Cyprus Mail

Higher English-language standards now in force for third-country students

University students from non-EU countries will be required to prove a minimum 50 per cent school-leaving pass mark in order to be deemed eligible to attend universities and colleges in Cyprus, an education ministry circular said.

The decision was made by the government as part of a strategy to combat third-country nationals enrolling into private universities and colleges in order to obtain a study visa, only to abandon their studies shortly thereafter and work illegally in Cyprus.

The ministry’s circular was dispatched to the Deans of all tertiary institutions on August 12 and stipulates that all eligible candidates for study from third-countries must furnish the school with a school-leaving certificate with an average 50 per cent mark, which must include a 50 per cent grade in English – or in an equivalent independent examination, like IELTS.

Additionally, schools are informed that they may enrol a maximum of 10 per cent of non-EU nationals, provided that they do not exceed their capacity maximum.

The circular included strict controls and penalties for both school and student if a minimum 70 per cent of class attendance was not met without valid medical justification.

Such controls will include the mandatory submission of attendance call sheets by universities to the ministry each semester, and periodic on-site checks by ministry officials.

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