The island nation of Cyprus is quickly becoming an international nest of education. According to an article by Susan Güsten’s in The New York Times, Northern Cyprus, a territory of Turkey, has 63,000 students enrolled in nine universities and is currently building a 10th. Fifteen thousand of those students are international. Nigeria sends the most students to Cyprus universities, where all courses are taught in English.
Cyprus is split into Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus, a territory of Greece. Greece claims that Northern Cyrpus’s universities should not count for accreditation because they are in an “illegal state.” However, all of Northern Cyprus’s universities are recognized by Turkey and are therefore accredited around the world, writes Güsten.
“’We have no problem with recognition,’ Abdullah Y. Oztoprak, rector of Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), said in an interview, pointing to a university newsletter item about a graduate who is now a research associate in bioinformatics at Oxford. ‘Our students are pursuing their Masters or Ph.D.s at the very best universities of Europe as well as in the United States.”
The low cost of going to college in Cyprus also draws international students. EMU costs $6,000-8,000 a year, with about 20% of the international students receiving 50% scholarships.Other universities in Northern Cyprus have similar tuition costs.
“At Near East University, Northern Cyprus’s largest university, with 22,000 students, tuition is $3,800 for most schools, while certain fields like medicine can cost as much as $17,500,” said Irfan Gunsel, who heads the board of trustees and is son of the university’s founder. “The university offers packages that cover tuition at most schools, dormitory accommodation and three meals a day for $6,000 per year.”
Education has greatly helped to boost the economy of Northern Cyprus, suggests Güsten. $875 million of the government’s $1.6 billion budget comes from education and student spending. Much of that money goes back into Northern Cyprus’s universities.
Even now, Cyprus is trying to raise the profile of its universities on an international level, writes Angelos Anastasiou. One of the government’s main goals is to attract international students, researchers, and teachers to Cyprus. The European Union (EU) is helping to fund educational programs and research in Cyprus.
Incyprus.com reports that the University of Cyprus used its growing international profile and prestige to voice a negative opinion of a bill suggesting a three-year degree option, such as is done in the United Kingdom. It claims that the measure would lower the quality of its degrees and not prepare students well for the competitive working world.
The debate came when Cypress Member of Parliament George Tasou suggested that cutting down on the time and credits required to get a degree may help to boost government funds. The faculty argued that a four-year degree had “multidimensional implications.”