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Education system

Structure of Educational System
Pre-higher Education System
Higher Education System
Administrative structure of higher education
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition

School leaving and higher education credentials:
Secondary Education Certificate
Matriculation Certificate
Bachelor’s Degree
Postgraduate Diploma
Master’s Degree
Doctor’s Degree


Pre-higher education:
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 5
Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:
Type of school providing this education: Primary School
Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 5 to: 11

Lower Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Junior Lyceum/Secondary School
Length of program in years: 5
Age level from: 11 to: 16

Upper Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Higher Secondary School
Length of program in years: 2
Age level from: 16 to: 18

Vocational Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Colleges/Institutes
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 16 to: 20

School education:

Primary education lasts for six years. There are different types of secondary education schools: junior lyceums, area secondary schools, schools for very low achievers, church and independent (private) schools. Studies last for five years divided into a two-year orientation cycle and a three-year cycle of specialization in lyceum and three-year orientation and two-year specialization in area secondary schools. Admission to state junior lyceums and some church schools is through an entrance examination. At the end of this cycle, pupils sit for the Secondary Education Certificate. Higher secondary schools (sixth forms) prepare pupils for the Matriculation Certificate which gives access to university.

Higher education:

Higher education in Malta is regulated by the Education Act of 1998 and subsequent amendments. Tertiary education is mainly provided by the University of Malta. But higher education is in the process of becoming a binary system following the foundation of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) which is aiming at providing ISCED 5 courses.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:
Decree: Education Act Year: 1998
Concerns: All education levels

Academic year:
Classes from: Oct to: Jun
Long vacation from: 15 Jul to: 30 Sep
Languages of instruction: English, Maltese

Stages of studies:
Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is the foremost provider of vocational education in Malta. It incorporates nine institutes in the areas of Engineering, Business and Commerce, Maritime studies, Building and Construction, Community Services, Information and Communication Technology, Art and Design and Agribusiness. It currently (2006) offers Certificate, Diploma and Advanced diploma courses on a full-time basis or as part of an Apprenticeship Programme in collaboration with the Employment and Training Corporation. Candidates on an apprenticeship programme may sit for and obtain the Journeyman’s Certificate which give access to employment and higher levels of specialization. The Institute of Tourism Studies aims to provide vocational education and training in the field of Hospitality and Tourism.

University level studies:

  • University level first stageBachelor’s degree:
  • The Bachelor’s Degree is obtained in three to five years depending on the field of study.
  • University level second stageMaster’s degree/Postgraduate diploma:
  • The second stage leads to the award of a Master’s Degree or a Postgraduate diploma after a period of one or two years of study.
  • University level third stageDoctor’s degree:
  • The third stage leads, after at least three years of study following the award of a Master’s Degree, to the Doctor’s Degree. Candidates are required to submit a thesis after a period of research on an approved topic.

Teacher education:

  • Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
  • Primary and secondary school teachers are trained at the Faculty of Education of the University of Malta. After a four-year course, they obtain a Bachelor of Education Degree. Applicants are required to choose between primary or secondary education as their area of specialisation when registering for the course. The University of Malta also offers post-graduate courses for students who wish to become teachers after a first degree.
  • Training of secondary school teachers
  • Same as above.
  • Training of higher education teachers
  • Pre-university level teachers must hold Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in various fields of specialisation. Lecturers must hold a degree at Doctoral level. Assistant lecturers must be in possession of a Master’s Degree.

Non-traditional studies:

  • Lifelong higher education
  • The Department for Further Studies and Adult Education provides vocational, academic and leisure adult education. There are also a number of other organizations, some of them privately run, providing Adult Education, the most important of which is the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC), designed to provide training and retraining to persons already employed or registering for employment. The University’s Faculty of Education offers a Diploma course in Adult Training and Development.
  • Other forms of non-formal higher education
  • The Faculty of Education organizes evening courses which are of particular relevance to the teaching staff: it confers a Diploma in Educational Administration and Management, a Diploma in School Counselling and a Diploma in Facilitating Inclusive Education, as well as a Diploma in Social Studies (Occupational Guidance and Career Counselling). There is also a University of the Third Age.


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