The Education System

The Ministry of Education and Employment 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.

The Government subsidises Church schools which do not charge tuition fees and gives tax rebates to parents sending their children to private 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 last 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 to 10‐11. Secondary education is available to all students who successfully complete primary education. As from 2013, State Secondary schools have become coeducational. Church Secondary schools are single sex schools.

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 on which they wish to specialise in the senior school. There are various optional subjects which are offered amongst which one may include the following: 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 was 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 learn 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 has to be 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.

Each unit will be assessed through 10 knowledge criteria which carry four marks each, five comprehension criteria having six marks each and three application criteria of 10 marks each to have a total of 100 marks.

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.

Colleges Map.jpg

High School / Post-Secondary Education

As students 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 exams and there are three schools to choose from, MCAST, Junior College and Higher Secondary School which is for the students who did less well in their O-levels. At High School the students study different topics and are being prepared to sit for their A-levels which is needed to get into University.

​Age ​Level
​18+ ​Graduate ​University, MCAST
​17 - 18 ​Post-Secondary ​Higher Secondary, Junior College, MCAST,
ITS, GEM 16+
​14 - 16
12 - 13
​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

School Syllabi and curricula are available online at: https://goo.gl/KwZcU9


Textbooks and teaching resources used can be either in Maltese or in English. Textbooks are loaned free of charge to the student 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 student is exempt from learning Maltese and English in state schools irrespective of the length of stay in Malta.  

Induction Programme

If a newcomer learner cannot communicate in Maltese or/in English, s/he will be admitted to an Induction Course which usually lasts one scholastic year.

The Induction Course helps the learner to gain confidence and to communicate in both English and Maltese.

The programme for the Induction Course is based on a basic primary school curriculum and includes Mathematics, Art, Crafts and of course Maltese and English. The only difference is that all subjects are taught with the aim of learning languages.

Learners are assessed regularly throughout the year. At the end of the induction period, a decision will be taken by educational staff regarding 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.

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.

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.

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

More information about these services can be accessed at: 

Klabb 3-16: https://goo.gl/7JM7sH 

Breakfast Club: https://goo.gl/X3F7Ay 

SportMalta: https://www.sportmalta.org.mt​ 

SDG Tools Guidelines for MT SP 161120.docxSDG Tools Guidelines for MT SP 161120.docx

Last updated on 11/11/2020