curriculum. This is true for southern Cyprus, where most expats with children choose to relocate. Those who move to the north usually opt for a private international school, the best-known of which is the English School of Kyrenia.
Education in Cyprus is mandatory for all children aged 12 and younger, and is separated into primary school, gymnasium and lyceum – secondary school is composed of the latter two levels.
Public schools in Cyprus
State school standards are inconsistent and expats generally describe the system as "hit or miss". Many expat parents find that the main drawback to sending their children to state schools in Cyprus is the language barrier. Younger children have the ability to adapt quickly, but older kids – and parents themselves – often struggle to succeed and communicate fluently.
That said, those who intend to stay for the long-term often prefer their children being immersed in Cypriot culture.
Expat parents with older children are encouraged to consider employing tutors and organising extra lessons. The Apolyterion, the Cyprus school-leaving certificate, does not always equate with certain levels of testing in the UK and the US, and students who wish to attend tertiary schools in these countries may need to sit for additional exams.
There is no fee for expat children to attend state schools in Cyprus.
Private and international schools in Cyprus
Most expats living in Cyprus, especially those whose first language is English, send their children to private international schools. The most obvious benefit of these institutions is that children will be surrounded by others who speak their language, and will often have a better selection of extra-curricular activities to take part in.
Private schools are present in all of the country's larger cities (Paphos, Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca), but the curriculum taught and the standard upheld in each of the institutions vary considerably.
Private schools in Cyprus can be costly, with tuition depending on the age of the child and the requirements of the school. Parents should also anticipate supplementary costs like registration and enrolment fees, books, uniforms and school bus expenses.
►For more on finding the perfect home on the island see Accommodation in Cyprus
Are you an expat living in Cyprus?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cyprus. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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