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Or did you mean Order of Malta?

by Paul Bacsich for Re.ViCa. Not updated for VISCED but some updates in 2010

For entities in Malta see Category:Malta

Partners situated in Malta


Malta in a nutshell

(sourced from

Malta, officially the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a densely populated developed island nation in the European Union. The origin of the term "Malta" is uncertain and the modern day variation derives from the Maltese language. The most common etymology is that it comes from the Greek word μέλι (meli) ('honey'). The Greeks called the island Μελίτη (Melite) meaning "honey" or "honey-sweet" possibly due to Malta's unique production of honey; an endemic species of bee lives on the island, giving it the popular nickname the "land of honey". Another etymology is the Phoenician word Maleth, the Phoenician name for the islands, meaning "a haven"[ in reference to Malta's many bays and coves.

The Republic of Malta is an archipelago including the inhabited islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino along with a number of smaller, uninhabited islands. It is situated centrally in the Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily (Italy) and 288 km north of Tunisia. Gibraltar is 1,826 km to the west and Alexandria 1,510 km to the east.

Malta is just over 300 km² with an estimated population of over 400,000 people.

Malta's de facto capital is Valletta and the biggest city is Birkirkara.

The islands enjoy a Mediterranean climate.

The country's official languages are Maltese and English, which replaced Italian in 1934.

Malta has a long legacy of Roman Catholicism, which continues to be the official and dominant religion in Malta.

Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a Republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the European Union, which it joined in 2004, and also of the United Nations. Malta implemented the Schengen Agreement on December 21, 2007.

Malta is a republic, whose parliamentary system and public administration is closely modeled on the UK system. The unicameral House of Representatives, (Maltese: Il-Kamra tad- Deputati), is elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the President on advice of the Prime Minister. The House of Representatives is made up of 65 Members of Parliament. However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority. The Constitution of Malta provides that the President appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House who is best able to command a (governing) majority in the House. The President of the Republic is elected every five years by the House of Representatives. The role of the president as head of state is largely ceremonial.

Since 1993 Malta has been divided into 68 elected local councils, with each council responsible for the administration of cities or regions of varying sizes. Administrative responsibility is distributed between the local councils and the central government in Valletta. There are no intermediate levels between local government and national government and the levels of the 6 districts (5 on the main island) and of the 3 regions (2 on the main island) serve primarily statistical purposes.


Presently, Malta’s major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles) and tourism. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of good-quality hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday. Although they are still a net importer of tourism, the ratio of inbound tourists to outbound tourists is decreasing. The popular Mdina Glass enterprise was established on the island in 1968 by Michael Harris, a former tutor at the UK's RCA.

Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy, with several big-budget foreign films shooting in Malta each year. The country has increased the exports of many other types of services such as banking and finance.

The government is investing heavily in education, including college.

Malta has recently privatised some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets in order to prepare for membership in the European Union, which it joined on May 1, 2004. For example, the government announced on January 8, 2007 that it is selling its 40% stake in Maltapost, in order to complete a privatisation process which has been ongoing for the past five years.

Malta and Tunisia are currently discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration.

Malta does not have a property tax.

According to Eurostat data, Maltese PPS GDP per capita stood at 76 per cent of the EU average in 2008

Malta education policy

Primary schooling has been compulsory since 1946; secondary education up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in 1971. The state provides education free of charge, and the Church and the private sector run a number of schools in Malta and Gozo. The state pays a portion of the teachers' salary in Church schools.

English and Maltese are both used to teach students at primary and secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory subjects. Public schools tend to use both Maltese and English in a balanced manner. Private schools prefer to use English for teaching, as is also the case with most departments of the University of Malta; this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the Maltese language. Most university courses are in English.

Of the total number of students studying a first foreign language at secondary level, 51% take Italian whilst 38% take French. Other choices include German, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic.

