British push to woo Cypriots

July 7, 2000

British universities and colleges have stepped up their efforts to recruit Greek Cypriot students. Next month, for the second summer running, there will be a mission to recruit post A-level students in Nicosia.

The mission has increased from the institutions represented last year, to about 40 institutions. The number of students recruited in August 1999 is not known, but with more institutions participating, competition to attract students is likely to be tough.

The Greek Cypriot passion for higher education has provided a steady stream of students to the overseas market, with Britain the second most popular destination after Greece.

Over-provision of graduates in the job market, particularly in the coveted government sector, has led to a demand for higher qualifications.

But with interest growing in attracting Greek Cypriot students, a saturated market may not be far off. Reduced attendance at this year's educational fair, in Nicosia in March, could be an indication of this saturation.

Changes in the domestic education market are also likely to make competition tougher for foreign providers, with Cyprus set to increase home provision.

The University of Cyprus is expanding, and a new technical university is planned. This year also saw many of the degree courses at the private tertiary colleges receive full accreditation and academic recognition.

This is deeply reassuring to prospective students and to their parents, and it will inevitably accelerate the colleges' ambitions towards increased student numbers and a wider choice of subjects.

For a number of years now, successive government officials have outlined a future in which Cyprus will capitalise on its unique geographical position to become a centre of educational excellence.

Greece is also offering greater opportunities for Greek Cypriots to study close to home, with the government increasing higher education provision for Greek Cypriot students by about 400 places.

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