You are on page 1of 4

THE MALTESE EDUCATION SYSTEM

Introduction

Education within state schools is available and free to all children from the
age of 5–16 regardless of their gender, beliefs or their family’s economic
means. The National Curriculum and the regulations for all the state schools
on Malta and Gozo are established by the state in accordance with the
Education Act (1988).

As regards private schools, these fall under one of two categories; church
schools or independent schools. These schools offer education to children and
adolescents from primary to secondary, and sometimes even upper
secondary education.

The diagram below shows the general education system most Maltese
children follow.

Age Type of Education

3-5 Kindergarten/Pre-Primary

5-11 Primary

11-16 Secondary

16-18 Sixth form/Upper Secondary

18+ Tertiary education - Unversity

1
Pre-Primary Education

95% of children attend kindergarten or pre-primary school despite this being


optional. Pre-primary education is offered free in state schools and is co-
educational. Most pre-primary school/kindergarten centres form part of
primary schools.

The National Minimum Curriculum states that at this level no formal teaching
takes place, however the development of children’s social attitudes and
language and communication skills are worked on. Children engage in
activities that focus on communication by means of words or gestures,
singing, playing, painting and exercises.

Primary Education

Primary education is compulsory for all children from the age of 5 until 16
years of age. The government is committed to an inclusive education policy
which means that even students with special needs are integrated in the
mainstream. Primary education is free within state schools, which also
includes transport and textbooks, and it is also co-educational.

In primary school children build on and consolidate what they have learnt
during their pre-primary and kindergarten years. As well as refining their
social attitudes and communication skills, a lot of importance is given to
preparing the children for secondary school education.

During cycle 1 (years 1,2 and 3) of Primary education is where the children
work on social skills, literacy and numeracy skills. Cycle 2 (years 4,5 and 6)
consists of more academic content and much more formal learning. In state
schools, towards the end of cycle 2, children prepare for what is known as
Junior Lyceum Examination. Their result in this examination determines
where they will attend secondary school. This examination is not taken by
children who attend private schools.

2
Secondary Education

Students who sit for their Junior Lyceum Examination either attend a Junior
Lyceum, an Area Secondary school or a secondary school for very low
achievers.

Admission into the junior lyceums means that the student would be following
a more intensive academic programme, therefore students who pass the
exam would attend these schools. Students who fail the exam would attend
an Area Secondary school and a student whose level after 6 years of
education is still considered very low would attend a secondary school for low
achievers. Most secondary schools, unlike the pre-primary and primary
schools, are single-sex.

Upper Secondary Education

Upper secondary education or sixth form can be followed optionally either at


the pre-university institution known as Junior College or at any other church
or independent private school. Here students narrow down their subjects to
include the area that they would like to specialize in and/or which they would
continue to specialize in at university.

MCAST (Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology) is a vocational upper


secondary institution. Its aim is to provide professional education and training
in certain subject areas which are not available at the University of Malta.

ITS (Institute of Tourism Studies) is another popular institution that many


students attend to prepare for a career in the tourism and hospitality sector,
which is one of Malta’s key strengths.

Tertiary Education

The University of Malta is funded by the government and is autonomous and


self-governing. The university offers undergraduate as well as post-graduate
education and the duration of courses range from 1-6 years, depending on
the subject area. Most students enter university straight after sixth form,
ages 17/18, however there is also a large number of mature students who
also attend part-time or evening courses.

International students can apply for enrolment to the University of Malta


through the International Office at the university every year until the end of
August. Although local students do not pay any university fees, overseas
students are charged.

3
Learning English in Malta

Malta has earned itself a good reputation as a quality destination for learning
English. The EFL industry has grown at a steady rate and there are a number
of English language schools in all corners of the island. These schools offer a
wide range of English language courses. In the past only basic General
English courses were available, however in recent years schools have
developed to include specialized courses to be able to teach English for a
specific purpose (ESP) and for a particular area. Business, Medical, Legal and
Aviation English are a few examples.

Young children, teenagers and adults come to Malta all year round to improve
their English as well as to enjoy Malta’s history, sea, leisure activities and
much more.