Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is well known for its beautiful beaches, rich history, and thriving tourism industry. However, the country also has a well-developed education system that has been in place since the British colonial period. This article will provide an overview of the education system in Malta, including the quality of education, types of schools available, syllabus and qualifications, school hours and holidays, enrolment process, and higher education options.
Quality of Education in Malta
The education system in Malta is considered to be of a high standard. It is managed by the Ministry of Education and Employment, which is responsible for ensuring that all students have access to quality education. The country has a literacy rate of 98%, indicating that the vast majority of the population is able to read and write.
Malta has a large number of schools, including public, private, and church-run institutions. The government invests heavily in education, with around 6% of the national budget allocated to education.
Compulsory Education in Malta
In Malta, education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. This means that children must attend school between these ages, although they can leave school at 15 if they have completed their compulsory education and have received a leaving certificate. After the age of 16, students can choose to continue their education in a vocational or academic setting, or they can enter the workforce.
Types of Schools in Malta
There are three main types of schools in Malta: state schools, private schools, and church schools. State schools are funded and managed by the government, while private schools are owned and managed by individuals or companies. Church schools are run by religious organizations, usually the Catholic Church.
Early Years Education
Early years education is available for children between the ages of 3 and 5. This is not compulsory, but many parents choose to send their children to kindergarten or pre-school to help them develop their social and cognitive skills. Early years education is provided by both state and private schools.
Primary education is compulsory in Malta for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Students attend primary school for six years, during which time they study a range of subjects, including Maltese, English, mathematics, science, social studies, and physical education. Primary education is provided by both state and church schools.
Secondary education is available for students between the ages of 11 and 16. During this time, students study a broad range of subjects, including Maltese, English, mathematics, science, history, geography, religious studies, art, and music. At the end of secondary school, students sit for the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examination, which is a national examination that assesses their knowledge and understanding of the subjects they have studied.
Post-secondary education is available for students who have completed their compulsory education and want to continue their studies. There are a number of options available, including vocational courses, academic courses, and apprenticeships. Students can choose to study at a state-run college, a private institution, or a church-run college.
Syllabus and Qualifications
Schools in Malta follow a national curriculum that is designed to provide students with a broad and balanced education. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of students and society. At the end of their studies, students can obtain a range of qualifications, including the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC), the General Certificate of Education (GCE), and the International Baccalaureate (IB).
School Hours and Holidays
School hours in Malta vary depending on the school and the age of the student. Generally, primary schools start at around 8:30 am and finish at 1:30 pm, while secondary schools start at around 8:00 am and finish at 2:30 pm. Some schools may have longer hours, particularly if they offer additional extracurricular activities. School holidays in Malta generally follow the same pattern as other European countries, with a summer break of around 11-12 weeks, a Christmas break of around 2-3 weeks, and a spring break of around 1-2 weeks.
Enrolling in a School in Malta
To enrol in a school in Malta, students need to provide a number of documents, including a birth certificate, a passport or identity card, and proof of residency. Non-EU citizens will also need to provide proof of their legal status in Malta. The enrolment process can be competitive, particularly for popular schools, and it is important to apply early to avoid disappointment.
International Schools in Malta
There are a number of international schools in Malta that cater to expatriate families or those who want their children to receive an education in English. These schools typically follow a different curriculum to Maltese schools and offer qualifications that are recognized internationally.
Some of the international schools in Malta include:
- Verdala International School – https://www.verdala.org/
- St. Catherine’s High School – https://www.stcatherines.eu/
- San Anton School – https://www.sananton.edu.mt/
- QSI International School of Malta – https://www.qsi.org/malta/mal/
These schools offer a range of programmes, including the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge International Examinations.
Higher Education in Malta
Malta has a number of higher education institutions, including universities, colleges, and vocational training centres. The main university in Malta is the University of Malta, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in a range of subjects, including arts, humanities, sciences, and engineering. The university is well-regarded internationally and has partnerships with a number of other universities around the world.
In addition to the University of Malta, there are a number of private colleges and vocational training centres that offer courses in a range of subjects, including business, tourism, and healthcare. These institutions are generally smaller than the university and tend to offer more specialized programmes.
Overall, the education system in Malta is well-developed and provides students with a high standard of education. Students have access to a wide range of schools, including state schools, private schools, and church-run schools, and there are a number of international schools for those who want to receive an education in English. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of students and society, and students can obtain a range of qualifications that are recognized both nationally and internationally. For those who want to continue their education, there are a number of options available, including universities, colleges, and vocational training centres.