Administration and governance at central and/or regional level
The main objective of Maltese education policy is to offer all citizens equal opportunities to quality and equitable education. The Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) is the highest authority and is responsible for all publicly funded education in Malta. In view of Malta’s size, there is no regional level of government and therefore no regional funding takes place in the Maltese educational system. However public schools receive funds that are administered at the school level.
The Ministry is responsible for preparing educational legislation, driving policy development and requesting and managing funds from the state budget. In addition to educational legislation, policy direction is specified in various development documents and in the state budget. The current portfolio of the Ministry for Education and Employment includes education, employment, youth and sport, libraries and the national archives, and non-governmental and voluntary organisations.
The administrative functions of the Ministry are headed by the Permanent Secretary. Four Directors General (DGs) assist the Permanent Secretary in administration duties by leading different departments namely the Department of Educational Services (DES), the Department of Curriculum, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DCLE), the Department for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) and the Strategy and Support Department.
The DES manages the provision of teaching and administrative staff in schools and colleges, together with the provision and management of student services and the overseeing of schools’ internal reviews. The DCLE is responsible for school curricula, assessments and international studies, digital literacy and transversal skills and lifelong learning and research. On the other hand, the DQSE is responsible for setting and monitoring standards and ensuring the quality of teaching and learning in both state and non-state schools and the accreditation of educational institutions and programmes. Finally, the Strategy and Support Department is responsible for the infrastructure and resources of schools and colleges, human resources management, financial planning, management, procurement and office management and international relations.
State College Networks have been set up since September 2005. Currently there are eleven State College Networks, ten of which are made up of a number of primary and secondary schools. On the other hand, the eleventh College Network is responsible for educational institutions falling within the remit of the Education Directorates having students beyond compulsory school age. Each network has the same managerial structure with each school within the network having its own Head of School and staff. Each college network is led by a Head of College Network who facilitates the whole network and who chairs a Council of Heads (COH) of schools making up the network.
Each public school has a school council made up of parents, students (when they are 16 years of age or older) and teachers who work together to improve the school environment and to make school a better place where students can be educated in a holistic manner. Members sitting on school councils are selected by regular School Council elections held every two years. The role of school councils is a consultative one to the school’s senior management team.
Other entities, namely the Information Management Unit, the Examinations Department, the Students’ Maintenance Grants Board and the Scholarships and National Skills Council Unit fall under the direct responsibility of the Permanent Secretary.
The Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Innovation offers adult learning classes in several areas of knowledge. Indeed, the Directorate offers a wide range of courses throughout the academic year in different evening centres, local councils and NGOs. These courses range from academic subjects to information technology, literacy, numeracy, crafts, leisure and creative arts amongst others. Furthermore, the Directorate also houses the Eurydice National Unit.
The Directorate for International Affairs, Strategy & Programme Implementation is entrusted with the task of coordinating and drafting the Ministry’s positions in EU and other international fora, as well contributing to the drawing up of the Ministry’s policies. Furthermore, the Directorate coordinates the Ministry’s actions and responses in relation to EU-related documentation, such as proposals, communications, reports, questionnaires, and general correspondence together with the coordinating of the participation of Ministry officials in meetings abroad. Its Programme Implementation unit co-ordinates policies promoted by the different entities falling within the remit of the Ministry for Education and Employment and plans and budgets for the necessary resources to implement such policies.
Another entity falling under the direct responsibility of the Permanent Secretary is the In 2001, the Foundation for Educational Services (FES). Indeed the Foundation aims to develop and manage innovative prevention and early intervention services and programmes that ensure the provision of quality education for all students at risk of school failure and social exclusion; develop and manage educational programmes for parents that enable them to meet the challenge of nurturing and supporting their children’s development; contribute to the meeting of non-formal lifelong learning needs of citizens; develop schools as community learning centres and promote and disseminate educational research and publications on good practice approaches. FES has developed four core educational support programmes focusing on the fields of literacy and family literacy namely the NWAR Programme, the Hilti Programme, the Parents-in-Education Programme (Id f’Id) and the Assist Programme. Currently FES manages SmartKids childcare centres, Klabb 3-16 centres, SkolaSajf and the Youth.Inc Programme.
In May 2001 the Government of Malta constituted the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS) as an institution that collaborates with the Education authorities to develop and manage innovative systems for the construction, refurbishment, and maintenance of schools and other educational institutions. Indeed, FTS was set up with the main objective of transforming primary and secondary schools into “Tomorrow’s Schools” in line with the guiding principles of the National Curriculum requirements. The primary objective of the FTS is to offer an alternative, more efficient and cost-effective approach to undertaking and financing the on-going development, upgrading and refurbishment of state schools and converting them from ‘Today's Schools' into ‘Tomorrow's Schools'.
Other expert government bodies within MEDE include the following entities:
SportMalta, The National Council of the Maltese Language and the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE).