Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 25 March 2024
On this page
  1. Cross-sectorial cooperation
  2. Governance

Cross-sectorial cooperation

Cross-sectorial cooperation is fundamental in today’s society. It provides young people with the necessary knowledge and adequate tools to fully integrate into a continuously changing labour market and actively participate in society. 

Malta has integrated the following key initiatives to enable better cross-sectorial cooperation in education and training:

The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation has always worked with relevant stakeholders within and outside the Ministry to solidify a comprehensive framework for collecting data to extend pertinent policy making and implementation. The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation carries out continuous monitoring of strategies, policies, and programmes with particular emphasis on education provision for children and youth at risk while analysing their performance based on empirical evidence. 

The framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024 has four broad goals in line with European and world benchmarks: 

  1. Reduce the gaps in educational outcomes between boys and girls and between students attending different schools, decrease the number of low achievers and raise the bar in literacy, numeracy, and science and technology competence, and increase student achievement 
  2. Support educational achievement of children at-risk-of-poverty and from low socio-economic status, and reduce the relatively high incidence of early school-leavers 
  3. Increase participation in lifelong learning and adult learning 
  4. Raise levels of student retainment and attainment in further, vocational, and tertiary education and training.

All policy measures related to education and training are connected to the framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024.

Preventive measures being taken to make schooling more engaging and meaningful for students, pre-empting early disengagement and failure include: 

- The Free Childcare Scheme (April 2014) is an initiative whereby the Maltese Government provides free childcare services as an active labour market policy to parents/guardians who are employed or pursuing their education. The age group for this scheme is children from three months up to three years of age. Free Childcare is terminated once the child is eligible to enroll in Kindergarten 1 provided by the state. In subsequent budgets, the Free Childcare Scheme has now been made available to parents/legal guardians who work on a shift basis and atypical hours.

- The Migrant Learners’ Unit organises language programmes in English and Maltese for foreign students. These students were given special lessons in English and Maltese through a one-year pull-out programme. 

- The Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes embarks on a number of initiatives targeted at gifted and talented primary and secondary education students to enrich their educational experience and promote STEM subjects and careers among this cohort of students. 

- The new Malta Visual and Performing Arts School is well-equipped to enhance students’ high propensity toward visual and performing arts and further their artistic competence and ideas. 

- The National Sport School is a co-ed school for students with outstanding sports talent. Its ultimate aim is to guide these students along a dual career path, leading them to a successful career in sports and academic achievement. 

- Parents are key stakeholders in the strategy to reduce Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET). Their valuable contribution to education and towards decreasing Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET) can be seen through their involvement in the National Literacy Agency’s programmes.

- Continuous Professional Development is fundamental for educators to keep up-to-date with education's dynamic nature and implement educational change. The Institute for Education provides various modes of continuing professional development that inject the 21st century skills and competencies into the educators at all levels of leadership and infuses equity and social justice within all the learning programmes.

Intervention measures are student-centred and are based on the multi-disciplinary support required to establish a favourable learning environment.

- Early warning systems prompt schools and relevant stakeholders within the educational system to identify and monitor the early stages of potential student disengagement in order to provide timely and targeted intervention. 

- The career guidance service under the remit of the National School Support Services within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation holds a number of initiatives in State colleges in order to entice students’ attendance and guide them on how to see the relevance of schooling with the world of work. Professionals work in a multi-disciplinary team to make schooling attractive for students and develop tailor-made programmes to reduce the risk of early school leavers. All students are encouraged towards further education in order to equip themselves better and acquire the necessary skills for the world of work.

The National Literacy Agency has embarked on a literacy programme aimed to increase literacy amongst the most vulnerable students. Syllabi have been revised to make them more relevant to the students. The National Literacy Agency has also developed a number of initiatives that involve both students and their parents in after-school programmes. The primary objective of these programmes is to promote a love of books among children through the involvement of their parents/caregivers.