Schools in Malta

Education in Malta is based on the UK model. Primary school lasts six years. At the age of 11 pupils sit for an examination to enter a secondary school, either a church school (the Common Entrance Examination) or a state school. Pupils sit for SEC O-level examinations at the age of 16, with passes obligatory in certain subjects such as mathematics, English and Maltese. Pupils may opt to continue studying at a sixth form college such as Junior College, St Edward's College, St Aloysius' College or else at another post-secondary institution such as MCAST. The sixth form course lasts for two years, at the end of which students sit for the Matriculation examination. Subject to their performance, students may then apply for an undergraduate degree or diploma.

Private schools include De La Salle College in Cospicua, St. Aloysius' College in Birkirkara, San Anton School in the valley of L-Imselliet (near Mġarr) and Saint Monica Girls' School in Mosta.

As of 2008, there are two international schools, Verdala International School and QSI Malta.

The adult literacy rate is 92.8%.

Higher education

The main institution is the University of Malta

Universities in Malta

University of Malta

The University of Malta (Maltese: L-Università ta' Malta) is the highest educational institution in Malta. It offers undergraduate Bachelor's Degrees, which last between three and five years, and postgraduate Master's Degrees that last two years full-time. It also offers postgraduate Doctorates (PhD).

The University is one of the oldest in Europe with origins dating back to 1592 when the Collegium Melitense was founded by the Bishop Garagallo and originally run by the Jesuits. In 1938, King George VI gave it the title of The Royal University of Malta. The word "Royal" was subsequently removed from the name of the university, when Malta became a republic in 1974.

The Wireless Network Access Project, initiated in 2005, involves the gradual deployment of wireless network access across the entire campus. Several buildings and communal areas have already been equipped with wireless access points enabling University students and staff to access online information and email using their personal laptops.

The E-Learning Project, initiated in 2006, involves the setting up and implementation of a University-wide policy and a support framework for e-learning and possibly other forms of distance learning. The Distance & E-Learning Committee with representatives from various academic, administrative and support departments advises on all matters related to e-learning at the University. IT Services maintains the University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform and supports academic staff & students in using the VLE.

Polytechnics in Malta

MCAST, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, provides universally accessible vocational and professional education and training with an international flavour.

Its web site is at

Gian Frangisk Abela Junior College is a further education college in Msida, Malta, which prepares students for the Matriculation Certificate. It was established in 1995 by the University of Malta. Students may choose from a range of subjects and must take two subjects at Advanced Level, three at Intermediate Level, as well as Systems of Knowledge. Since the college forms part of the University of Malta, students are able to become familiar with the University campus. College and university students collaborate on cultural projects such as concerts, drama, sport, student exchanges, debates and seminars.

For more details see,_Msida and

Education reform

The Bologna Process

(very important for European countries)

Administration and finance

Undergraduate courses are free-of-charge to citizens of Malta and the European Union, however, somewhat high fees are charged to European nationals from other countries as well as Africans, Asians and non-EU European states. In spite of this, the University of Malta has a healthy percentage of foreign students (non-EU) the majority of which are from Asia, mainly, China. Recently, the university has also begun to attract students from Eastern Europe.

Students enrolled in higher education in Malta are entitled to a stipend. The endowment of this stipend has been halted previously, when instead a loans system was introduced and students with socio-economic problems started receiving grants which amounted to more than they used to receive under the stipends system. When the stipends system was re-introduced, the amount of money given was less than that which was given before the system had been changed. In 2005 stipends were once more decreased. It has never been conferred on foreign nationals.

Quality assurance

Information society

Towards the information society

Information society strategy

ICT in education initiatives

Interesting Virtual Campus Initiatives

DiploFoundation is a non-profit organisation based in Malta, with offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Belgrade Serbia. DiploFoundation is a training organisation in the field of diplomacy and international relations and has strong commitment to innovation in online learning.

Interesting Programmes

Re.ViCa Case-study


Lessons learnt


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