Paphos aspires to be regional education hub

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Paphos is becoming a magnet for higher education studies, with three major universities operating out of the island’s smallest town.

In Lebanon, one of the most prestigious universities in the region, the American University of Beirut (AUB), plans to establish a campus in Paphos in a show of confidence for the town.

Following the successful operation of Neapolis University and the recent decision by the Technical University of Cyprus (TEPAK) to set up a tourism school, the AUB will inject new interest and boost the property market.

Paphos hopes to benefit from these universities as Larnaca has done with UCLan (University of Lancashire Cyprus) and the newcomer American University of Cyprus on the Dhekelia road.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Paphos Mayor Phedon Phedonos confirmed the AUB would be setting up a ‘satellite university’ in the town.

AUB’s Cyprus campus is situated at the old Carob Mills on the road leading to Kato Paphos.

The campus will cover an area of some 10,000 square metres and host some 2,000 students.

On Wednesday, Paphos Municipality signed an agreement with the Cyprus Technological University (TEPAK) to establish a tourism and hospitality management school.

TEPAK Paphos campus will host around 1,200 students.

Phedonos said Paphos municipality and local stakeholders are excited over the town’s prospects of becoming an educational hub.

“Bringing in universities was one of the goals we had set to lift Paphos out of the stagnation it had fallen into.

“We aim to add another source of income to the town’s economy after tourism and construction development, that of education,” said Phedonos.

He argued the addition of some 3,200 students would breathe new life into the resort town.

“Education will strengthen Paphos’ strive to enter a new era.

“We have plans to build more educational institutions that will act as ‘engines’ for innovation and ‘catalysts’ for sustainable development.

“Students and universities are the beacons of development on all levels.

“From a financial point of view, as they create new jobs and new demand in the market, to pushing the society forward.”

He said the growing student community and academics would bring ideas and progress, turning Paphos into a leading force of development.

Demand for student halls

Esme Palas, Barrister at Law, Partner at Michael Kyprianou and Co LLC Paphos partner, said two universities setting up campuses in the town promises a brighter future.

“We expect that it will add a profound economic value to our town, and it shall have a significant social impact,” Palas told the Financial Mirror.

“It is anticipated that the addition of a few thousand students shall directly or indirectly affect a variety of industries such as administrative, hospitality, healthcare and retail services and the real estate sector.”

The Barrister said the influx of students would create demand for student accommodation, and the real estate sector will be expected to meet these needs.

“Currently, there is a lack of rental properties, which could lead to developers undertaking new projects to provide student dorms or converting existing properties that could also be used to house students.”

Families of international students in Paphos may opt to buy property to rent out to future students.

“The necessity to meet student housing needs will boost sales and give a much-needed push to the local construction industry“.

She added that job opportunities within the university would also be created.

“The retail and hospitality sectors will benefit from the spending by students and visiting families who will take advantage of the city’s shopping, dining, and hospitality facilities.

“Student healthcare needs could also create opportunities for the development and investment in healthcare infrastructure.

“We are optimistic that not only will the impact be felt by the increase and improvement of higher academic standards, but we can expect that it will create ripple effects of a positive nature felt far beyond higher education.”

The American University of Beirut is a private, non-sectarian, and independent university chartered in New York with its campus in Beirut, Lebanon.

AUB is governed by an independent board of trustees and offers bachelor’s, master’s, MD’s, and PhD degrees.

AUB has an operating budget of $423 mln with an endowment of approximately $768 mln.

Almost one-fifth of AUB’s students attended secondary school or university outside Lebanon before.

The language of instruction is English. Degrees awarded at the university are officially registered with the New York Board of Regents.

The AUB was contacted but said that they did not wish to comment at the present stage on their Paphos plans.