Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said on Tuesday plans are underway to boost the profile of Cyprus’ higher education.

Speaking following an interministerial meeting aimed at developing the field, she said the “internationalisation and promotion of the quality of this country’s higher education” is one of four pillars of progress looked at.

“The term is known as branding,” she added.

She said the meeting’s attendees included Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou and President Nikos Christodoulides, who had also looked into the matter of amending legislation regarding the sector, as the “second pillar” of the plan.

The legislation in question pertains to “distinguishing what universities, colleges and higher education colleges in Cyprus offer, as well as their identity, the advantages and disadvantages of each institution, so that everyone can know where they are studying, why they are studying there, and what they will gain at the end,” she said.

The third pillar, she said, concerns “the very important aspect of the connections between higher education and the labour market.

“For us, it is particularly important that the programmes offered are related to the labour market’s needs, but above all, that our graduates have employment opportunities,” she said.

She added that she is aware that graduates in Cyprus often have “much less employment opportunities because of their choices”, and that for this reason, work is being carried out to ensure that higher education programmes are more applicable to the labour market.

With this in mind, she said, her ministry is conducting three surveys to monitor the needs of the labour market, with the aim of better serving it with Cyprus’ graduates.

The data garnered from those surveys will be received and analysed by the relevant ministries “so that there are quick results”, she said.

In addition, she said discussions have taken place regarding the offering of scholarships and other incentives to encourage students from abroad to come to Cyprus to study.