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Cyprus: measures to upgrade VET

A press conference announcing measures to upgrade Cyprus’s public VET system improve its image and increase participation rates took place at the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) in December 2018.

The measures include renaming the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) to Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET), and ‘technical schools’ to ‘technical and vocational schools of education and training’.

The addition of the word ‘training’ reflects compatibility with European terminology and marks the expansion of training opportunities beyond secondary level. New logos for Cypriot VET and its overarching pillars were also presented. Construction of new buildings for technical and vocational schools of education and training were also announced, one in Larnaca by 2022 and one in Limassol by 2025.

Evening schools of technical and vocational education play an important role in Cyprus as the main provider of formal VET to adult learners, and the sole progression route for core apprenticeship graduates. These schools offer adult learners programmes of formal education – equivalent to the STVE programmes (ISCED 354, EQF level 4) – free of charge to promote further participation in VET and support integration of early school leavers in the workplace and in society in general. Three new evening schools of technical and vocational education were established, increasing their total number and ensuring geographical coverage of the whole country.

The study duration of these programmes varies from one to four years, depending on students’ education background. They lead to the acquisition of a leaving certificate, which has the same legal status as the one awarded by mainstream upper secondary general and upper secondary technical and vocational education and training schools. The important role of the ‘new modern apprenticeship’ was also emphasised as the only route of progression for apprentices completing the core apprenticeship programme.

Concerning higher non-tertiary education institutes of VET (previously known as post-secondary Institutes of VET), which play a leading role in the technical and vocational education and training system, a new building will be constructed in Limassol, featuring technologically advanced laboratories and infrastructure. This additional modern infrastructure is of high importance, considering that most of graduates find employment easily, usually upon completing their studies.