KTÖS Needs Analysis of Primary Education Report is Launched at a Press Conference


Needs Analysis of Primary Education Report and Comparative Statistical Overview of Education

June 2022


  1. Needs Analysis of Primary Education Report

As of 20 June 2022, our students received their report cards and went on a well-deserved summer vacation after the hard work and great effort they have put in throughout the year. We would like to remind that the summer vacation is for students, not for the Ministry of Education. While we continue to work with the awareness of our duties and responsibilities as a trade union, we expect the same sensitivity from the officials of the Ministry of Education. KTÖS conducted research intending to identify the deficiencies of primary schools in North Cyprus, determine their capacities and detect a needs analysis before the beginning of the new academic year. As soon as the primary schools are closed, by sharing this analysis report both with the public and the officials, we are warning that we need to start working immediately in order to open our schools without any issues in September 2022.

The results clearly show that it is essential to reconsider the emphasis placed on public education, to allocate more money to education and to invest more in students and teachers.

A.1 What is the demographic situation of the schools? Are educational programs developed in this direction?

40% of our students attending public schools are not TRNC citizens. Students from at least 45 different countries, mostly from Turkey, attend our primary schools. These countries include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, England, Germany, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Moldova, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, Sweden, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the USA, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The native language of students from 44 different countries studying in public schools is not Turkish. According to our research results, half of the primary schools need an educational programme for teaching Turkish as a foreign language to young learners. An educational program in this field must be developed immediately for preschool and primary schools, orientation (adaptation/practice) classes need to be opened in certain schools according to the density, and teachers should be trained in this field.


A2. What are the staff shortages observed in schools?

With the economic crisis, the importance of qualified public education once again came to the fore. Many of our citizens who preferred private schools in the past years tend to return to public schools. The duty of the state is to respond to the citizens’ demand for quality public education by building more schools. According to our findings, we urgently need at least 7 primary schools, one each in Alsancak, Dikmen, Gönyeli and Hamitköy/Kaymaklı, and three in Kyrenia.

Additionally, staff shortages remain in our schools. As of today, there is a lack of at least 13 principals, 15 assistant principals, 160 teachers, 25 special education teachers, 20 secretaries and 30 janitors in our schools. Guidance and psychological counselling staff, which have a very important place in contemporary education practices, are not available in primary schools. In the first place, we need at least 80 guidance counselors. An arrangement should be made so that there is one school psychologist (Psychological Counselor and Guidance Counselor) for every 250 students. Besides, for teaching assistants who have a place in the law but are not vacant, 40 vacancies should open at the first stage. The wages of assistant teachers working in pre-school institutions are covered by the parents of the relevant class or the Parent-Teacher Association. These fees vary between 1200 TL and 6000 TL (please note that official monthly minimum salary in September 2021 was 4970 TL).


A.3 What are the physical shortages observed in schools?

In a significant part of our schools, there are deficiencies in even the most basic physical needs. 20% of schools lack teacher toilets, student toilets, canteens and open playgrounds. In 60% of the schools, there are no separate classes in which lessons such as music, arts, physical education and foreign languages will be taught; the lessons that significantly help with children’s mental, physical and spiritual development. Northern Cyprus is located in the ‘semi-arid’ climatic zone and the annual average temperature is 19.0°C. In these climatic conditions, it is obvious that a shaded area is a need for healthy physical education and sports. However, 80% of the schools do not have indoor sports facilities.



  • Fiber Water Tank 20%
  • Electric Transformer 15%
  • Warehouse/storage 45%
  • Janitor Room 30%
  • Canteen 20%
  • Outdoor Playing Field 80%
  • Indoor Sports Hall 60%
  • Branch Classes 25%
  • Classrooms 25%
  • Teachers’ WC 20%
  • Students’ WC 20%

In addition to these deficiencies, almost all of our schools need renovation and maintenance. Maintenance and repairs such as painting, roof/ceiling/ roof maintenance, insulation, sub-basement repair, door and window replacement, water fountains, electric transformers, warehouse maintenance and cleaning, and repairment of school walls, which are seen as the most urgent, should be completed latest by September.

A4. What are the conditions of security in schools?

In addition to the above, security deficiencies have been observed in our primary schools. 40% of schools do not have security cameras, while 65% do not have night guards. More than half of our schools do not have an earthquake feasibility report.



A5. How much budget do schools need annually?

