This year’s incoming army recruits were contacted by the education ministry on Wednesday via text message, which asked those who secured a position at a UK university for the coming academic year to inform the ministry so that concrete figures can be gathered.
The figures are expected to aid the government in its ongoing negotiations with British government officials, in view of finding a solution to the UK’s decision to scrap home fees for EU students from the 2021-22 academic year.
Army recruits who secured a position at a UK university for the coming academic year were asked to submit their details no later than July 12.
Male graduates of Cyprus secondary schools are posing a particularly tough dilemma for the local government, as protocol requires them to complete a 14-month military service before heading off to university.
As such, male graduates who are offered a position at a university, in the UK or elsewhere, typically defer their offer for a year in order to complete their military service before attending university.
But in light of the UK’s decision, 2020 army recruits who secured a position at a UK university will be faced with much higher fees if they defer their offer until 2021.
MPs at the House education committee early in July discussed a potential solution that would see military service being postponed so that graduates could take advantage of the home fees during the coming academic year. But a defence ministry representative at the meeting said such a move was out of the question, as it would jeopardize the operation of the national guard.
Another possible solution discussed was the provision of state funding through a guarantee scheme to cushion the blow of UK university fees that are to skyrocket, while some highlighted the need to develop local alternatives through additional English-language courses at the University of Cyprus.