Education in Malta

Updated 2023-01-22 11:13

The schooling system in Malta reflects the former British governance of the country. Parents may choose from state or private schools, with private schools including both church and independent schools.

The schooling system in Malta

School is compulsory through age 16 and is split into four stages: pre-primary (ages 3 to 5), primary (ages 5 to 11), secondary (ages 11 to 18), and tertiary. Primary and secondary school is mandatory.

Following completion of secondary education, students are free to choose to continue their education at a post-secondary and eventually tertiary level, or they may opt to join Malta's workforce.

Malta's government is committed to furthering education levels, offering several incentives to subsidize the cost of continuing education. The aim is to consistently maintain the country's socioeconomic development across a huge range of sectors.

Catholic schools in Malta are subsidized by the government and charge no fees. There are also some local private schools that operate as parents' foundations.

Primary school in Malta

Almost every locality in Malta features at least one primary school and most localities also feature secondary schools. Kindergarten facilities are also available for all children aged between three and five. They are free of charge for parents who are in employment and/or in education.

Malta's local primary schools educate children between the ages of 5 and 11 (Years 1 to 6).

Malta being a Catholic country, religion is taught in classes. However, this is not a compulsory subject for foreign pupils. Their parents can decide to opt-out.

National examinations are taken at age 11, after which pupils continue to secondary school.

Secondary school in Malta

After two years of lower secondary education (Form 1 and Form 2), pupils can select some of the subjects they want to study for the last three years of their compulsory education (Forms 3 to 5).

At the end of their fifth year of secondary school (Form 5), pupils take the Maltese equivalent of the British GSCEs, which is called the Secondary School Certificate and Profiling (SSC&P). That might allow them to enter the sixth form or college for two years to take intermediate and advanced-level examinations in preparation for University. At this stage, the students who wish to take vocational or technical courses and training register at vocational training institutes or colleges such as MCAST.

Secondary education includes several mandatory subjects, including mathematics, English, Maltese (for Maltese nationals), at least one science subject and one foreign language, and physical and health education.

Several elective subjects are also available, including various foreign languages; and subjects across both the humanities and sciences.

Private schools in Malta

The benefit of private schooling in Malta is that your child will receive more individual attention to satisfy their specific needs. These schools tend to have more resources available than either state-owned or church schools.

Additionally, private schools tend to emphasize teaching in English, whereas state schools tend to teach in Maltese. All schools will teach both Maltese and English classes, as students are expected to be bilingual.

Expat children living in Malta can be educated in one of the private international schools or enrolled in the local state, church, or independent schools.

Some local schools that are popular with expat families include De La Salle College in Birgu, St Aloysius' College in Birkirkara; both schools are only for boys, and the Sacred Heart School in St. Julian's is a girl school.

International schools in Malta

Malta has several international schools parents can explore when moving to Malta.

St Edward's College is a Catholic boys' school that follows the British curriculum and prepares students for IGCSEs (international examinations) or MATSEC (national examinations) at age 16. There are girls' programs for pre-primary as well as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The Verdala International School is for boys and girls and offers an American-style education, preparing students for the international baccalaureate or IGCSEs. In addition, the Verdala School offers boarding facilities.

Quality Schools International is an international chain with a school centrally located in Malta at Mosta.

Private school tuition fees in Malta are quite reasonable by international standards.

There are also almost 60 English-language schools in Malta, with summer being a very popular time for students to come to the Mediterranean islands to learn.

Good to know:

The IGCSE is equivalent in standard to the British GCSE and International GCE ‘O' level examinations.

The University of Malta

The University of Malta offers accredited certificates, diplomas, and degrees at Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate levels in a wide range of subjects.

Students wishing to enroll into university after secondary school need to pass the MATSEC (Matriculation and Secondary Education Certificate) Examinations, the International Baccalaureate or the European Baccalaureate. Overseas qualifications of an equivalent level are accepted by the University of Malta, for example, the GCE Advanced Level Grades.

The University's Mediterranean Studies program is highly popular with visiting students from other countries.

Some international students come to study in Malta thanks to the Erasmus programme.

To know more about higher education in Malta, see our article “Study in Malta”.

Useful links:

Malta Government

Ministry of Education

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