In the 2021-2022 academic year, there were 55,298 students at primary, secondary and high school levels. While 43,387 of these students have completed their education in public schools, 11,911 were educated in private schools. The government does not give a single penny from their budget to public schools where approximately 45,000 students receive their education. Our schools need a school budget in order to be able to organize their educational activities, field trips and sports activities, provide materials that each child will benefit equally from, use technological opportunities, afford materials for art activities, meet basic expenses such as internet, cleaning and teacher assistants for preschool classes. Our research results indicate that schools have annual expenses (according to the student population, number of teachers and school building space and area) varying between 20,000-250,000 Turkish lira. The annual budget needs of our schools are as follows; 6% of them 20,000 TL or less, %52 of them 21,000 TL to 60,000 TL, %23 of them 61,000 TL to 120,000 TL, 8% of them 121,000 TL to 250,000 TL and 11% of them are in need for 250,000 TL or above.

Over the years, government, the ministries associated with education did not allocate any budget to schools, avoided their responsibility of meeting the economic expenses of schools and pushed school administrators and parent-teacher associations to collect donations or find sponsors. As the ones who control, plan and fund the education fail to meet the needs of the schools, they also put the school administrators and teachers into a difficult situation against the families for the demanding donations for these materials or fees for these deficiencies. A school-centred budget approach should be put into practice by allocating a budget to schools and ensuring the participation of all stakeholders (administrators, teachers, parents, experts, students, local administrations) in the budget-making process. Although our union took responsibility for the allocation of budgets to schools anddrafted a law amendment, none of the Ministers of Education has ever implemented this law.

Annual Budget Needs

8%- 121,000-250,000 TL

6%- 20,000 TL or less

52%-21,000- 60,000 TL

11%- 251,000 TL and above

23%- 61,000- 120,000 TL


A6. What technological needs are missing in schools?

Similar to the rest of the educational systems around the world, we also have experienced the importance of technology use in education during the pandemic. While digital technologies are becoming a part of our lives more than ever before, our education system is structurally far from keeping up with this progress. According to the results of the research, there is a lack of computers/laptops in 60% of our schools and a lack of smart boards/projection devices in 70% of our schools. Internet access, which is the most basic technological need, is not available in 30% of schools.

Technological Deficiencies of Primary Schools

Air conditioner 35%

Photocopy Machine 40%

Audio system 40%

Computer/laptop 60%

Smart board/projection device 70%

Internet Access 30%



A.7 What sports or arts equipment do schools need?

Cultural, artistic and sportive activities during the teaching process are activities that strengthen the learning skills, as they support the development of different intelligence areas as well as the physical development of the student. These activities are also very important for the development of skills such as adaptation, communication and self-expression, which are necessary for the personal development of the student. Unfortunately, there are serious deficiencies in these areas in our schools. The results of our research show that 55% of our schools lack sports equipment, 65% lack musical and musical instruments, and 70% lack painting and handicraft materials.

Sports and Art Equipment Deficiencies

Painting and handicraft materials 70%

Musical Instruments 65%

Sports Equipment 55%

A8. How useful did the teachers find the in-service trainings organized in the 2021-22 academic year?

We believe that the in-service trainings held by the Ministry of Education for teachers will make a positive contribution to education. Moreover, we consider that the scope of in-service trainings to be held should not be limited to teachers only. Organizing seminars and workshops forstudent teachers, students and families will also be valuable in terms of education. Considering our suggestions below about developing in-service trainings will be beneficial in educational activities. According to our research, while 62% of our teachers find the trainings organized at medium-level sufficient, 8% find them insufficient and 1% find them very insufficient. 29% of the teachers find the in-service trainings sufficient.

Evaluation of In-service Trainings

Sufficient  29%

Medium-level sufficient 62%

Insufficient 8%

Very Insufficient 1%

In line with the demand from our teachers, within the upcoming academic year, we think that it would be beneficial to give priority to areas such as science and laboratory courses, technology and digital education, contemporary classroom management techniques, multicultural education, preschool education, education forschool leaders, coping methods with behavioural problems, special education, basic psychological counselling and guidance, environmental education, physical education and sports, family education, multi-gradeteaching, coding, foreign languages, coping with stress and communication skills.



  1. A Comparative Statistical View on Education in Northern Cyprus with OECD Data

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the health, economic and social sectors a lot and has exposed several structural weaknesses in these areas. Equality of opportunity is the most important component of a strong and cohesive democratic society. Large numbers of socio-economically disadvantaged individuals are less likely to attend education, perform well find suitable employment, or pursue lifelong learning. As a result, they are also less likely than other groups to develop the skills needed to succeed in a changing economy. When we look at the general average of OECD countries, it is expected that a child from a disadvantaged family will reach the average national income only after five generations.

The theme of Education at Glance 2021 is an equal opportunity for access, participation and advancement in education. This publication focuses on participation in education, learning outcomes and teacher training for diversity and variety in the classroom. Factors such as gender, socio-economic status, country or geographic origin have also been shown to affect performance and trend. Furthermore, it shed light on the COVID-19 pandemic by laying out the measures implemented worldwide to ensure continuity and equitable learning during school closures.

While the short and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the learning process are still unclear, the pandemic has a risk of exacerbating these existing learning gaps. We know that disadvantaged students face greater challenges in adapting to the changes imposed by the pandemic. School closures tend to take longer in countries with lower learning outcomes. Apart from these, it is observed that disadvantaged students are less likely to have access to sufficient tools for distance learning, a quiet place to study at home, or the support of their parents or guardians. During the pandemic, we have inspected many negative aspects of distance learning from screen fatigue and adaptation stress of students to the risk of being left behind for those who are not able to reach adequate tools for distance learning. On the other side, we’ve also discovered how technology can make learning more elaborated, more cohesive and more interactive for students. Additionally, we have experienced how it is helpful for teachers better understand how a variety of students learn differently and that education systems need to better match resources and needs

We have experienced that teachers can help them better understand how different students learn differently and that education systems need to better match resources and needs. Despite all the negatives, this study also indicates that challenges can be successfully addressed. A comparative data, policy analysis and reliable case studies will provide us all the important information in accommodating the needs in education.”


The above words belong to OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann. In the preface of the report, he briefly summarized the full report. Education at Glance reports, published annually by the OECD, present data on the education systems of OECD countries, while also providing an opportunity to do comparisons amongst international data. Governments try to create and develop their own policies by making international comparisons in the field of education. This does not mean that they are always concerned about taking the present forward. Statistics can be used to prove anything desired. This study aims to make a comparative analysis of some parts of the OECD report with Northern Cyprus. The limitations of this study are the reliability of the data and the difficulties of accessing that data.

B.1 How much is spent per student in educational institutions?

On average, OECD countries spend $11,700 per student from primary to high school (lyceum) on public education. This is expressed as $9,600 for each student in primary education, $11,200 for each student in secondary education, and $17,100 for each student in higher education. In almost all countries, expenditures per student on educational institutions increase in direct proportion to the level of education. Average public education expenditure per student varies between OECD countries.

Besides countries like Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey with $4,000 or less; with countries such as the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal with an average public education expenditure of $10,000 or more; countries such as Germany, England, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway with an average public education expenditure of over $15,000 are included in the list.

The above comparisons have been prepared by considering the GNP and purchasing power parity between countries, they are not calculated according to the market Exchange rate. Since we do not have enough data, we can only make the same calculations for Northern Cyprus at the market exchange rate. Considering the purchasing power parity, the resulting data will be slightly higher, but it will not make a big difference in the ranking.

The average expenditure per student in public education (primary education level to high school level) in Northern Cyprus is 26,500 TL [2,000 USD]. For each primary school student, a result of 17,000 TL [1,300 USD] emerges. With this average, Northern Cyprus stands with the countries with the lowest averages such as Colombia, Mexico and Turkey.

How much is spent per student in educational institutions?
  OECD Average Rate Northern Cyprus
Primary Education to Highschool 11,700 USD 26,500 TL [2,000 USD]
Primary Education 9,600 USD 11,103 TL [1,300 USD]


B.2 How much expenditure is spent on public education?

The expenditures allocated from the public budget to the levels from the first level of primary education to the last level of high school vary between 7% and 17% among OECD countries. The OECD average of expenditures from the public budget from the first level of primary education to the last level of high school is 7.8%. The OECD average for primary education level is 3.4% and the average for general secondary education (including vocational high schools) is 4.4%.

The budget allocated for public education in Northern Cyprus is slightly above the OECD average. The average of the expenditures made from the public budget from the first level of primary education to the last level of high school is 9.2%, for primary education level is 3.7%.