Other organisations and entities aim to safeguard youth’s welfare even though they do not fall within MEDE’s remit. For example, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services has been running the Youth in Focus programme and the Adolescent Day programme that target young people who face extraordinarily challenging life circumstances.

Nurture Classes in primary schools and Learning Support Zones in secondary schools help students with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties (SEBD).

Unit Għożża provides a support service and various educational and holistic programmes for pregnant teenagers, leading them to adopt a positive attitude toward motherhood while empowering them to pursue their career paths.

The Alternative Learning Programme and GEM16+ offer second chance education opportunities for students.  

Concurrently, middle schools and secondary schools are developing their own in-house Core Curriculum programmes for students who find difficulty in following mainstream programmes and who may benefit from a vocational pathway.

Since November 2015, the XL Programme, developed by the Prince’s Trust, is currently running in 7 secondary schools in Malta. Young people aged 13 to 16 and who are at risk of underachievement or exclusion are offered a personal development programme as an opportunity for re-engagement in education

With regard to compensation measures: 

A number of institutions in Malta provide full-time education to youths who have not acquired the necessary academic qualifications required to attain MQF level 4 and who wish to further their levels of education and training. Various other flexible education and training programmes are provided by other institutions according to students’ particular requirements.

The National School Support Services (NSSS) offers other educational opportunities for students with a disability who have finished compulsory school, namely the Dun Manwel Attard Young Adult Resource Centre and the Helen Keller Resource Centre.

Intensive SEC Revision Classes falling under the Youth Guarantee scheme were free to students who fail in one or more of the SEC core subjects and want to apply for the September re-sit session. Another initiative that fell under the Youth Guarantee scheme consists of Remedial Classes offered to MCAST students who failed their examinations at Levels 1, 2, or 3 and hence can be classified as potential early school leavers. Through Youth Guarantee’s ICT Course for ALP Students, educational opportunities were provided for ALP students to acquire ICT knowledge and skills in line with the demands of the labour market.

The NEET Activation Scheme II, launched by the Youth Guarantee office in July 2016, aims at re-integrating youths who are detached from education or the labour market

Many initiatives mentioned above promote social integration at all levels. Data for every action is provided in the context of the current status that needs to be considered and recommendations. Related stakeholders concur unanimously about timely prevention, possibly at the earliest stages.

E-learning initiatives

The Directorate for Digital Literacy and Transversal Skills (DDLTS), within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, identifies gaps in educators' digital competence and supports them accordingly. Digital literacy support teachers, Heads of departments, and Education officers coordinate support for educators to use various technologies available in schools and include them in their lessons to engage the students and facilitate learning. DDLTS  supports also students to foster their critical and confident use of technologies as well as their digital competence development. DDLTS organises many initiatives in education to promote digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking like family coding sessions and Code Week, internet safety, eTwinning, SELFIE, and DigComp.

The  Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation is investing in digital skills in compulsory education curriculae and through an investment in ICT infrastructure in classrooms. In primary schools, digital skills have been strengthened through the ‘One Tablet per Child’ (OTPC) scheme where tablets were distributed to all students and educators in years 4, 5, and 6 in all schools. The tablet is aimed to be an educational tool that helps students to go into deeper learning in literacy, digital literacy, numeracy, science, and other areas. Students can learn anytime anywhere because the tablet facilitates collaboration, communication, creativity, character education, digital citizenship, critical thinking, and computational thinking. These competencies are pushed forward through the Digital Learning outcomes aligned with DigComp. The OTPC project aims to increase students' and future graduates' skills and competencies and ensure that all children will be given a fair and equal opportunity to be closer to technology.  Digital Skills are cross-curricular at all compulsory levels and students are expected to use technology across all subjects. A new ICT programme in middle schools, entitled ICT C3, has been introduced in Year 7, to replace the traditional ECDL.  The new ICT C3 programme will go up till Year 11 to ensure that students will learn about safety on the net, robotics, coding, and other new technologies. This is a compulsory subject in lower and upper secondary. Computing and VET IT are optional subjects that students can opt for in the secondary. 

