Efforts to draw international students to state universities in Cyprus attending English language undergraduate courses received the thumbs up from MPs on Wednesday, but tuition fees and ensuring quality controls may be stumbling blocks.
The House education committee on Wednesday heard that “internationalising” the University of Cyprus is an opportunity to enhance the education sector, in terms of deepening links abroad in fields such as research while also capitalising on the economic benefits it could bring.
But concerns were relayed over potential discrimination in terms of tuition fees, while guarantees were sought that the character and quality of the university will not be diluted.
The private universities, which already offer English taught degree courses, gave the nod for the proposals, while committee chairman Chrysanthos Savvides said that the equal admissions standards for private or public graduates into the English language courses must be guaranteed.
He also raised the issue of how to price each course, as he explained that tuition fees vary according to the field of study. The committee has called for an analysis of what the cost would be of offering such courses and the corresponding tuition fees which would be charged.
And while Akel MP Christos Christofias said his party welcomes the internationalisation of the university there could be a slippery slope towards eroding free access for Cypriots.
He argued that introducing tuition fees for English taught undergraduate courses opens the door to fees being imposed on Greek taught courses, a policy which would invalidate the concept of a public university.
Disy MP Giorgos Karoullas said that international students could bring great benefits to the university and the wider education industry in Cyprus.
The push for English taught undergraduate courses has been given impetus since Brexit and the end of home fee status for Cypriots wanting to study in the UK.