The main objective of Maltese education policy is to offer all citizens equal opportunities to quality and equitable education. The Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR) 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 for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR)
Chapter 605 of the Laws of Malta, the Education Act, gives the state the right (a) to implement the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta; (b) to implement the National Curriculum Framework of studies for all schools at pre-compulsory and compulsory education level; (c) to establish the national minimum conditions for all schools and ensure adherence by licence holders to such conditions; (d) to secure compliance with the National Curriculum Framework of studies; and (e) to ensure the provision of quality inclusive and equitable education by all providers in the education sector while recognising the right of non-state schools to have their own character, identity, ethos, and autonomy.
These responsibilities are vested upon the Ministry for Education, Sports, Youth, Research and Innovation. 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. Government consults with stakeholders in the formulation of educational policies, often through working groups. Stakeholders include the relevant trade unions, representatives for both state and non-state schools and the general public through online public consultation.
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, the Department of Curriculum, Lifelong Learning and Employability, the Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department and the People Management Department.
Department of Educational Services
The Department of Educational Services is responsible for compulsory school provision through the management of student services and the overseeing of schools’ internal reviews. The Department of Educational Services includes the College Networks, National School Support Services, Transport services and Migrants Learners Unit.
The National Schools Support Services Support offer services specific for children from families with socio-economic disadvantages including the provision of guidance and counselling services by qualified school personnel as well as support from other Education Psycho-Social practitioners.
The Migrant Learners’ Unit seeks to promote the inclusion of newly arrived migrant learners into the education system. It offers support measures which are aimed at eliminating or reducing the educational disadvantage that such students experience due to linguistic, social and cultural barriers.
Department of Curriculum, Lifelong Learning and Employability
The Department of Curriculum, Lifelong Learning and Employability is responsible for school curricula, assessments and international studies, digital literacy and transversal skills and lifelong learning and research. The curriculum is developed by three Directorates: the Directorate for Digital Literacy and Transversal Skills, the Directorate for Learning and Assessment and Programmes (Early Years, Languages and Humanities Programmes) and the Directorate for Learning and Assessment and Programmes (STEM and VET Programmes).
The Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability is responsible for monitoring and promoting prevention, intervention and compensation measures for preventing early leaving from education and training. One such compensation measures is the provision of adult education, of which the same Directorate is one of the main public providers, delivering academic and vocational classes in the morning and evenings in adult learning centres, local councils and NGOs. The Directorate also houses the Eurydice National Unit.
Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department
The Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department incorporates the Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, the International Relations and Programme Implementation Directorate and School Internal Review and Audits Unit.
The Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) regulates and licenses educational institutions and programmes delivered to children up to 16 years of age, provided by state and non-state. The DQSE has two sections
(a) The Education Review Section (ERS) which focuses on process quality which is linked to process of learning and teaching and evaluates educational practices within the educational institution;
(b) The Regulation and Compliance Section (RCS) deals with structure quality, focusing on regulation and compliance and how the educational institution is designed and organized.
The International Relations and Programme Implementation Directorate reviews and drafts documents concerning international affairs and the European Semester; and coordinates and monitors EU structural funds.
The Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PMED) monitors and evaluates policies and strategies falling within the remit of MEYR. PMED is responsible for ensuring that policies and strategies maintain their strategic vision and achieve of the intended outputs in a cost-effective and timely manner.
The School Internal Review and Audit Unit (SIRAU) assists colleges and schools in identifying the research tools for self-evaluation, in prioritising the areas for improvement, in formulating action plans, and in analysing and evaluating data, as deemed necessary, to enhance students’ performance in the Early, Junior, Middle and Secondary Cycles of education.
People Management Department
The People Management Department incorporates the facets of human resources, education resources, scholarships, and logistics. The role of this Department includes the close monitoring to ensure that as Ministry as continuous people-centred approach is maintained for everyone to reach their potential.
Council for Teaching Profession
The Council for the Teaching Profession promotes high standards of professional competence, conduct and commitment to teaching and learning through regulatory and advisory functions. The Council is responsible for:
• keeping under review and assessing education and training standards and on the fitness to each of each person who chooses to practise the teaching profession;
• managing and granting warrants to practise the teaching profession and to make recommendations to the Minister on the award or refusal thereof;
• investigating allegation of professional misconduct, gross negligence, or incompetence by a teacher;
• examining applications for a Qualification Allowance with regards to state school teachers.