While countries such as Austria, Italy, Hungary and Japan have the lowest percentages; Korea, Mexico, Chile and Switzerland have the highest percentages of public spending.

In countries such as Chile, Colombia, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey and the UK, all public education expenditures are generally financed by central governments. We can also include Northern Cyprus in this group.

In countries such as the USA, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland and Russia, central governments cover up to 10% of education expenditures, as local and regional authorities cover the rest of the expenditures.



How much expenditure is spent on public education?
  OECD Average Northern Cyprus
Primary school to high school 7.8% 9.2%
Primary school 3.4% 3.7%




B.3 How much time do students spend in the classroom?

Students in OECD countries receive an average of 9 years of compulsory education in primary and general secondary education, and receive an annual average of 7,639 hours of compulsory education. Compulsory teaching hour refers to the time required by law to be provided in all public schools and attended by all students studying in public schools.

Students in OECD countries receive an average of 4,590 hours of compulsory education in primary school and an average of 3,049 hours in secondary school. These hours vary between countries, for instance from 5 334 hours (8 years) in Poland to 11 060 hours (11 years) in Australia. Compulsory education in Northern Cyprus is also 9 years and public compulsory education hours are 4,700 teaching hours in primary education.

The compulsory teaching hours may differ from the actual teaching hours because it only shows the course hours given in the formal classroom environment. This only shows the official time students are taught. However, teafching does not only take place in the classroom, at the same time, it also takes place outside of the classroom or school. In some countries, students are encouraged to take courses, which they already take during regular school hourse, at after-school education courses. After school, students can attend private lessons or group instruction as “additional lessons”. These courses can be taught by school teachers or by other independent institutions. Such additional courses can be financed from public resources or completely by the student’s family.


How much time do students spend in the classroom?
  OECD Average Northern Cyprus
Primary Education 4,590 hours 4,700 hours



B.4 What are the annual teaching hours in schools?

Countries may also distribute the annual teaching hour in different ways throughout the year. In OECD countries, a primary school has an average of 185 teaching days and a secondary school 183 teaching days. However; in countries such as France (primary and secondary school), Iceland (primary and secondary school), Ireland (lower school), Latvia (primary school), Luxembourg (secondary school), Russia (primary school) and Greece (secondary school), the number of teaching days per year is 170 days or less. The opposite can be seen in countries such as Brazil, Israel, Italy, Japan, Colombia and Mexico, which have at least 200 teaching days per year. In Northern Cyprus, it is 185 days per year in primary education. Although teaching hours and annual school days may differ according to other variables in each academic year, there will be no significant difference.


Teaching Days
  OECD Average Northern Cyprus
Primary Education 185 185


B.5 How crowded are the classrooms?

As schools have gradually reopened, countries with smaller class populations have been able to provide social distancing and the opportunity for all students to enjoy face-to-face education. The size of the population in the class varies considerably between countries.

Although in many countries the student-teacher ratio declines between primary and upper secondary education, classroom crowding is increasing. Across OECD countries, the difference between the class population ratio in public and private educational institutions has been calculated as 1 student both in primary and secondary education.

At primary school level, the average class size in OECD countries is 21 students. Almost all countries with available data have fewer than 28 students per class.

At secondary education level, the average class size in OECD countries is 23 students. Among all countries with available data, they range from less than 20 students per class in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Russian Federation to more than 30 students per class in Costa Rica and Japan. While the student-class ratio at primary education level in Northern Cyprus is 22 students in public schools, this ratio is 18.5 students in private schools.

The student-class ratio, which shows the class size, is often used as an indicator and data at the primary school level. The reason for this is that it is not possible to determine and compare the class size due to the fact that students are divided into variety of groups for different courses in later education levels.


  OECD Average Northern Cyprus

(Public Institutions)

Northern Cyprus

(Private Institutions)

Primary Education 21 21.9 18.5


B.6 What is the salary of teachers and school principals?

Teacher salaries constitute the largest cost in formal education and are important as it has a direct impact on the attractiveness of the teaching profession. It also directly affects decisions such as getting a teaching education, doing the teaching profession after graduation (a more lucrative non-teaching profession can be preferred after graduation), returning to the teaching profession after a break or staying in the profession (as the wages increase, the rate of leaving the profession decreases).