With regard to transforming teaching and learning of digital skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including the training of teachers, DDLTS is mainstreaming the EU’s digital competence framework DIGCOMP (JRC, 2017) focusing on digital literacies and 21st century skills. The Institute for Education offers a whole range of CDP courses, including courses related to digital competencies, in collaboration with DDLTS. In the framework of the national project One-Tablet-Per-Child (OTPC,) all educators in Year 4, 5 and 6 have to follow the mandatory course 'Award in the use of tablets in the Primary Classrooms'. All these initiatives form part of the combined effort to strategically implement the Digital Education Action Plan (EC, 2018).

Career guidance and relevant professional advice for young people 

The career guidance service within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation contributes towards students' career development and personal and social development, within a holistic approach. This includes initiatives to support students’ subject/career options and transitions from primary to secondary education and secondary to post-secondary education and/or work.  Career guidance services are delivered in schools by Principal Education Support Practitioners (Career Advisors), and guidance teachers through a variety of face-to-face provisions, such as on a one-to-one basis and in small and large groups. Career guidance services are also offered at MCASTJunior CollegeHigher Secondary, and the University of Malta. Career guidance at MCAST accompanies the students from pre-enrolment to graduation, providing them with guidance in their choice of apprenticeship options.

The transition co-ordinator support Year 11 students with Individual Educational Needs on the different opportunities that meet the needs of the student.  This will ensure that the best possible choice of provisions is made for each student. The transition co-ordinator helps in the transition programme from secondary mainstream to post-16 provision or from Education Resource Centres to other post-16 provisions, Adult Services, or employment opportunities.  The Transition co-ordinator organises orientation visits to the different provisions and prepares profiles and action plans for each student’s transition programme.

The career guidance platform provides all the information needed, such as careers within specific sectors, through videos, a quiz/personality test that determines one’s career aptitudes, and a description of several post-secondary courses and their respective entry requirements, for students to decide which career path to choose.

Other services include:

- Talks by employers, career orientation visits, and one-week career exposure experiences for students at work.

I Choose Fair 

-Interactive career websites aim to address the information given to young people aged 11-15 about their future career choices.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning 

The Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning (VINFL) in Malta is regulated by Subsidiary Legislation 327.432, Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning regulations of September 2012. Under the remit of this legislation and as per Article 6(1) of SL327.433, the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) has been entrusted with VNFIL in Malta. Subsidiary Legislation 327.432 determines that the MFHEA must establish Sector Skills Units (SSU), the members of which must include representatives from a number of industry-relevant stakeholders. The main roles of the SSU are to develop national occupational standards, a set of job-related standards for occupations in their respective sectors. 
By the end of 2018, the MFHEA had set up a total of 8 SSUs covering the following industries/ sectors:

  • Automotive;
  • Health and Social Care;
  • Education Support;
  • Hospitality and Tourism;
  • Hair and Beauty;
  • Construction and Building Services;
  • Printing and Digital Media;
  • IT

Throughout 2018, validation assessment was expanded to new areas such as hairdressing, block laying and beauty which gave the chance to individuals from a wider range of occupations to apply for validation. All individuals who passed their validation assessment were awarded for their occupation and MQF level.  

Work-based vocational competences are integrated in Malta’s educational and training programmes, which emphasise quality qualifications while increasing economic competitiveness and ensuring that the skills gap between education and work is addressed. This produces a skilled labour force that responds better to labour market needs.

-    At compulsory education level:

One of the successful measures undertaken by Malta was the implementation of 5 vocational subjects in both state and non-state secondary schools. These subjects are hospitality, health and social care, agri-business, information technology, and engineering technology.  In scholastic year 2019/20, 4 more vocational subjects were introduced; namely media literacy, hairdressing and beauty, retail, fashion and textiles. 

