The education system in Malta is based on the British model and parents can opt to send their children to state, religious or private schools. School attendance is compulsory for children aged 5-16 years. At the age of 16, students have the option to either progress into employment or continue to higher education. The academic year lasts from October to July. Summer break begins on the 15th of July and ends on the 30th September.
The education system is divided into three stages: primary, secondary and tertiary. The child enters kindergarten at the age of 3 and then goes to primary school (age 5-11), before integrating into secondary school (age 11-16). Classes are taught in both English and Maltese.
Secondary school options
There are three secondary options available: junior lyceums, secondary schools and religious/private schools. Some junior lyceums and religious schools require the students to complete an entrance exam as part of the application process. All secondary school studies last for a minimum of five years, which are divided into a two and three year system.
In Junior Lyceums, the first two years are the 'orientation cycle' and the last three years are the 'specialisation cycle'. In secondary schools, this system is reversed. The orientation cycle involves getting familiarised with the subjects. By the end of the two/three years, you will have an idea of your favourite subjects and can then specialise in these during the next few years. At the end of these five years, pupils must sit an exam called the Secondary Education Certificate. From this they can proceed into their final year (higher secondary education) and will prepare for the Matriculation Certificate which then allows them to continue to university.
University in Malta
The University of Malta is the only university on the island and is recognised by other major foreign universities. The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is another institution which provides vocational education on the island.
The education system in Malta is well organised and has a very high success rate. 54% of pupils from Maltese secondary schools go on to higher education and the remaining go into full-time employment.
The Education Act of 1998 governs all educational legislation. This includes a National Minimum Curriculum for all schools and National Minimum conditions for hygiene, safety, classroom dimensions and amenities.