Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Progress Report #1: Education in Malta

My research will focus on primary and secondary education in Malta. I initially thought this would be a difficult area to do research on, but a quick Google search has shown that not to be the case. I was even able to find a report on the transition from primary schools to secondary schools, which also had some information on the structure of the primary and secondary education systems in Malta.
Some preliminary information: There are three sectors of compulsory education in Malta. The first, and largest, is the state school system. Primary schools (ages 5-10) are co-ed while the secondary (ages 11-16) schools are strictly single-sex. While schools that continue on from primary to secondary education, called “continuous schools”, exist in Malta, none of the state schools are continuous. Like many European countries, Malta has more than one level of secondary education. The highest is the Junior Lyceum to which admittance is granted based on an entrance examination. Those who do not pass the Junior Lyceum entrance examination are admitted to the more general secondary school known as a Area Secondary school. For students whose “levels of attainment” are still considered very low after primary education are sent to special schools.

The second largest sector is the Church sector. Education provided by the Church sector is free. Unlike State schools, primary schools are mostly single-sex, with some co-ed exceptions. All secondary schools are single-sex with most girls' schools being continuous and boys' schools being non-continuous. Admittance into non-continuous secondary schools is based on a Common Entrance (CE) exam and available vacancies.

The last sector is the Independent. These are private schools that charge a fee. The private sector offers both co-ed and single-sex as well as continuous and non-continuous schools. The non-continuous schools in the Independent sector are all primary schools and students must take examinations to enroll in either a State school or a Church school when they are ready to transition from their primary school. Since the Independent schools are fee-based, their admissions are not competitive.

Some of the subjects that are tested in secondary entrance examinations are Maltese, English, Mathematics, and Social Studies. Students are also tested on Religious Knowledge if their parents do not object.

The preliminary search for information on Maltese education has gone well but there is plenty more I would like to learn. For instance, there was a mention of “catchment areas” in regards to the Junior Lyceums without any explanation as to what they are or how they affect the rest of a student's education. Also, since students are educated in both Maltese and English, it would be nice to find a sample or preparatory exam as an example of what students are required to learn and study before entering secondary school.

Grima, Grace. Transition from Primary to Secondary Schools in Malta: A Review. 2008.
Malta?! A Guide to Education and Vocational Training. 2008. Ministry of Education, Malta.

1 comment:

  1. Andy - this is a great start! I would be very interested to learn a) your arguments about why secondary schools in Malta are predominantly sex segregated and b) how this might or might not image science/engineering education. It would also be useful to explore in more detail the role of British colonization in shaping today's education system. It would also be useful to determine how science/engineering studies are valued compared to other subjects (e.g., business, law, teaching). Finally, given that the University of Malta is the primary site for tertiary education, it would be useful to include an analysis of its history and contemporary emphases.


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