The Learning Outcomes Framework (LOF) was applied to the syllabi of these subjects. The principal aims of the LOF are to free schools and learners from centrally-imposed knowledge-centric syllabi, and to give them the freedom to develop programmes that fulfil the framework of knowledge, attitudes and skills-based outcomes that are considered national education entitlement of all learners.

As of September 2019,secondary school students can choose from academic, vocational and applied subjects in addition to the core curriculum. During scholastic year 2019/20, 60% of Year 9 students have chosen at least one vocational or applied subject. A national careers web portal and events such as I Choose were developed. Students and parents/guardians are guided through the subject choosing process and can access all information on the different subject options through the 3 routes.

The educational system now rests on 3 pillars - which are the academic, vocational and applied methods of teaching and learning, moving away from a 'one size fits all' system to a more inclusive and equitable programme. The aim is to respond to different education needs and give parity of esteem to general, vocational and applied subjects. The new system builds on the current one but ambitiously moves forward in democratising academic, vocational and applied learning for all students within a framework of parity of esteem. It retains key competences and sustains traditional academic learning programmes. Complementarily, vocational subjects and applied learning programmes leading up to MQF Level 3, are also made available to all students and are provided within the same school and in all secondary schools. Applied learning is comparable and equivalent to the academic and vocational education and accredited up to MQF Level 3. Following compulsory education, students may opt to continue their studies at the University of Malta (UM), Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) or another higher education institution of their choice. 

The introduction of equitable learning programmes enables more quality time for in-depth learning while increasing learning opportunities, eliminating dead ends and easing labour market entry. The aim is to promote increased links between education and industry. Close cooperation between schools and workplaces assures the currency of subject learning outcomes (SLOs), provides real-life work environments thus warranting the assimilation of the aims of work life, establishes fruitful relationships with companies and facilitates the learning of entrepreneurship competencies. These processes contribute to their development of expertise in the occupation that cannot be simulated in a school-based environment. Students can choose vocational and/or applied paths at the age of 12, and is implemented in a manner that intends to make learning more inclusive, flexible and without dead-ends, to give more young people opportunities to develop employability and skills for personal and social development. In order to avoid that students may leave compulsory education not being well equipped with those key competences that could allow later re-skilling and up-skilling

At post-secondary education level:

In March 2018, the Work-based Learning and Apprenticeship Act came into force, providing regulations and governance and administration of accredited training programmes for work-placements, apprenticeships and internships for VET purposes.

The Work-based Learning and Apprenticeship Act aims at strengthening work-based learning by:

  • setting definitions and operational parameters for work placements, apprenticeships and internships;
  • outlining responsibilities and governance structures (such as National Skills Council, Sector Skills Units);
  • defining rights and obligations for VET providers, employers and learners;    
  • highlighting the role of employers as responsible learning partners;
  • setting a compulsory minimum number of hours for all forms of work-based learning and linking remuneration to the minimum wage;
  • using ECVET/ECTS in all forms of work-based learning;
  • introducing a single EQF-based apprenticeship qualification replacing the dual certification currently in place;
  • launching a training agreements register to support data collection and policy-relevant analysis by the national skills council

As Malta’s leading vocational institution, the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) continues to lead in Vocational Education and Training (VET), managing the national Apprenticeship system with an unwavering commitment to enhancing the quality of apprenticeships. This commitment aims to achieve an optimal balance between theoretical knowledge and practical, on-the-job training, thereby ensuring apprentices are well-equipped for sustained employability in their chosen careers. Recent advancements include the integration of digital platforms and technologies to streamline the apprenticeship process, providing more efficient matching of apprentices with industry partners, and facilitating a more personalized learning experience.

MCAST’s efforts are supported by the Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act, which establishes a robust regulatory framework for the governance and administration of accredited training programs, including work placements, apprenticeships, and internships, tailored for VET objectives. The Act underscores the importance of aligning training programs with industry standards and needs, ensuring that apprentices gain relevant and up-to-date skills.

