University of Nicosia (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1484-1493
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
One of the challenges that Cyprus was faced with was upgrading the non-state providers of tertiary education to a university level. During the last few years, five applications were submitted to the Minister of Education and Culture for the establishment and operation of non-state universities. Following an examination of these applications by the Evaluation Committee of Private Universities (ECPU), three non-state HEIs were permitted to operate as non-state universities (as of academic year 2007/08) namely, the European University Cyprus, the Frederick University, and the University of Nicosia. Entry to the non-state universities is subject to the possession of a recognized secondary school certificate and successful aptitude or other tests set by the individual school.

In the newly reclassified non-state universities in Cyprus there seems to appear a sort of domino effect. With more students pursuing Higher education abroad, fewer students choose non-state universities in Cyprus. With low numbers of local students, the non-state universities must find ways to fill classes. By making entry requirements relatively easy, non-state universities in Cyprus are seen as the ‘easy’ route into Higher education and thus students who do not manage to gain acceptance in HEIs abroad, consider this option. Accepting students in all programs, however, who have relatively low academic ability means that the overall image of the non-state university is damaged – considered a ‘second class’ university compared to universities abroad. This perceived image may also be held by the industry and hence may tend to prefer graduates from HEIs abroad because they perceive them to be of a higher calibre. With the existence of this possible preferential treatment towards graduates of HEIs abroad, high school students who are in the process of deciding on a particular HEI may tend to choose those abroad hoping to be at the receiving end of this preferential treatment once they graduate.

The main aim of this survey was to identify the prevailing perceptions among employers on private university graduates in Cyprus. The results aimed at identifying the perceptions of employers vis-à-vis Cypriot graduates of private, state and other universities abroad. The survey also aimed at establishing the factors which employers take into account when recruiting graduates (e.g. work experience, personality), the sources they apply to, their opinion on the abilities of graduates as well as the standard of educational services offered by universities. The methodology adopted in conducting the survey consisted in a quantitative study with the use of questionnaires, which were completed by employers representing a range of sectors of the Cyprus economy. The qualitative features presented in the analysis of the survey have been identified thanks to the long experience of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Employment Consultants (Cyprus) on matters related to this survey.