At 16 years old, pupils sit for SECs (Secondary Education Certificates). These are the equivalent of British G.C.S.Es. At 18 years old, students sit for a Matriculation Certificate which will determine whether they are allowed to enroll at University. This is roughly an equivalent of British A-levels.
For most subjects, the papers are in English, except for the obvious - learning foreign languages.
The Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC) is the body that recognises qualifications against the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF). If you've received education at a foreign country, you may want to check whether your qualification is accredited in Malta against the MQF.
MQRIC have a list of courses which are already accredited on their website. If yours is not included, you can apply to have it recognised (there’s a fee for this).
It would be wonderful to report that you’ll be conversing freely in Maltese in a matter of months. The truth is that Maltese is a tricky language to learn, especially when it comes to the verbs. This is a Semitic language, where verbs are ‘triliteral’ and conjugated with prefixes, suffixes and infixes (i.e. three different consonants denote the general meaning of the word, and the combination of vowels before, after and in between those consonants denote the tense or specify the meaning). For speakers of Latin based languages, it’s a difficult concept and makes it hard to pick up the language from listening or reading without a fair amount of study. Maltese is peppered with familiar English and Italian words however, which helps you to get the context and many speakers weave in and out of English and Maltese naturally. The other hurdle is that the Maltese will inevitably speak to you in English all the time, so it’s quite difficult to practice the language. Still, free lessons are available through the government and it’s certainly not impossible to learn if you put in some effort. Here's how you can learn Maltese.As a foreigner, where should I send my kids to school?
There is a free state school system in Malta which is open to everyone and church schools are free too (although they require donations and are usually oversubscribed). Many foreigners choose to send their children to private school, in part because tuition is in English rather than Maltese. Fees vary from a few thousand Euros a year to considerably more than that.Where shall I live?
Where you choose to live will depend on where your work is based and/or the children’s schools. Many foreigners start off in the Sliema area if they can afford it – nearby Swieqi, Msida, Gzira and Pembroke are a little cheaper and less busy. St Paul’s Bay is popular too, especially with older residents. Xemxija is an up-and-coming village towards the north, which is cheaper and away from the crowds.
Bugibba and Qawra are principally holiday zones, popular especially with the British – unless you like hanging out with your fellow countrymen abroad, you might want to look elsewhere.
Towns such as Balzan, Attard, Birkirkara and Lija are quaint and pleasant places to live and not too far from all the action. Madliena or Gharghur tend to be a little more expensive but are highly sought after. Mellieha is a beautiful town, but far north if you have to commute to work every day. The same could be said for Marsascala and Marsaxlokk, which are situated at the other end and to the south of the island.
Gozo is caught in a dreamy time warp – this is the place to settle in if you genuinely want to get away from it all. Here's a quick guide to the regions of Malta.