Moreover, MCAST has intensified collaborations with industry leaders to refine apprenticeship curricula, reflecting the labour market's dynamic demands. These partnerships have introduced new apprenticeship tracks in emerging sectors, underscoring MCAST’s role in preparing the workforce for future challenges and opportunities.

Through these initiatives, MCAST reinforces its pivotal role in vocational education in Malta and contributes significantly to the national goal of fostering a skilled, adaptable, and competitive workforce ready to meet the demands of today's and tomorrow's industries. 

Through this Act, Malta has introduced a system where apprentices get first-hand knowledge of the industry and can see what they want to pursue as a career. All apprentices now have the opportunity to obtain the qualifications they need in the specific field chosen, while putting the skills they learn into practice simultaneously, with the assistance of experts who are always on-hand to show them how things are done.

As at March 2023, MCAST has 1951 students registered on apprenticeship programmes.  Students are expected to do between 700 -1400 hrs in industry depending on their programme of studies and the tripartite contract signed with their employer and the college.  In most cases this translates into 3 days of study and two days in industry during the academic year and then 40 hours weekly in summer for two years.  

In 2019, MCAST also launched a new suite of MQF Level 6 Degree Apprenticeships in Biomedical Engineering, Construction Engineering, Software Development, Multimedia Software Development, Computer Systems and Networks, and Fashion. Students following such degree apprenticeships will be able to achieve a recognized Bachelor’s Degree while simultaneously getting paid for gaining valuable work experience.  

In addition, MCAST has a Centre for Learning and Employability. This was created to assist students at all MCAST institutes. Through individualised services, students are equipped with the required abilities to become autonomous, independent learners.

The Centre provides students with one-on-one assistance and mentoring in small groups to assist them in becoming high achievers. The Centre provides the following services:

·        Extra Support in Academic units (and vocational units upon request)

·        English as a Foreign Language – a 30-hour course aimed at Foreign students who have a very poor grasp of the English language

·        Dissertation and Research Related Support – assisting students in the different phases of the dissertation/ research project

·        Employability: Preparation for Work workshops

·        Learning to Learn workshops

The Centre for Learning and Employability strives to accommodate the existing portfolio of programmes and generate new ones. Importantly, the Centre aims to expand its variety of individualised and group-targeted support services.

As of mid-June 2023, the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) has made notable advancements in promoting multilingual proficiency amongst its students, aligning with its objective to support and enhance the integration of language learning. The college provided courses in various languages, including German, Italian, French, and Arabic (Level 1), receiving 114 applications and resulting in 82 enrolments. 

Moreover, MCAST offered various English language courses designed to meet diverse needs—such as the Award in English as a Foreign Language, English Proficiency, and Business English—which attracted 128 applications and culminated in 104 student registrations. 

Additionally, MCAST's commitment to fostering local culture and language is demonstrated through its Maltese proficiency courses, which drew 83 applications and led to 51 registrations. This holistic approach highlights MCAST's dedication to enhancing linguistic skills, ensuring students are well-prepared for a globalised world.


The  Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation has four Directors General (DGs) that are responsible for different education Departments. Each Department has a number of Directorates headed by a Director. The DGs are sectioned as follows:

The Directorate General for Curriculum, Research, Innovation and Lifelong Learning comprises the Learning and Assessment Programmes Directorate, Research, Innovation and Lifelong Learning, Digital Literacy and Transversal skills. This DG is in charge to sustain a knowledge-based economy, learning as a lifelong pursuit is the key to success and to ensure a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It offers adult learning classes in several areas of knowledge and contributes towards a strong base of high level graduates by offering scholarships in several priority sectors of the knowledge-based economy.

The Directorate General for Educational Services (DES) is in charge of ensuring the effective and efficient operation and delivery of services to the Colleges and State schools within an established framework of decentralisation and autonomy (College Principals, National School, Education Resources, Education for all, Migrant Learners, Education Logistics and Support, Schools Internal Review and Support).

