Cyprus at the Forefront of Tertiary Education

8 September 2016

Shutterstock Bundle

With the country’s economy taking an upward trend, Cyprus is channeling entrepreneurial optimism toward consolidating its academic infrastructure. With three state-run universities currently operating across the country alongside five privately owned, it goes without saying that the Manhattan-size island has the aspirations of its young workforce well catered to. If one is to add the twenty five degree-issuing private colleges, the market appears to be quite competitive for local education institutions and the focus is shifting toward investing in research and innovation facilities, entering into international partnerships, and attracting students from the Middle East and Africa.

Despite the act regulating tertiary education in Cyprus being enforced not sooner than 1991, degree-granting institutions have been around for years, waiting for the accreditation legislation to be put in place. Among the private colleges running on the island, The Cyprus Institute of Marketing, a well-known and well-connected international institution, was established in 1978 due to its founder’s ambition to emulate the Institute of Marketing in the United Kingdom. “We are a European institution – this is a big advantage for us, because before joining the European Union, Cyprus was just an island in the Eastern Mediterranean” explains Theo Hadjiyannis, the founder and managing director of the Institute when discussing the advantage of combining the strategic position of Cyprus, closer to Africa and Asia, with access to the European educational framework. One of the first to offer online education to its students, with numerous franchise agreements on its record, the college went global in 1986 when it established its presence in Hong Kong and has since expanded its international student outreach to 50 countries, with an important participation in the African market. It is also the first and only institution in Cyprus to have been awarded the “National Champion 2015/2016” recognition by the European Business Awards.



The European University Cyprus is another example which stands out among peer entities, now part of the prestigious US-based Laureate International Universities, an international network of prominent higher education providers serving 29 countries and 80 locations. “I think the biggest challenge of the universities, not only in Cyprus but everywhere, is to close the gap between academia, education, and industry”, says Christoforos Hadjikyprianou, who was appointed CEO of the European University Cyprus in 2011. In order to do so, since taking office he focused on implementing major investment programs that added to the institution’s infrastructure a Microsoft Innovation Center, built on campus, and a new Medical School, hailed as a regional center of excellence, both of which were developed in alignment with the new academic model of the University, based on the primordial pillars of employability and internationality.

Likewise, liaising between the academic environment and the industry, NIPD Genetics lists among those rare success stories that made it to the global mainstream business arena when it started commercializing a lab innovation. Emerging as a spin-off from the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, the start-up managed to raise EUR 5 million in private investment since its creation in 2011. Their product, Veracity, is a comprehensive, non-invasive prenatal test based on a blood draw, and NIPD Genetics is currently seeking to expand its royalty-based partnership model by forming alliances with medical institutions worldwide.

The professional service firms present in Cyprus, whether operating in the fields of law, consultancy, accounting, or shipping, have already attained international recognition, and now the education sector appears to be catching up at a very fast pace. Enlisting the Research and Technology Fund among the entities offered in a portfolio available to foreign investors who seek to acquire national residency and citizenship is set to contribute to Cyprus’ quick evolution toward becoming a regional hub for excellence and innovation.


By Malina Iorga


OER: Business Intelligence Unit (BIU) supports free sharing and open educational resources. All the materials published on our website may be reproduced in any form for educational or non-profit purposes without special permission from BIU, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. For reproductions having a commercial purpose we welcome applications for permission consisting of a statement of purpose and the extent of the reproduction at