The Education System

The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation is responsible for the provision of education in Malta. The Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) is specifically responsible to regulate, evaluate, and report on the various sections of the compulsory education system, with the aim of assuring quality education for all.

The education policy in Malta is characterised by two main premises; equity and quality. This commitment is evident by an inclusive policy at all levels of education and the provision of free education to all from kindergarten to tertiary education. Education in Malta is offered through three different providers: the state, the church, and the private sector, the latter type of school being perceived to be generally English medium schools.

Compulsory Education in Malta

Education in Malta is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16 years. Kindergarten caters for the age group from 3 to 4 years, primary schooling from 5 to 11 years and secondary schooling spans from ages 12 to 16. 

As highlighted in the National Curriculum Framework (2012), throughout the whole educational cycle the government is committed to a policy of inclusive education, where children with special needs are integrated into the mainstream. In Malta, all children between ages 4 and 16 years old have the right to free education in all state schools.

Early years

Prior to compulsory schooling, childcare services are offered to children aged between 3 months and 3 years. Activities for children are focused on all the areas of child development including social, emotional, physical, intellectual, communication and creativity.

The daily programme provided includes a wide variety of play activities that stimulate learning in a modern, safe and fully equipped environment.

In Kindergarten, no formal teaching takes place. Educational activity is aimed at developing the children's social attitudes, language and communication skills in preparation for primary education. Although not compulsory, around 98% of 4 year olds attend kindergarten classes.

Primary school

At 5 years old the child starts Primary School which lasts for 6 years, until they are 10 years old. Attendance at Primary School is compulsory for all children.

Primary education is co‐educational in State and Independent Schools and covers the ages 10‐11. Secondary education is available to all students who successfully complete primary education. As from 2013, State Secondary schools have become coeducational.

Secondary school

After primary school, students move on to two years (Years 7 and 8) in a middle school, at the end of which the learner then passes on to secondary school (Years 9, 10 and 11). At the end of Year 8, students are asked to choose two (2) optional subjects in which they wish to specialise in the senior school. There are various optional subjects which are offered amongst which are found: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Chemistry, Design and Technology, Engineering Technology, European Studies, Geography, Graphical Communications, Health and Social Care, History,  Home Economics, PE, Textile Studies,  and a foreign language.

In some senior schools, Ethics is also offered to those students who did not follow Religion lessons at Year 7 and Year 8.

In Years 9 - 11, besides two (2) of the above chosen optional subjects, students are taught a number of subjects, as follows: Maltese, English, English Literature, Maths, Religious Education, Social Studies, History, Geography, Physical Education, Physics, ICT, Personal and Social Development and a foreign language which would have been chosen at Year 7.

Vocational subjects have also been introduced in secondary schools. These subjects are directly related to the work place. Students will be assessed on the theory and even on the practical skills that they would have learnt during the course. The vocational subjects offered by SEC in Malta are: Agribusiness, Health & Social Care, Engineering Technology, Hospitality and Information Technology.  

Currently, not all subjects are offered in all schools. Each subject is divided into three units, unit one is covered in Year 9, unit two in Year 10 and unit three and Year 11. Vocational subjects are continuously assessed by means of two assignments and a controlled assessment for each unit.

The assignments are prepared by the respective educators and can be done as homework while the controlled assessment is prepared by members of SEC and has to be carried out at school under examination conditions.

At the end of Year 11, students obtain their Secondary School Certificate and Profile. This is a document showing what they have covered during compulsory education. Students finishing their Secondary Education cycle may qualify to receive a Certificate at Level 1 or Level 2 of the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF) and of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning. This will further emphasise the profiling aspect of the SSC&P thereby giving a clearer picture of what the student has accomplished and participated in during the secondary cycle.

For students to acquire Level 1 or Level 2 in the SSC&P they must satisfy the following:

1. Percentage attendance for EACH scholastic year (since Year 7) will be included in the certificate.
2. It is recommended that they have Five (5) non-formal activities spread over any three separate years. These activities will give a clear picture of the student and so will be beneficial during an interview for work.
3. A pass in the year 11 examinations in: Mathematics, English, Maltese and the best of a Science Subject.

Throughout the three years at senior school educators ensure that all students are empowered to reach their full potential. Furthermore, the main academic aim for all the students is the SEC exams, as they would then need to proceed to Post-Secondary education.


Primary and Secondary State Schools in Malta are grouped into colleges. There are eleven Colleges in all. Each College is made up of a number of primary schools and corresponding middle and secondary schools. 

Your town of residence will be the principal criterion for the choice of school for your child. All state primary and secondary schools host mixed gender students. 