The Director General for the People Management Department is responsible for the following directorates and units: the Directorate for Education Resources, Scholarships Unit, Student Maintenance Grants Board Unit, and Human Resources matters.

The Directorate General for Quality and Standards in Education’s (DQSE) role is to regulate, establish, monitor and assure standards and quality in the programmes and educational services at the compulsory level of education provided by State and non-State schools. The functions of the DQSE are established by the Education Act (CAP 327 of the Laws of Malta).As part of the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) the mission of the Quality Assurance directorate is to establish and ensure high quality educational standards that promote well-being through the programmes and educational services provided by Maltese State and Non-State Schools, as provided for in the Education Act.

Officially appointed agencies/public actors within the  Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation

Aġenzija Żgħażagħ mainstreams youth-related issues and further develops youth services. It enables further investment in young people and helps them realise their potential.

English Language Teaching Council (ELTC) fosters the ELT Profession and Industry in various aspects.​

The Examinations Directorate is responsible for administering the examinations for induction into the Public Service, public corporations and commercial partnerships in which the State has majority shareholding, intra-Service written Examinations; examinations for the issue of Local Licences; examinations on behalf of their parties. The Department also acts as an agent for Local and Overseas Examining Bodies responsible for awarding Academic, Vocational and Professional Qualifications.

The Foundation for Educational Services (FES) works concurrently with the Education Directorates to provide a range of innovative educational initiatives to​ meet the community's needs. 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.

The Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS) is the public entity in Malta responsible for the construction of Malta and Gozo's State-owned schools.

The Institute for Education promotes high quality education for all educators and fosters learning communities of the highest standard, educational leaders at all levels and instils education with equity and social justice.

The Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is a leading vocational education and training institution. It has six Institutes in Malta and the Gozo Campus and more than 200 full-time and over 300 part-time vocational courses ranging from certificates to degrees (MQF Level 1 to Level 8). Students are prepared for careers in different sectors of the economy or for higher education.

The Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) fosters the development and achievement of excellence in further and higher education in Malta through research, effective licensing, accreditation, quality assurance and recognition of qualifications established under the Malta Qualifications Framework.

The National Literacy Agency (NLA) seeks to promote and enhance lifelong and life wide, high quality literacy practices among children, youth, adults, third country nationals and persons with learning difficulties. It strives to improve literacy outcomes, resulting in inclusive practices, higher educational qualifications, and better job prospects.

The National Skills Council’s (NSC) mission is to spearhead an evidence-based skills agenda focused on employability, social inclusion and wellbeing. It aims to advance skill development, recognition, and validation to foster a prosperous and resilient workforce. While bridging education with employment, the Council also aims to develop a skills intelligence and forecasting function to meet current and future skills needs within our labour force.  

SportMalta is Malta’s national sport agency. Its core purpose is to inspire Maltese and transform the nation through sport. Its role is also to create greater sporting opportunities and access, more inclusivity and integration, and broader capability development.

The Students’ Maintenance Grants’ Board’s main functions are to: oversee the effective allocation and payments of Students’ Maintenance Grants to students; offer guidelines and regularly review procedures in the management and implementation of all the stages leading up to payments of Students’ Maintenance Grants to students; oversee the effective assessment, review and payment of Supplementary Grants to students; process reports submitted from educational institutions and apply any sanctions when necessary; oversee the management of payments and take action to recover any overpaid Students’ Maintenance Grants; recommend changes to already-existing policies to improve the support the student receives.

The University of Malta is Malta's highest teaching institution. It is publicly funded and open to all who have the requisite qualifications.

Other social partners contributing to the development of policies in the field of education and training are the following: The Malta Union of Teachers; School Councils; Junior College Students' Council; The Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU) and  Student Organisations within KSU; Kunsill Studenti MCAST (KSM).