Postsecondary education was established in Cyprus when two teacher training colleges were opened by the then British Colonial Office of Education, one for male students in 1937 and one for female students in 1946 (Koyzis 1989). In January 1958, both of these institutions were combined in the coeducational pedagogical Academy of Cyprus, and by 1959 the institution was turned over to the Greek community of Cyprus, which was preparing for the following year's independence from Britain. In 1960, an equivalent Turkish teacher's college also began. In 1958 the Pedagogical Academy had adopted the two-year curriculum used by pedagogical academies in Greece. A third year was added to the curriculum in the early 1960s. At that time, mandatory teaching of English was added to the curriculum.
By the 1992-1993 school year, the Republic of Cyprus was providing postsecondary education to 33 percent of all Cypriot students. These students comprised 58 percent of all secondary school graduates who continued beyond that level. Of the students enrolled in postsecondary education, 25 percent were studying abroad. There was a significant decline in the percentage of students studying abroad in the mid-1980s, primarily due to the founding of the public university in 1992 and an expansion of the private sector of higher education (Koyzis 1997).
While the Ministry of Education was established in 1965, a separate Department of Tertiary Education was not established until 1984, with the first law regulating tertiary education enacted in 1987. Thus, the history of higher education in Cyprus is fairly recent.
Despite being a young republic, Cyprus compares favorably with older nations in terms of enrollment ratios. In 1990, approximately 36 percent of students continued to tertiary education, a percentage that compares positively with the most developed countries of the world (Anastasiou 1995).
Higher education includes: private tertiary institutions, of which the major ones are Cyprus College (founded in 1961), Frederick Institute of Technology (1975), Intercollege (1980), and Philips College (1978); public tertiary institutions, of which the largest ones are The Higher Technical Institute (established in 1968) and the School of Nursing (1964); and the first public university, the state University of Cyprus (1992). "The University of Cyprus' official languages of instruction are Greek and Turkish as primary languages, and English as the secondary language. But due to the political situation on the island, Turkish is only used in Turkish Studies Program. Since 1992 Greek has become the de facto language of the University of Cyprus. However all programs require some English instruction as well"(Koyzis 1997). The University of Cyprus includes schools of humanities and social sciences, a school of pure and applied sciences, and the school of economics and administration. Other public sector institutions include a school of nursing and midwifery, the Hotel and Catering Institute, the Higher Technical Institute, the Forestry College, and two management institutes. Other institutions function as Cyprus campuses for U.S. institutions, such as the Intercollege's connection with the University of Indianapolis (Koyzis 1989).
A significant feature of higher education in Cyprus is the large private sector developed since the mid-1970s. The private sector provides higher education to Cypriots in English and models its curricula and courses of study on British and North American institutions. These private sector institutions rely exclusively on British or North American accreditation and degree validation, offering programs in business studies, computers and information sciences, hotel management, engineering and technology, secretarial studies, and social sciences (Koyzis 1989, 1997).
Like other developing countries, the demand for higher education has risen in Cyprus over the last three decades, with 60 percent of all secondary school graduates continuing their studies beyond that level (Department of Statistics and Research 1995, as reported by Menon 1997). Unlike other developing countries, Cyprus has not yet recorded high graduate unemployment rates, with fewer than three percent of recent higher education graduates reporting unemployment, according to the Planning Bureau (Menon 1997).
A development in tertiary education at the close of the twentieth century was the announcement by the Cyprus government that it would promote the development of private colleges into private universities. The International Committee for the Establishment of an Independent University of Cyprus (Coufoudakis 2000) proposed a plan for accomplishing the goal at the Intercollege institutions. Intercollege, the largest private institution in Cyprus, enrolled more than 2,500 students during the academic 1999-2000 year, of which 25 percent were international. For the 2000-2001 academic year, the number of students enrolled at Intercollege's three campuses reached 3,500 students, making it the largest tertiary educational institution in Cyprus.
School curricula have focused on theory as preparation for postcompulsory education, rather than on the practical aspects of life and employment. In Menon's 1997 study of the forces impacting secondary school students' motivation to pursue higher studies, strong parental encouragement for the continuation of studies beyond the secondary level ranked at the top of the list.
Over 10,000 Cypriots were studying abroad in the 1997-1998 academic year. Of those, 45.2 percent were studying in Greece, 27.3 percent in the United Kingdom, 17.8 percent in the United States, and 9.7 percent in other countries.
Northern Cyprus: In Northern Cyprus, university education is provided by Teachers Training College, Eastern Mediterranean University, Near East University, Girne American University, and International American University, with distance education opportunities from Turkey's Anadolu University.
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