According to the Law 113 (I)/99 of the Republic of Cyprus, “a student with disabilities" means a student with a severe learning disability or special learning needs, functional or adaptive difficulty, due to physical (including sensory), mental or other cognitive or mental disabilities. A student has learning difficulties, functional or adaptive difficulties, if: (i) has significantly greater learning or adaptation difficulties in comparison with the majority of students of his/her age; or (ii) has a disability that prevents or impedes him/her from using the standard educational facilities and resources available for students of his/her age.
National procedures are in place for providing special arrangements for upper secondary students with disabilities in Entry Examinations for Cypriot and Greek public Universities. There is an application form that has to be completed and submitted to Cyprus Examinations Service.
Higher Education Institutions in Cyprus (both public and private) implement their own procedures to facilitate students with disabilities:
- Students with disabilities should contact the Officer in charge of the Social Support Office of the Higher Education Institution where they will study to declare their difficulties.
- Student Admission with Special Criteria procedure
- Students declare their difficulties by completing the Institution's inscription form
- Referral procedures
Specifically, when a student with a disability is identified, a personal meeting is held with the officer in charge at the Social Support Office. During the meeting, his/her difficulties and potentially required facilitations will be discussed and recorded. The student must provide all medical documents, evaluations, and doctor’s recommendations s/he possesses, as well as any recommendations for facilitations from the District Committee for Special Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Sport and Youth, or from the equivalent body in the student’s country of origin. The Officer in charge of the Social Support Office completes the dedicated form with the student’s personal details and academic support needs.The Student Welfare Committee (SWC) evaluates the student’s needs, taking into consideration the relevant legislation and international practices.
The student is informed about the SWC decision and the kind of assistance that the Higher Education Institution can provide him/her with. When the student’s written consent is acquired his/her professors, the faculty member responsible for student support, and the president of the department are notified in writing.
Reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities, according to the law, can include:
- adaptation of the teaching materials/exams/notes/texts/webpages according ot the special needs of the students,
- the use of audiovisual and other technological means;
- sound insulation,
- teaching recording
The Student Welfare Service of the Department of Higher Education under MOECSY offers a specific grant to the parents of Cypriot students studying in Cyprus or abroad in accredited programmes of study, on a basis of socioeconomic criteria, including students with disabilities. In addition, a financial package is available to eligible students to cover subsistence, books, rental and computer expenses. Eligibility is based on socioeconomic criteria.
Scholarships are offered by the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation to Cypriot students based on merit and, mainly, on socioeconomic criteria in order to reach students from lower income backgrounds.
Additionally, the government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, supports people with disabilities for social protection and social inclusion by addressing disability-related costs of disability, through the following:
1. Severe Physical Disability Allowance Scheme
2. Care Allowance Plan for Paraplegics
3. Care Allowance Plan for Quadriplegic Persons
4. Law on Special Sponsorship for the Blind
5. Law on Disability Allowance for the Disabled
6. Financial Assistance Plan for People with Disabilities for car purchase
7. Financial Assistance Plan for Acquisition of Technical Means,Organs and Other Aids by People with Disabilities
8. Financial assistance plan for the provision of wheelchairs for people with severe motor disabilities
9. Management / Lending Plan for Technical Means, Instruments and others Aids
10. Wheelchair Management / Lending Plan
11. Issue of a Parking Card for Persons with Disabilities
The Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning Programmes, in addition to the financial support that provides to every student that wants to participate in a mobility initiative abroad (for purposes of transportation, accommodation, food and language preparation), subsidizes students with disabilities with extra financial support in the context of these programmes such as: accompaniment during the trip, transfer using a special vehicle, assistant / caregiver during the day or overnight, medical supplies or medical follow-up and special teaching material.
The process of approving the additional funding is simple and the student with disability has to visit the Erasmus Office at his/her Higher Education Institution to complete the forms required.
No targets have been set at the national level regarding students with disabilities in credit mobility programmes such as Erasmus+
The following support services are available through funding provided by the Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning Programmes to local students with disabilities travelling abroad:
- Accompaniment during the trip (for the transition or for the entire duration of stay abroad),
- Transfer using a special vehicle from the Home Institution to the Reception Institution or locally during the period of stay abroad,
- Accommodation in special facilities
- Assistant / caregiver during the day or overnight,
- Medical supplies or medical follow-up (eg physiotherapy, medical check-up in the host country, etc. if these are not covered by the European Insurance Card or other private insurance policy contract),
- Special teaching material (educational material in Braille, enlarged photocopies, recording of lectures)
Higher Education Institutions of Cyprus can provide support services to Erasmus students with disabilities providing they have information on the following:
- accessibility to their premises
- the possibility of special arrangements regarding the examinations (eg oral examination, provision of additional time, etc.)
- the possibility of providing a suitable room at the university’s dormitory
- the ability to access student health services
- the possibility of access to student activities organized by student associations
- the contact details of the Erasmus office manager for people with disabilities at their premises