The government has expanded free pre-primary education from the age of four years and eight months to four years and six months with the aim of eventually bringing it down to four years old, it was announced on Thursday.

The proposal must however be passed as an amendment to the law by the House before coming into effect.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Education Minister Athina Michaelidou said the approval was part of Cyprus’ Recovery and Resilience plan. All children, she said were entitled to two years of free pre-school education. This also helps the labour market, she said.

It will involve free attendance at both public and community kindergartens starting from the next school year. Primary-school age in Cyprus is six.

“From the coming school year, we are going down two months… Instead of four years and eight months, we will accept children in public and community kindergartens from four years and six months and slowly we will reach four years,” the minister said.

In addition, she added, from 2025 the subsidy for children who choose to attend private schools will continue.

“We have equal opportunities for everyone and we believe that with this particular proposal we are responding to the concerns that have existed in previous years,” Michaelidou said.

“We cannot delay any longer because the validity of the Recovery and Resilience plan is two more years, that is until 2026, and the government has managed not to lose a single cent of the funds,” she added.