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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of general upper secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.4Organisation of general upper secondary education

Last update: 21 June 2022

Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Admission requirements and choice of school

One of the main objectives of general upper education is to prepare students for tertiary education. The institutions providing general upper secondary education are:

The two further education institutions, apart from offering the courses leading to the Matriculation Certificate (MC) at Advanced and Intermediate level, also provide revision courses at Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) level thus providing a second opportunity for those students who want to improve their qualifications in order to continue with further studies or increase their employment prospects. These two educational institutions fall under the responsibility of the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) and the Directorate for Educational Services (DES). Students who have completed their secondary education are eligible to enrol with provisions being made for non-Maltese candidates. Foreign students who join any of the courses are allowed to take their own language or another subject.

The Junior College, which was established in 1995 under the responsibility of the University of Malta (UOM), offers a two-year course specifically designed for prospective University of Malta entrants. Students are prepared to sit for the Matriculation Certificate which conforms with the prevailing University Admission Requirements. However, the mission statement of the College addresses the importance of providing holistic education to all students by preparing them to develop skills, attitudes and attributes required for tertiary level studies.

Studies at Junior College conform to the prevailing University Admission Requirements with students studying two subjects at Advanced Level, three at Intermediate Level and Systems of Knowledge (also at Intermediate Level). The University of Malta entry requirements vary depending on the course of studies being followed.

Students in the various educational institutions, whether academic and/or vocational, are not streamed according to their ability and attainment but rather on the course and/or subjects chosen. Within the academic stream, any number of subject combinations could exist for one course. When selecting the subjects, students consider the specific course requirements for admission to tertiary education. Subjects are usually taught by different specialized teachers and a class may have more than one teacher for the same subject.

Organisation of school time

School time at upper secondary level is determined by the type of course being followed within the requirements of the teachers’/tutors’ collective agreements.

The school time followed at the GEM 16+ school is based on the school time of regular secondary schools, with lessons starting at around 08:30 and finishing at 14:50 hrs. the students’ timetable is very flexible since students will be attending lessons for the subjects that they would not have achieved the required grades during secondary school.

The two higher secondary schools as well as the non-state sixth forms follow the same calendar as that for state secondary schools with the academic year being made up of three terms. The Junior College follows the University of Malta’s academic year. This consists of two semesters with the first extending from the first week of October till the end of January. The second semester runs from February up to the end of June. There is a two-week recess for Christmas and for Easter respectively. Examinations are held during the last week of January and the first week of February and throughout June. The summer recess runs from July to September.

The two Upper Secondary academic institutions run by the Education Directorates hold lessons between 08.15hrs and 15.00hrs from Monday to Friday. The Junior College, on the other hand, starts its day at 08.00hrs and lectures can continue till 17.00hrs. Each lecture lasts an hour thus having a timetable with nine one-hour sessions per day. However, students only attend the lectures of the subjects they would have chosen.

Geographical accessibility

At upper-secondary education level all the institutions are accessible through public transport. Public transport is available directly from most towns and villages to some of the institutions thus reducing students’ travel time. Gozitan students who follow courses in Malta make the trip between the islands by ferry with the ferry fare being subsidised by Government.