Education system in Malta

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Main Page - Education systems by country - Malta


Malta is placed strategically in the middle of the Mediterranean. As a result of this it has a long history of being governed by foreign powers. One can understand that education in Malta has been influenced by several systems. The result of this is that present in Malta are three types of schools; the private schools, the church schools and the state schools. Otherwise, the system is very similar to that in the UK as it is also divided into a number of phases. Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. Following that there is a choice of a vocational education system or a sixth form after which one can attend the University of Malta. Further details on each section may be found on Maltese goverbment website; State funded schools are required to follow the national minimum curriculum ( and administer national tests/exams (except in exceptional circumstances), run by MATSEC, the University of Malta. The Department of Education ensures that they are providing a high quality education and value for money. Below is a chart taken from the Department of Education’s website showing an overview of the state system;

Diagram showing structure of Maltese formal education system

Image from
© Ministry of Education, Malta 2001-2004

Stages in the Educational System

Age in years Phase
0 to 2 Childcare is provided in some sectors, but if parents are both working it tends to be a family member, such as a grandparent who helps out during this phase.
3 to 5 Early childhood Education Daycare centres and nurseries.
6 to 7 First cycle Primary school education in state schools is co-educational. There is one Independent boys school whilst the other Independent schools are co-educational. This is not the case in church schools; they are all single sex schools.
8 to 11 Second cycle During this phase the school system starts preparing for the entrance exams. This is know as the Junior Lyceum exam.
12 to 16 Secondary School Here the students prepare for their O levels (local Matsec GCSEs). When they are 13 years old they choose the main subjects which they will be studying. Supplementing these subjects are English, Maltese, Maths and Religion.
17 to 18
  • Sixth Form. Here students can either attend the Government system, the University Junior College or a Private sixth form
  • Or Vocational College. Website:
  • Or The institute of Tourism. Website:
19 to 25 University The majority of students usually attend the University of Malta ( or they have studies in progress either at Mcast (the Vocational College) or ITS (the Institute of Tourism)
26 to 64 Traineeship The Department for Further Studies and Adult Education is responsible for the provision of adult education under the Ministry of Education. The Adult Education and Evening Course Section within this department provides various services including vocational, academic, craft and leisure subjects as well as courses in drama, music and art. Courses are also held at ETC, which is the employment agency ( or one can attend University as a mature student.
65+ Here one can attend the University of the Third age. Courses tend to be orientated towards providing knowledge for its own sake and not for attaining a degree. More information may be found at

Educational alternatives

In Malta parents have the moral and legal responsibility to ensure that their children between the ages of 5 and 16 attend school. Home schooling is not practised in Malta, the education act states that parents should register their children in a school at the age of 5, further details on the act are found at Students follow the National Curriculum and have to sit for their “O” levels at the age of 16, it is extremely competetive and they have to attain a minimum of 6 “O” levels at good grades to attend the University Junior College sixth form, details on the courses they offer are at There are schools for low acheivers, however these students do not usually progress to further education. Following that they have to sit for 2 A levels, 2 intermediate A levels and a system of knowledge exam to enter University or to follow a degree course at the Institute of Tourism. Information on the faculties at the University of Malta may be found at .


J.Zammit Mangion (1992) Education in Malta, Masprint.


The Government Depart of Education in Malta
The official governments site which provides information on all the educational institutions, including the private schools and related issues in Malta. (Visited 3-July-05)

The Department of Curriculum Management
This site gives links to all the departments related to the curriculum, texts and exams in Malta. (Visited 3-July-05)

The University of Malta
Here one can find an overview of the educational system post 16 year olds. (Visited 3-July-05)