Immediate action must be taken to allow for English language undergraduate courses to be taught at state universities to attract foreign students, the rectors of three public higher education institutions proposed on Monday.
The heads of Tepak, the University of Cyprus and Open University Cyprus called for the necessary bills to pass through parliament so that the law can be amended and allow for the changes.
They called on the house education committee to finalise the required bills.
There has been a push to advance Cyprus as higher education hub, a likely lucrative industry which would require the introduction of English-language courses at state universities.
That would require a significant overhaul, however, and some are concerned as to how tuition fees would be handled, among other issues. People from Cyprus who attend Tepak and the University of Cyprus do not pay tuition fees.
And that has spooked some, most notably main opposition Akel, who fear a slippery slope of commercialising state education.
There are also concerns as to how to maintain standards, while also ensuring fairness in admissions – as students abroad would almost certainly have different criteria than those currently set locally, as they would not sit the Pancyprian exams, with which the vast majority of students are given a place.
Elsewhere, private universities are also alarmed as they currently corner the market for English-language courses. They fear they could lose out to state run universities, which may have an unfair advantage as the institutions are state funded.
But proponents say it would improve ties and deepen links with other institutions.