Educational system in Malta
Malta's state school sector is based on the British educational system. Kindergartens are available free of charge for all children from the age of three. Primary school starts at the age of five and from that age school attendance becomes compulsory until the age of eleven. Students have to do a national examination at the end of their 6th school year, after which they proceed to secondary school.
Trade school or university
After three years at secondary school, students can transfer to trade schools, which lead either to employment or to further technical education and training through apprenticeship schemes. Secondary school students can choose to proceed through sixth form to university, or to one of the several specialized vocational schools.
Tests and examinations
The school-leaving age is 16. At the end of their fifth year of secondary schooling, students sit for an exam called Secondary Education Certificate (SEC). After two years at the sixth form Junior College students sit for another set of examinations at intermediate and advanced levels. This test enables successful students to move on to higher education such as University.
A number of private schools provides kindergarten, primary, secondary and sixth-form services. Many of these belong to the Catholic Church. Following a Church-State agreements, Catholic schools are free of charge. Recently there has been a tendency to set up independent schools by parents' foundations, or as commercial ventures. About 30 % of all students in Malta attend private schools and many expatriates are very pleased with the Maltese educational system both public and private. In line with Malta's relative low cost of living, tuition and boarding fees at private schools are very reasonable.