The Cypriot Recovery and Resilience plan has a total budget of €1.006 billion in grants and €0.2 billion in loans. Around 23% of the plan’s budget is dedicated to digital objectives, including digital skills (exceeding the 20% allocation required by the EU Recovery & Resilience Facility). Under the Cypriot plan, €15 million will be invested in reskilling and upskilling initiatives, €64 million will fund research and innovation actions, and €43.4 million will support SMEs going digital. Another €50.4 million will go towards upgrading school infrastructure.
Main actions on digital skills
A key priority of the Cypriot plan is reforming the education and training system at all levels: from making early childhood education and care more accessible to all, to reaching more young people not in employment, education or training and making schools fit for the digital age. Major reforms in the education sector take a central place in the Cypriot plan. Initiatives to reform the teaching profession include providing digital skills training to teachers and introducing a new system for teacher-school evaluation.
The educational curricula for secondary schools (and higher schools, to a lesser extent) will be fully modernised so that it corresponds to changing labour market demands. Other actions include modernising learning materials and investing in digital equipment for schools. Funding from the plan will also be used to set up a national graduate tracking system and provide more scholarships and programmes for secondary school students. This includes an in-job shadowing and mentorship programme, upgraded vocational education and training initiatives, and new curricula and subjects for secondary schools (aligned with digital and green).
Actions in the plan aim to address the low level of participation in vocational education and training (VET) and open up opportunities for adults with little to no digital skills acquire a basic understanding. The basic digital skills of Cypriots remain below the EU average of 56%, with only 45% of people between 16 and 74 years having at least basic digital skills (DESI 2021). A total of €24 million will go towards creating new digital skills education and training opportunities for students, unemployed, lower skilled adults, and employees looking for a change. In parallel, the National e-Skills Action Plan for Cyprus will further aim to boost digital skills across all sectors and parts of society from public administration employees, to company workers, and all people, and maximise funding from the Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Finally, measures in the plan will also set up innovation programmes and funding schemes to enhance businesses’ competitiveness, with a special focus on start-ups, innovative companies and digitally-mature SMEs, and link them to research organisations and collaborative partnerships. It is expected that this will contribute to the development of new ‘ready-for-the-market’ products, as well as more advanced digital skills.