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An In-depth Insight into Education System in Malta

Malta’s education system is regulated by the Ministry of Education and rated very highly internationally. School attendance is compulsory up to the age of 16.

This article highlights the different levels of education available in Malta, from the most junior to the most senior and from free to sponsored to paid options where relevant each section has links that provide even more granular information.

Foreign Children Studying in Malta

Children of foreigners that take-up residence in Malta are governed by the Education Act (Cap 327). These include children under the Malta Permanent Residency Program.

Click here for more information about the Malta Permanent Residency Program . 

Children who also eventually attain their Long-Term Residency are eligible to free schooling and other benefits like EU nationals.

For more information about the  EU Long-Term Residence Rights, click here .

Malta broadly follows the British Curriculum with students learning a wide range of subjects and having mid-year and end-of-year final examinations.

Malta's educational system is structured in four age brackets.

  1. Pre-primary (ages 3 - 5)

  2. Primary (ages 5 - 11)

  3. Secondary (ages 11 to 18)

  4. Tertiary education

Relocating? Choosing the Right School in Malta

While relocating to a new country is an exciting occurrence, it can also be a stressful experience for you and your family. 

The school you choose for your children will play an essential part in their settling down. We, therefore, recommend involving your children in the decision-making process. You and your children should research the different schools in Malta so that you can make the most suitable choice.

Learn more: Discover Malta

Languages in Malta

Given that Malta is bilingual, both English and Maltese are spoken in and outside the classroom. If English or Maltese is not one of your child’s primary languages, your child might need to undergo a Language Induction course.

Language induction courses

Further to a simple test, your child would be admitted to an induction course which usually lasts one academic year. 

Apart from preparing your child to feel confident and gain the ability to communicate in both English and Maltese, the programme includes Mathematics, Art and Crafts. The only difference is that all these subjects are taught to learn the two languages.

Types of Schools in Malta

Malta offers three categories of schooling, namely.

  • State Schools;

  • Church Schools; and

  • Independent Schools.

State Schools

State schools are found in most main towns or villages in Malta and Gozo.  

Cost of State Schools

For EU nationals and EU Long-Term Residents

  • Free tuition;
  • Free transport to and from school;
  • Free books and other school materials;
  • Parents are required to purchase their children’s school uniform.

Cost of State Schools

Church Schools

Church schools refer to those owned by the Catholic Church, and also do not charge school fees. However, parents are required to give an annual donation to help with school running expenses. 

Cost of Church Schools

  • Free Tuition (Donation required);

  • Free transport to and from school;

  • Parents are required to purchase their children's books and other school materials; 

  • Parents are required to purchase their children's school uniform.

Complete List of Church Schools

For more information about Church Schools in Malta, click here.

Independent & International Schools

There are also several high-level international and private schools.

Cost of Independent & International Schools

  • Tuition is against Payment;

  • Free transport to and from school is possible under a Government scheme;

  • Parents are required to purchase their children's books and other school materials;

  • Parents are required to purchase their children's school uniform.

Complete List of Independent Schools

Complete List of International Schools


Specialist Schools

Malta's inclusive education system aims to foster environments that are responsive to the differing developmental capacities of children with various abilities.

In order to enhance these needs, Malta has four special needs resource centres. These centres employ specialist teachers and include specific equipment and other resources to assist children with certain learning difficulties. 

The schools also help the integration of children of all ages with special needs into mainstream schooling.

University of Malta

While a number of new foreign universities are being set up in Malta, at present there is one major university namely the University of Malta. 

Centrally located in the country, the university is the highest teaching institution on the island for tertiary education.

For EU nationals and EU Long-Term Residents, education within the University of Malta is free. In order to further encourage students to study and not incur burdensome student loans, students receive a stipend together with an allowance for academic-related expenditure.

From the 11,000 students reading at the University, approximately 650 hail from 77 countries. Almost 3,000 students graduate annually.

The University also regularly hosts students from Erasmus and other exchanges. Similarly, many local students get to go on exchanges to other international Universities. 

The University offers a wide selection of 

  • Full-time degrees;

  • Part-time degrees;

  • Diplomas. 

Courses are primarily thought in the English language.

‘A’ level qualifications or equivalent are required in order to read for a first degree at University. The requirements for mature students, i.e. those over 25 years, are however different.

For more information about the University of Malta, click here.

University Residence

International students also have the option to stay at the Malta University Residence. This is located only 3 km away from the University Campus, and a regular free bus service connects the residence to the university. 

For more information about the University residence, click here.

Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

MCAST was set up in 2001 as vocational education and training institution and has continued to grow over the years. As a result, it is now made up of 10 institutes located around Malta and Gozo.

There are over 170 full-time and 300 part-time courses ranging from certificates to degrees. Subjects are varied including

  • Agribusiness;

  • Applied Science;

  • Art and Design;

  • Building and Construction;

  • Business and Commerce;

  • Community Service;

  • Electrical & Electronics Engineering; 

  • Information & Communication Technology;

  • Mechanical Engineering;

  • Maritime Studies.

In order to ensure that the students get hands-on experience and foster the necessary connections and exposure within their sector they wish to work in, the institute works closely with local industries.

For more information about MCAST, click here.

Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

The Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS)

The ITS has two locations, one in Malta and one in the sister island of Gozo. Given the historical importance of the hospitality industry in Malta, a dedicated institute was set up solely for this purposes. 

The institute caters for students older than 16 years of age, in various disciplines within the hospitality industry. 

Students can opt to study a wide range of subjects, including

  • Accommodation Operations;

  • Hospitality and Tourism Management;

  • Hotel Operations;

  • Tour Guiding;

  • Travel Agency Operations;

  • Travel and Tourism.

For more information about ITS, click here.

Adult Education (Lifelong Learning)

As part of the national Continuous Development Program, the Maltese Employment Training Corporation (ETC) holds various courses for adults.

Courses are available during daylight and evening hours. There is even a special Night Institute for Further Education that offers a number of vocational courses for adults at night.

The range of courses is highly specific and extremely varied, including basic literacy classes, languages, business writing, entrepreneurship skills, marketing, plumbing, sewing skills and professional gardening.

Since the ETC is also part of the government education service, even here most of the courses are free for EU nationals and Long-Term Residents.

For more information about Lifelong Learning, click here.