Gharghur, Mosta, Mellieha, Naxxar, San Pawl il-Bahar

Attard, Bahrija, Dingli, Mgarr, Mtarfa, Rabat, Mdina

Gzira, Pembroke, Swieqi, San Giljan, San Gwann, Sliema

Birkirkara, Balzan, Iklin, Lija, Msida, Santa Venera

Luqa, Qormi, Siggiewi, Haz-Zebbug

Floriana, Hamrun, Marsa, Paola, Pieta', Valletta

Birgu, Bormla, Klakara, Senglea, Xghajra, Zabbar

Fgura, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Santa Lucija, Tarxien, Zejtun

Birzebbuga, Ghaxaq, Gudja, Kirkop. Mqabba, Qrendi, Safi, Zurrieq

High School / Post-Secondary Education

As learners turn 16 years old, they can opt to go to Sixth Form which lasts for two years until they are 18 years of age. Which school they go to depends on how well they did in their O-level/SEC exams and there are three schools to choose from, MCAST, Junior College and Higher Secondary School. At High School the students study different topics and are prepared to sit for their A-levels/Matsec exams which results are needed to get into University. Add info about GEM 16+.

School Syllabi and curricula are available online at: .

Textbooks and teaching resources used can be either in Maltese or in English. Textbooks are loaned free of charge to the child in compulsory schooling for the scholastic year.

One needs to buy the school uniform, school bag and school materials including stationery like pencils and copybooks. A list of school materials needed is drawn up by the school at the beginning of the scholastic year or given upon registration. There is normally a small charge for educational outings.

Schools implement a healthy eating policy. Children are to bring a packed lunch and water to school to be consumed during break time. Children are not allowed to bring foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt content.

No child is exempt from learning Maltese and English in state schools irrespective of the length of stay in Malta. 

18+ Graduate University, MCAST
17 -18 Post-Secondary Higher Secondary, Junior College, MCAST, ITS, GEM 16+
14 - 16
12 - 13
Secondary Schooling Secondary: Years 9 - 11 Middle: Years 7 & 8
8 -11 Primary Years Primary: Years 3 - 6
5 - 7
3 - 4
0 - 3
Early Years Years 1 & 2 Kindergarten 1 & 2 Childcare

Induction Programme

The MLU was set up in 2014. It caters for the needs of migrant learners especially those who do not understand English and Maltese, and who are finding language learning an issue in terms of integrating in Malta. In fact, lack of basic communication skills in Maltese and English may be one of the factors that can delay the integration process of a child.  Thus, the idea of having a specialised Unit to support the newcomer learners and to take a more holistic approach towards the well-being of all learners was conceived. The main aim of the MLU is to offer newcomer learners the right to grow up in a nurturing environment, surrounded by individuals who make the wellbeing of the child their priority.  The real inclusion of every child which addresses individual needs, ultimately creates a safe place where the children can flourish and reach their full potential: in school and within the community. After following the induction course, the learners hopefully achieve not only basic linguistic fluency but also the skills to transition smoothly into mainstream schooling.

The one year induction programme focuses on the learning of Maltese and English which are the languages of schooling in Malta. Other academic subjects are taught adopting a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach. This programme focuses on each learner’s well-being offering a holistic educational experience while concentrating on the acquisition of linguistic and sociocultural competences. The programme is offered in various schools in Malta and Gozo.  Secondary school aged learners follow the induction programme at the Naxxar Induction Hub.  Learners are assessed regularly throughout the year and at the end of the induction period, a decision will be taken by educational staff concerning the transition of the learner into mainstream education.

Other Services


Free Childcare is provided by the Government to parents/guardians who work or are pursuing their education. This service is provided either through Government services or alternatively through registered Childcare Centres.


The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR) has opened a One Stop Shop for education related services in Floriana - Edu Edu will bring together over fifty education related services which used to be offered by MEYR various Departments and Entities. 


The morning Breakfast Club service is open for primary school students whose parents are in employment. The Service operates on a daily basis from 07:00 till admission during school days.


The Government, through the The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR) currently provides Free Transportation to students in compulsory schooling and kindergarten, attending State, Church and Independent Schools.

KLABB 3-16

An after-school care service – Klabb 3-16 – is provided for school aged children whose parents work. This service is available to children between the ages of 3 to 16, who attended State, Church or Independent Schools.


SportMalta promotes and creates various sporting opportunities aimed at facilitating access, inclusivity and integration as well as broader developmental capabilities in communities.


The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School offers young Secondary School students another choice in their educational journey. It falls under the administration of St Thomas More College, but is still to be considered as a national school, much like the National Sports School. It will offer five art forms as the primary focus of study: art, dance, drama, media, music, and will have a yearly intake of 48 students, from across all the national territory, which will be chosen through referrals and auditions.


Educational Services Department

Curriculum, Lifelong Learning and Employability Department

Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department