The global pandemic has created new challenges both for economic and educational systems. What’s more, it causes pressure on public spending. Wages and working conditions are important for attracting, developing and retaining talented and qualified teachers and school principals. In this context, it is important for legislators to carefully consider teachers’ salaries and career prospects while seeking to ensure both high-quality teaching and sustainable education budgets.

The wages in the table below represent the gross annual earnings of a full-time teacher. The gross salary is the money you earn for your profession before the taxes collected by the state and social security and insurance investments are deducted. The money you receive after deducting them is your net salary.

Teacher salaries vary considerably between countries. In countries such as Hungary and Slovakia, a teacher with 15 years of experience earns $20,000 or less per year; a teacher with the same qualifications can earn $70,000 or more per year in countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, or more than $100,000 in a country like Luxembourg. In some countries, a teacher with 15 years of experience may be paid more as the level of education rises. In countries such as Colombia, England, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Scotland, teachers receive the same salary regardless of the level of education provided.

According to OECD averages, the starting salary of a teacher working in a public institution at primary/secondary/high school level is $36,116 per year. After 15 years of experience, his/her annual salary can go up to $49,701 and the highest s/he can reach is $60,478 per year.

For Northern Cyprus, this study can be distinguished as teachers who started working in 2011 or before and after the Law on Regulating the Monthly (salary-wage) and Other Allowances of Public Employees (a.k.a Göç Yasası) . However, we can say that average of Northern Cyprus corresponds to the lowest wages among OECD countries. Based on pre-2011 wages, the starting gross salary of a primary school teacher is 168,974 TL [12,069 USD]. The annual gross salary s/he will receive after 15 years of experience is 301,283 TL [21,520 USD]. After the the Law on Regulating the Monthly( salary-wage) and Other Allowances of Public Employees (a.k.a Göç Yasası) these wages has decreased drastically. The annual gross salary of a teacher who start working after 2011 decreased to 141,201 TL [10,100 USD]. Although there is not yet a teacher with 15 years of experience who is subjected to the Law on Regulating the Monthly (salary-wage) and Other Allowances of Public Employees which is implemented in 2011, we can predict from the charts that the annual gross salary will be 215,098 TL [15,364 USD] at the end of 15 years.


  OECD Average Northern Cyprus     (pre-2011) Northern Cyprus (after 2011)
Starting Salary at Primary/ Secondary/ High school Level 36,116 USD 168,974 TL [12,069 USD] 141,401 TL [10,100 USD]
Salary with 15 years of experience at Primary/ Secondary/ High school Level 49,701 USD 250,900 TL [17,921 USD] 215,098 TL [15,364 USD]
Highest Level of Salary at at Primary/ Secondary/ High school Level 60,478 USD 301,283 TL [21,520 USD]


B.7 Who are the teachers?

In OECD countries, almost two-thirds of teachers are women when all education levels are combined. However, although the highest rate of female teachers is at the earliest age education level, the rate decreases as the level rises. In fact, the OECD average of female teachers at higher education is 43%.

In the vast majority of OECD countries, 97% of pre-school teachers are women. Exceptionally, this rate is 88% in the Netherlands and 89% in France. At primary school level in OECD countries, female teachers fill 83% of the vacancies. However, these rates vary considerably between countries. To take an instance, while this rate is 51% in India, it is 99% in Russia.

Even though female teachers are still in the majority at the secondary and high school level, the proportion of male teachers is higher than at the pre-primary and primary level. The average of female teachers at seoncdary and high school level in OECD countries is 64%. In fact, at this level, the proportion of female teachers is more than half in all countries except Switzerland, India and Japan. In Japan, this rate is the lowest at 36%.

In Northern Cyprus, the ratio of female teachers is 90% at pre-primary level and 64% at primary school level.

  OECD Average Northern Cyprus
Pre-primary education %97 %90
Primary education %83 %64




  • 25/1985 Öğretmenler Yasası (25/1985 Teachers’ Law)
  • 47/2010 Kamu Çalışanlarının Aylık (Maaş-Ücret) Ve Diğer Ödeneklerinin Düzenlenmesi Yasası (47/2010 Law on Regulating the Monthly (Salary-Wage) and Other Allowances of Public Employees)
  • KKTC Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı Bütçesi (2022) (TRNC Ministry of National Education Budget (2022))
  • KKTC Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı 2021-22 İstatistik Yıllığı (2021) (TRNC Ministry of National Education 2021 -22 Statistical Yearbook (2021))
  • OECD INDICATORS, Education at a Glance (2021)