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Education: State expenditure in vain

14/06/2004 14:27
The salary of a woman university graduate working in the private sector is 20% lower than the salary of a man high school graduate working in the public sector, a research prepared by the University of Cyprus Economic Research Unit headed by Mr. Panos Pasiardis reported on Monday. Despite the positive impact that the education has on the employees’ salaries, the research insists that the additional education helps those working in the public sector rather than in the private.

Although the transition to a further educational stage entails a salary increase of 10% - 30%, men working in the civil service ‘equipped’ with the primary education only have 35% lower salaries than those who have completed the secondary education. The difference in the private sector hardly stands at 16%.

Women’s salary is 40% lower than the men’s. This difference is even larger in the private sector.

Low performance education

The low performance of education, however, is also evident through the performance of the Cypriot students in international exams. According to the research, despite the fact that Cyprus spends the highest GDP rate (9.4%) in education compared to other European countries, the performance of the Cypriot students in international exams is very low.

Then, the remuneration of the Cypriot teachers compared to the average GDP per capita is higher than the other EU member states. After 15 years of service, a Cypriot teacher enjoys an income which is 2.14 times of the Cyprus GDP per capita. The average remuneration of teachers in the other EU member states is 1 to 1.5% times of their GDP per capita.


The high expenditure rate of GDP does not “entail a better quality or a larger quantity of education than the other European countries, where the total expenditure for education corresponds to a lower GDP rate”, the research reported.

The ineffectiveness of education in Cyprus is attributable to the “distortion of the labour market by the civil service”. The monopoly of education by the Education Ministry and the teachers’ trade unions do not favour the citizens that have a right in it.

The research also reported that the teachers’ evaluation system contributes to the low performance of education since it is not based on criteria that reflect the task of the teacher and the institution. The dissociation of the remuneration from the effectiveness of work has led to a lower efficacy.

Research proposals

The improvement in efficiency demands the decentralization of the educational system, the conversion of the public sector with the private sector salaries and the employment and evaluation process of the staff.

The research also recommends the increase of posts in the third-degree education to ease the distortions in the labour market and reduce the total expenditure for education. The private expenditure for education abroad is undoubtedly larger than the additional public expenditure for the increase in the number of students at the University of Cyprus. “The creation of new faculties and departments in the University of Cyprus, the University of Applied Sciences (to be established soon) and the private universities are steps towards the right direction”, the research reported.

The increased offer of choices in the universities should not affect quality, since what we seek is the “increased effectiveness of our educational system”, the report concluded.