European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

[Print view]

Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

A Success Story: The Case of the Educational Sector of Guidance in Cyprus



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
Since Frank Parsons’ work at the turn of the twentieth century, career counselling has attempted to help the students understand and resolve issues and problems associated with their careers (Engels & Splete, 1995). Career counselling evolved and multiplied as different theories all over the world emerged (Gysbers & Moore, 1987). Contemporary career counsellors find themselves in a world that is redefining traditional trait-factor approaches (Tracy & Rounds, 1995), questioning them and pushing them to change the way they offer their services, especially when it comes to managing information. The goal of having a counsellor in each school was set years ago (Georgiades, 1967) but the political, educational and socio-economical system of Cyprus wasn’t ready to adopt those proposals.
In this case study we will present the establishment and evolution of the Career Counselling and Education Service. The initiatives for the formation of the service go back to 1964 but only until the 1990’s this were possible. The proposal came out of the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1991. Seven proposals were put forward and it was decided to have the Counsellors in the schools.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
The School Counsellors in Cyprus are asked to resume a double role: that of the Career Counsellor / teacher and of the Personal Counsellor. Counsellors are expected to teach the Career Guidance lesson in Year 3 of the Secondary School, as well as carry out individual counselling for career choices and for personal problem solving. They are also asked to offer a more developmental approach at the crossroads of the students’ choices. In Cyprus, students are asked to make choices at the 3rd grade (whether to go to a general Lyceum or a Technical School), during the1st year of the Lyceum (subject choices) and again during the 2nd year of the Lyceum (subject choices) and finally when applying for the Pancyprian examinations (School Final Examinations and University Entrance Examinations).
Counsellors can be placed at the Central offices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, at the Regional Offices and at every Secondary School. All Counsellors hold a first degree in a subject with which they can be employed as teachers in Secondary Schools as well as a post-graduate Diploma and / or a Masters in Guidance / Counselling. To reach this objective for almost seven years teachers of other disciplines operated as part time Counsellors until we had qualified Counsellors to staff the services. The target group includes all secondary and tertiary education students and the general public.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
The strategic plan that made the reform work had the commitment of the state to support financially the new recruit, through the standard procedure of employment (Educational Committee). The steps that were taken included ratios and a transitional plan. The formula of almost 60 students per Counsellor and the concentration and specialization only on Career Guidance and Counselling services came later. The last decade we are working on having one full – time Counsellor at each Gymnasium and two, at every Lyceum or Technical school.

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?
The Central Office provides constant support and supervision to all Counsellors and especially to those who have less than two years of service. New analytical programmes and more counselling oriented training, due to the differentiated duties Counsellors have in school, is being offered to all Counsellors. New textbooks and constant revision of all existing material is also being carried out by the Central Offices at the Ministry

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
At a national level, there are 125 School Counsellors today, six of which are placed in the central offices. The rest are placed at 123 schools. A Counsellor is placed at the Examination Services and three more in other departments of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The annual cost of the services is close to €3,500,000. This amount comes out of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s budget. What distinguish the provided services in Cyprus are the dual role of the service – Teacher and Counsellor – and the dual role of the Counsellor – Career Guidance and Personal Counselling.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
• Counselling and Career Education Services (CCES) support and inform pupils in realizing and developing their inclinations and interests, for better adapting to the school environment and taking the best possible personal educational and professional options.
• The CCES operates within the Public Secondary Education System of Cyprus and offers help to students and other youngsters through the CCES Offices at Schools and at the Central Offices at the Ministry of Education.
• School Counsellors have the official status of Secondary School Teacher. A Counsellor must have a university degree in a subject taught in secondary education and a post-graduate degree either in Counselling or in Careers Education/ Guidance.
• The goal of the C.C.E.S is the provision of specialized help to students and other young people through the counselling technique for
• The healthy development of the students´ personality
• The development of problem-solving skills which effectively deal with personal, educational, professional and social problems.
• Counsellors offer help to students and other young people in order to make effective personal, educational, and vocational choices.

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?
A major weakness is the number of students each Counsellor is responsible for. As a result, a Counsellor may work in more than one school.
Due to the multiple socio – economic and cultural changes there is increase and complexity in all matters young people are concerned with. A major strength is that the Counsellors help students acquire necessary skills to make effective personal, educational and vocational choices through:
1. Personal, group, and family counseling
2. Administration of specialized tests offered during counselling sessions to help students explore in depth, their personality, interests, etc.
3. Teaching the Careers and Social Education course.
4. Organization of seminars and conferences on vocational, educational, social psychology, and related subjects
5. Production of career – education films.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative

The C.C.E.S. participates in different Committees at the M.O.E.C., which have as major goals the empowering of students by developing the necessary decision and problem solving skills. The inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream Secondary Education constitutes part of the policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Providing equal opportunities to the children with special needs to be educated along with other children of the same age in the Public Secondary Schools of their community / neighborhood, the Counsellors provide personal and educational Counselling to these students and contribute to the development of individual educational programs for them. Additionally, the C.C.E.S. publishes many books and provides professional development for all Counsellors.

Additional information

Name of contact
Lena Nicolaou

Role (in policy initiative)
Inspector of Guidance, responsible for implementing all of the above.

Organization name
Ministry of Education and Culture

Kimonos and Thoukydidou Corner, 1434 Nicosia, Cyprus

00 35722800761


E-mail /

Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Lena Nicolaou

No comments by users.

good practice, initiative, interesting practice, policy, schools, guidance in schools, career information, Cyprus