State elementary school in Cyprus: Main features

Parents of children who will study in Cyprus want to know more information about the school their children are enrolled in.

Parents of children who will study in Cyprus want to know more information about the school their children are enrolled in. Therefore it is essential to provide more information about the primary schools that are a part of the local Ministry of Education and Culture.

All children residing in Cyprus have the right to study at public schools, either permanently or temporarily. This applies to all children between the ages of 5-10 years old. This is a right open to everyone, no matter their citizenship, nationality, the income of the parents, their state of health and the legality of his stay on the island.

In state-run schools, children study for free. However, at the beginning of the school year or when registering a future first-grader, representatives of the school may ask parents to pay some money in the fund of the parent committee. As a rule, the amount should not exceed 10-20 euros. If the family has a small income, they can be exempt from this contribution.

The parental committee usually spends money on the following:

Financial support for students from low-income families;

Gifts for the main holidays — Christmas and Easter;

Partial reimbursement of the cost of excursions and other events held by the school;

Payment of various school needs that are not covered by the state budget.

In classes, usually no more than 25 people.

The language of instruction in Cyprus is Greek. If the child is not fluent in this language, he can attend extra classes. You do not need to pay for them. In most cases, classes are organized at school, and they are held after the seventh lesson twice a week.

If the child does not speak Greek at all, parents are offered the following options:

They spend two years in the same class;

When moving to Cyprus, the child is enrolled in a local school down one class.

How many years do children study in Cyprus? Primary school is attended for six years. Then you need to spend three years in the gymnasium, and then another three years in the Lyceum. As for private educational institutions, many of them study for 13 years.

All elementary schools in Cyprus open on the same day — the first Monday of September. But the first day of study is the second Monday of the same month. Accordingly, classes are completed in June, on Wednesday before the penultimate Friday.

In schools opened by the state, children study five days a week, from 7:45 to 13:05. Teachers usually ask parents to bring their children a little earlier, for example, by 7:30, so that they can communicate with each other before lessons and have less conversation with each other in the classroom. Every day schoolchildren have seven lessons, and they last 40 minutes. Classes are divided by changes: one 20-minutes and two 10-minutes.

The basic subjects are considered the Greek language and mathematics, and according to them the children are given a home assignment. It can be done in about 40 minutes. Also in the first classes study the following subjects:

  • English;
  • Geography;
  • History and social studies;
  • Religious studies; introduction to science;
  • Art;
  • Music;
  • Physical education.

Later this list expands due to Ecology, Technology and Health Protection.

At the beginning of the school year, children are given all notebooks and textbooks free of charge. The school also provides free materials for creative studies and scientific experiments. School uniforms are considered mandatory, and parents must purchase them, and the color and style depend on the particular school, and they need to be clarified in advance. You also need to buy a backpack and pencil case with stationery — pencils, a ruler, an eraser, etc. In some schools, fathers and mothers may be asked to buy a marker for a blackboard or cash desk with letters that first graders use to learn how to read. What’s noteworthy in Cypriot schools is that the same teacher rarely leads the same class for several years. Here, the rotation of teachers is considered the norm, and the transfer of children from one parallel class to another after the third grade is also practiced. Also, teachers periodically change jobs, moving from school to school.

It is believed that this prevents the emergence of «strong» and «weak» educational institutions or «strong» and «weak» classes. Thanks to this system, children can count on equal opportunities regardless of where they live. As for teachers, they work in different schools: both not far from home, and in those that are relatively far from their place of residence.

No one expects children to come to the first grade, already possessing writing and counting skills. The first half of the year is completely reserved for familiarity with the alphabet and the study of maths from one to ten.

Children studying in elementary grades are not given marks. Another interesting feature is the lack of parental meetings characteristic of schools operating in post-Soviet countries. At the beginning of the school year, the teacher meets with his parents, talks about his methods of work, draws attention to the moments of study, which this year are considered key. In this case, each teacher is assigned one hour per week to individual interaction with parents. The schedule of such conversations, as a rule, can be found some time after the beginning of the school year.

17 December 2014