The Greek Cypriot formal educational system is structured as follows:
- pre-primary education (1 year compulsory)
- primary education (first through sixth grade, compulsory)
- lower-secondary education/ High School (first through third grade, compulsory)
- upper-secondary education/Lyceum (first through third grade)
- higher education
Education is compulsory for all children who have reached the age of 4 years and 8 months on 1st September of the year that their study will begin, up to the age of 15 years, or the end of study (third High School grade). When primary school is completed a child will receive a leaving certificate which is required for registration at secondary school.
All classes in public schools and universities are taught in Standard Modern Greek. Lessons in private schools can be taught in English and / or Greek as well as other languages. In Pre-primaries and Primaries schools the school year starts on the second Monday of September until the Wednesday before the penultimate Friday of June.
Each school year in primary and secondary education is divided for purposes of planning the school work, into three terms as follows:
- 1st term: Beginning of lessons until Christmas holidays (Christmas holidays last 2 weeks)
- 2nd term: After the Christmas holidays until the Easter holidays (Easter holidays last 2 weeks)
- 3rd term: After the Easter holidays until the end of the lessons.
Additional assistance in learning of the Greek language is offered by the schools for children whose native language is not Greek and whose level of knowledge of the Greek language does not allow them to attend courses comfortably.
Kindergartens: Babies and children at the age 0-4 years and 7 months can attend kindergartens public or private ones. Fees vary according to the school and family income. For registration parents will need to contact the school. Documents that are usually requested by the parents are the following:
- An application form
- A birth certificate
- Medical status certificate from the pediatrician
Nursery Schools: Since 2004 it became compulsory for children to attend pre-primary school (also known in Cyprus as Nursery Schools) for a period of one year before admission to primary school.
There are three types of pre-primary Schools in Cyprus; Public, Community and Private ones.
Public nursery schools are free for children aged between 4 years and 8 months to 5 years and 8 months (the compulsory attendance period), with tuition fees payable for children who are under that age. There are tuition fees to pay for attending Community Nursery Schools, the amount of which is determined by the Parents Association and are dependent on the schools financial obligations. Private Nursery Schools incur fees for admission and tuition of each child, the cost of which varies depending on the school.
All children have the right to register in a public nursery school, regardless of their nationality, if they are 3 years of age on 1st September of that year. However, they will only be accepted if places exist, and priority goes to children who have reached the age 4 years and 8 months, on 1st September.
The registration and applications for registration to public and community pre-school usually take place in the second week of January, however the exact date is determined each year by the Minister of Education and Culture. At registration, a foreign child should have a certificate or document (passport) that has been issued by a competent authority, and verifies the child’s date of birth to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Public Nursery Schools are open from 7:45 am to 1:05 pm, Monday to Friday, whilst Community Nursery Schools can extend their hours up to 2:45 pm, with some offering all day schooling.
There are public and private primary schools in Cyprus. A pupil can be enrolled at a primary school in his/her district, according to the law for compulsory education, only if he/she has completed the age of 5 8/12 years before the 1st of September of the enrolment year. Enrolment takes place at the school itself in the second week of January, however the exact date is determined each year by the Minister of Education and Culture. The documents required for enrolment are the following:
- copy of the birth certificate
- electricity bill
- application form
Each child who was born abroad should submit a certificate or other document (e.g. passport) that has been issued by a competent authority and verifies his date of birth and satisfies the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Primary education at public schools is for free, however parents are responsible for the food expenses of their child. The feeding program follows strict food ration which is agreed together by the Ministry and the parents, and is available from the school canteens. Private schools are not free, and the costs differ depending on the school.
School timetable is from 7:45 a.m. until 1:05 p.m. The daily timetable of a primary school consists of seven teaching periods of 40 minutes each and three breaks, of a total duration of 40 minutes. The timetable of all primary schools and of all classes is the same.
All-day school: The concept of all day school operates in certain schools on a voluntary basis, from October to May, with four additional afternoon periods for the children of the 4th, 5th and 6th class, four times a week until 4.00 p.m.