Υπουργείο Παιδείας, Πολιτισμού, Αθλητισμού και Νεολαίας Κύπρου (ΥΠΠΑΝ)
Dr Ioannis Savvides, Head, European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Nicoletta Ioannou, Officer, European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office, email@example.com
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth of Cyprus (MoECSY) is responsible for the administration of public and the supervision of private schools of pre-primary, primary and secondary level as well as the educational institutions of Post-Secondary Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education and Adult Education. It prepares the educational budget, drafts new laws regarding education and sees to the implementation of existing ones. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth is the liaison with the Cabinet of Ministers for issues of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, having relevant competence in these fields and represents the Republic of Cyprus at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council of the European Union and other European and international organisations, such as UNESCO.
A number of programmes monitored by the competent Departments of the MoECSY target low skilled adults, such as the Evening Schools (Evening Gymnasia/Lyceums of Secondary General Education and Evening Technical Schools of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training) and the apprenticeship system, which fall within the spectrum of formal adult education sector. Evening Schools provide a ‘second chance’ education to individuals who have left secondary education without a school leaving certificate. Apprenticeship System of Vocational Education and Training offers an alternative pathway for education, training and development for young people who drop out from formal education. Finally, a number of courses are provided by the Adult Education Centres, the largest governmental non-formal adult education provider in Cyprus, which promote basic skills of adults. Yet, this offering is scarce and lacks mechanisms to identify low skilled adults. For these reasons, other initiatives should be developed, such as assessment of competences and development of more targeted programmes aiming at upskilling low skilled adults, mostly in literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
The European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office, which will be the liaison office between the MoECSY and the European Basic Skills Network (EBSN), contributes to the effective and successful participation of the Ministry in European and international affairs. It also monitors the issues arising from the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in the European Union as a Member State and from its participation in other European and international organizations and networks, in order to facilitate the prompt, adequate and effective action of the MoECSY. Finally, the office monitors lifelong learning and adult education policies, within the Ministry and beyond. One of its main responsibilities is the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the new National Lifelong Learning Strategy (CY LLLS) for the years 2021-27. The policies and actions carried out within the Lifelong Learning Strategy 2021-2027 are monitored by two committees namely the National and the Technical Lifelong Learning Committees. The Strategy aims to face challenges, such as the low participation of adults in lifelong learning, which remains below the EU average. Moreover, it is expected that the new Lifelong Learning Strategy will enhance the efforts of upskilling and reskilling of low qualified and low-skilled adults and address the quite high percentage of unemployment among young people. Special attention will be given to groups at risk, disadvantaged or coming from vulnerable social groups, such us young unemployed, early leavers, NEETs, migrants/refugees and low skilled and low qualified, who participate less in education and training. Finally, the European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office is also responsible for the coordination of the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) since 2012. In the framework of the CY EAAL projects, the Office undertook a number of initiatives towards reinforcing basic skills provision of low skilled adults in Cyprus. It should be noted that exchange of expertise and good practices between the MoECSY and the EBSN members is be very beneficial.
National / international impact
The mission of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (MoECSY) is to continuously improve education to ensure equal education opportunities for all learners through an education policy informed by the principles of equality, participation, creativity and innovation and designed to achieve lifelong balanced and rounded development, while at the same time strengthening culture, supporting cultural creativity and sport and empowering young people. In this context, the basic goal of the Ministry is to increase access to quality education and provide opportunities for all learners to become successful in their learning, through modernising teaching methods and approaches, designing and implementing modern developmental programmes and creating the infrastructure that can facilitate high quality education that is efficient and inclusive.
The function of MOECSY is to develop and implement education policy in line with the government’s declared policies at national level. To this end, the MoECSY through its three-year strategic plan (the current one covers the period 2021-2023) is required to develop strategic goals and programs to fulfil the government’s educational policy, to prepare annual operational plans, to monitor and assess progress towards achieving the goals, and to support educational institutions in implementing the programs. In addition, the MoECSY is responsible for the continuing professional learning of teachers and school principals and for the inspection of schools.
The European and International Affairs, Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Office plays a key role in the continuous improvement of internal coordination within the MoECSY, and the MoECSY’s coordination with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations in Cyprus and abroad in regard to European, international, lifelong learning and adult education issues. It ensures internal and international coordination, the preparation of monitoring reports on matters arising from the conventional obligations of Cyprus as a European Union member-state, it enhances the expertise of the MoECSY’s officers in their participation in EU programmes and institutions and it responds to the challenges related to the promotion of Lifelong Learning and Adult Education at national and European level.