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EU: Public education in Cyprus is costly, but effectiveness is low

October 16, 2018 at 2:47pm
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Public spending on education remains high in Cyprus, but the low effectiveness and efficiency of the education system continue to be a major challenge, the European Commission has found.

Its extensive Education and Training Monitor for 2018 covering all EU Member states, includes a seven page section on Cyprus.

It notes that public spending on education in Cyprus remains high. At 6 % of GDP in 2016, it remains well above the EU average of 4.7%.  Measured as a share of total government expenditure, Cyprus spent 15.6 % on education in 2016, more than any other EU country.

As with most countries, teachers’ salaries (73 %) are the biggest expenditure. Cyprus has an education system with low effectiveness, since spending is high but educational outcomes (i.e. the knowledge, skills and abilities students attain as measured by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), are low, it said.

The resulting low spending efficiency could be improved. Better educational outcomes will benefit society at large given the positive effect of education on growth, productivity and income equality, it added.

Other highlights include:

  •  Citizenship education is integrated in general education and also present in digital education. The modernisation of school education has progressed further on teacher appointments, implementation of new curricula and school regulations and continuing professional development.
  • Tertiary attainment is very high overall, but over-qualification remains an issue and graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are underrepresented.
  •  Vocational education and training (VET) was strengthened, yet participation levels and VET graduate employability remain low.
  • Efforts were made to improve adult learning, but the very low share of low-skilled participants remains a concern, especially given the shrinking and ageing population.