Efforts are underway to change the legislation surrounding tertiary level education in Cyprus, which dates back to 1996 and no longer represents today’s world, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Tuesday.
He said there has been an 80 per cent spike increase in the number of higher education students on the island over the past 10 years, and there are currently more than 61,000 from Cyprus, the EU and other countries.
Those from Cyprus and the EU amount to 80 per cent, while the remainder are third country nationals.. Some 2,500 students are enrolled in PhD programmes.
“In the current environment of development and rapid quantitative growth, we observed a need to modernise and upgrade the legislative framework of tertiary education,” Prodromou said.
The legislation sets up the framework that will govern the establishment of higher education institutions, including research centres. It is currently with the legal service for assessment.
Specifically, it outlines the creation of an Education Council to examine applications for the establishment and operation of tertiary education institutions. Criteria used for the evaluation include the premises, infrastructure and academic criteria.
There are also provisions on regulating the number of non-EU students as previously the state had observed a number of asylum seeker applications from individuals registered as students.
“This phenomenon was tackled but we should not allow it to happen again,” Prodromou noted.
Currently, Cyprus has 11 state and public universities, with more applications currently being examined.
“The legislation that we have and use to this day dates back to 1996 and to a large extent does not correspond to today’s conditions, since it was established in another reality, with different conditions,” Prodromou said.
Once the bill is approved by Cabinet, it can head to parliament to be rubberstamped into law. Existing institutions and programmes will have a transitionary period.