Secondary education in Cyprus
General Secondary Education in Cyprus is a six-year educational program for students between the ages of 12 and 18. The Upper cycle of the Public Secondary General Education offers a three-year program for older students between the ages of 15 and 18.
It is made up of the Gymnasium (school) (Lower Secondary School), where the main concentration is a general humanistic education. Education is compulsory until the age of 15. From there students attend the Lykeio/Lyceum (Upper Secondary School), a more flexible educational system which offers various specializations depending on the inclinations, skills and interests of the students. Technical and vocational education tracks are also available.
The School year runs from September 10th to May 20th. Students attend classes from Monday through to Friday, starting at 7:30am and finishing at 13:35pm. During this time they are awarded 3 breaks: 1st break @ 9:00am for 15 minutes, 2nd break @ 10:45am for 25 minutes, and 3rd break @ 12:40pm for 10 minutes. Periods are 45min in length and students have 35 periods in their week.
The School Holidays are: October 1, October 28, December 23 until January 6, January 30, March 25, April 1, May 1, Good Monday – Friday after Easter Week, Holy Spirit, Green Monday, and the Summer holidays from June to September.
Certification of secondary education
- Unified Lyceum: An indicative certificate (for those who successfully complete grades A and B) or a School Leaving Certificate (APOLYTERION), for those who graduate, is awarded at the end of the school year to all successful students. The School Leaving Certificate is a qualification for employment in office work.
- Secondary Technical and Vocational Education: After successfully completing the program, students of TVE are awarded a School Leaving Certificate (APOLYTERION), which is recognized as equivalent to a School Leaving Certificate of a public three-grade Upper - Secondary school.
Presence of Clubs at school
The Unified Lyceum Program «Action – Creativity – Social Contribution» (A.C.S.) is organized by the school and is approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The program is compulsory for all students and their participation is a prerequisite to a successful completion of the curriculum for each grade and for obtaining a school leaving certificate. The activities that have been organized by schools so far, are now regulated, enriched and upgraded through this program.
School uniform is compulsory for all students in Cyprus. The uniform comprises grey trousers or jeans for boys, grey skirts or jeans for girls and white, black or grey T-shirts. There is also a special uniform for PE classes.
Private lessons in Cyprus are very common. Almost all students prepare for external exams, usually GCE A´ and O´ Levels through private tuition, to ensure access to foreign universities, especially in the UK. A lot of students, especially in Lyceum, take private lessons for difficult subjects.
Access to University or schools of higher education
Access to Public Tertiary Institutions in Cyprus and Greece can be achieved through the National Entrance exams, while the School Leaving Certificate can ensure access to private tertiary institutions.