Secondary education

What to expect from a secondary education

Secondary education

Lower secondary education is compulsory for all children in Cyprus, while upper secondary education is obligatory only for pupils who wish to obtain a university degree.

Gymnasio (lower secondary education)

Gymnasio is compulsory for children between the ages of 12 and 15. The curriculum is the same for all pupils and includes; modern and classical Greek, mathematics, religious education, English, French, history, civics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and natural science. It has recently been expanded to include subjects such as the arts, health, nutrition, environmental studies, design and technology.

Pupils attend seven 45-minute classes three days a week and eight 45-minute classes on the remaining two days. Each day they have three breaks of about 20 minutes. The first lessons start at 7.30 and the last ends at 13.35. After successfully completing gymnasio, a leaving certificate is issued, which allows pupils to enrol in an upper secondary school.

Lykeio (upper secondary education)

Upper secondary education in Cyprus is non-compulsory but mandatory for those students who wish to continue their education in a Cyprus university. The daily timetable is similar to that of the gymnasio - it consists of seven 45-minute lessons from 7.40 to 13.35. Pupils can choose between two types of upper secondary schools (or geniko lyeio).

Upper secondary education is voluntary and lasts three years, from the age of 15 to 18. The curriculum is made of a set of general educational subjects in addition to optional subjects which pupils select in accordance with their interests, ability and future plans. After the completion of studies pupils are awarded a school-leaving certificate, which qualifies them to enter university or any other higher institution.

Technical and vocational schools (or mesi techniki kai epangelmatiki ekpaidefsi) are public and private technical institutions. This three-year programme includes theoretical and technical education with specializing subjects. Pupils gain a school leaving certificate (apolytirio) which is equivalent to that of the lykeio and allows graduates to compete for places in higher education.

Private technical schools are an expensive alternative to public secondary schools. They last six or seven years and are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Classes are usually taught in Greek, but can sometimes be in English, French and Russian.

Further reading

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