The adventure of establishing a university in Cyprus – An attempt to explain the thirty-year postponement (full text in Greek))

Pavlos M. Pavlou


The discussion among Greek-Cypriots about the need of establishing a university started during the British rule; it kept focusing on the question whether it should be established, almost till its birth in 1992. British colonial rule from the beginning faced the issue in a manipulating way; it understood it as a factor of diminishing the nationalism among the Greek-Cypriots and creating a more “Cypriot” national consciousness. This element enclaved the discussions, even after the independence. As most of the Greek-Cypriots still kept dreaming for the unification with Greece, they developed the fear that a university might create a cultural gap between them and “motherland”. On the other hand, the weak position of Turkish-Cypriots made their positive attitude on the matter not really effective. Nevertheless, there were financial, social and further political reasons too, which prevented the discussions to accent on a more productive level. The big financial cost of establishing a university encouraged the indifference of the upper class, which had, anyway, its own way out in UK’s universities. The lack of many brave and independent intellectuals was combined with the absence of a critical mass of interested people: The middle and the lower classes could financially afford the studies in Greek universities and in Cyprus colleges. For the voters of the leftist party there were also many chances for studying free in communist countries. After 1974 the idea of establishing a university in Cyprus became much stronger; but still there were objections, even till the eve of the birth of the University of Cyprus, in 1992. This whole infrastructure affected negatively the general educational policy, the structure of the university and its function. It also slowed down the evolution of the university’s social and scientific influence on the civic institutions of Cyprus.


University, Educational Policy, National Policy, University and Society, University and Economy


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