National Literacy Agency (NLA)
The National Literacy Agency (NLA) of the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation was established in mid-2014, by virtue of Legal Notice 192/2014, to promote and ensure the delivery of the different aspects of the National Literacy Strategy for All in Malta and Gozo. The NLA is a main driver in the field of literacy, seeking to promote and enhance lifelong and life wide, high quality literacy practices among children, youth, adults. Through its various mainstream and specialised reading and writing programmes, which target individuals, families, and educators, the NLA strives also to improve literacy outcomes, resulting in inclusive practices, higher educational qualifications, and better job prospects. NLA programmes delivered in compulsory schools as part of the National Curriculum Framework are assessed by DQSE during external review visits.
English Language Teaching Council (ELTC)
The ELT Council was established in 2015 with the mission to foster the ELT Profession and Industry in all its various aspects. It has the function to issue, suspend and withdraw licences and set and enforce conditions to monitor compliance by ELT Schools, Home Tuition Providers, Distance Learning Providers and English Language Teachers. ELTC carries out quality assurance procedures, establish and maintain rules, regulations and mechanisms for quality assurance on all aspects of ELT stays and on Distance Learning and to ensure the respective adherence. It also develops and maintains curricula, assessments and examinations for the professional training and qualification of persons eligible to become English language teachers and non-academic support staff.
Foundation for Educational Services (FES)
FES is a public entity within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation. It works concurrently with the Education Directorates to provide a range of innovative educational initiatives to meet the needs of the community. The FES is committed to ensuring that all service users are supported through informal educational initiatives. It strives to offer quality educational services through structured contemporary programmes, financial sustainability and ethical behaviour. Currently FES manages 13 childcare centres, Klabb 3-16 centres that is an after-school programme, and SkolaSajf (Summer School). FES childcare and summer club services are regulated by the DQSE.
Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS)
The Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools was set up by the Government of Malta in May 2001, to develop, build, upgrade, refurbish, maintain, and manage state-owned schools as required from time to time by the Education authorities, and in so doing, to convert them from ‘today’s schools’ into ‘tomorrow’s schools. In recent years FTS has been handling projects which go beyond the mere building of schools. Investment has been made on interactive white boards, CCTV cameras, photovoltaic panels, science and vocational education laboratories, ICT equipment and on major sports facilities intended to serve not only students but whole communities.
The FTS is directed by a Board, presided by a Chairperson. The Chairperson and Board Members are appointed for a definite term by the Minister responsible for education.
Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA)
The Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) is the regulator for further and higher education in Malta. MFHEA is responsible for providing accreditation to further and higher educational institutions; providing accreditation to programmes or courses of studies at further and higher education levels; quality assurance of both educational institutions and programmes or courses; recognition of obtained national or international qualifications as well as prospective qualifications; validation of informal and non-formal learning and research and policy recommendation on issues related to further and higher education.
The MFHEA maintains and implements the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF) and is the European Communications Framework (EQF) National Coordination Point for Malta. The authority also hosts the Maltese ENIC-NARIC centre - the Qualifications and Recognition Information Centre (QRIC) which is responsible for providing the referencing and equivalence of foreign qualifications.
MFHEA is also responsible for the establishment of Sector Skills Units (SSU), each representing a specific sector and include representatives from the economic sector, education and training, government and social partners within the specific sector. The SSU develops and reviews National Occupational Standards (NOSs) which specify what an individual, in a specific occupation, at a particular MQF level, must know and be able to do.
Kindly refer to article 11.2 for further details on quality assurance in higher education.
Ministry for Finance and Employment
The Ministry for Finance and Employment sets the budget of all ministries, including that for Education. It includes the national employment agency Jobsplus, which offers a range of courses, in line with its active labour market policies, and manages the Free Childcare Scheme.
Ministry for Tourism
The Ministry for Tourism establishes and executes the tourism policy. It incorporates the Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS), which offers post-secondary and tertiary programmes of study ranging from Foundation Programme (MQF Level 2) to Masters Degree Programmes (MQF Level 7) level. ITS’ programmes are based both on theoretical knowledge and extensive hands-on experience throughout the ITS training restaurants, kitchens, and hospitality laboratories.
Institute for Education
The Institute for Education was originally setup as an Institute in April 2015. The Institute was reconstituted as an agency in 2017. It provides initial teacher training and professional development. It aims to develop accredited programmes which are flexible. Courses are offered on a part-time basis and cover MQF levels 4-8.
The Institute is licenced by the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) as a Higher Education Institution.