Country information for Malta - Financing of inclusive education systems
Malta spends over 5.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) on education, which is slightly above the average spent in other European countries (Source: CPRA – Malta Country Report, p. 3; European Agency, 2014). The central funding mechanism administered by the Ministry for Education and Employment ensures free schooling for all learners, irrespective of their needs.
Childcare centres for children aged 0–3 are generally run by both state and private institutions. Since 2014, childcare has been free for all 0–3-year-olds (Source: IECE – Malta Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 1).
Pre-primary – kindergarten
State kindergarten education is free and accessible to all, including children with disabilities. Besides this, parents may be entitled to a children’s allowance if their annual taxable income is below a certain level. Funding is provided centrally by the Ministry for Education and Employment. The funds are allocated during the parliamentary debate on financial estimates towards the end of the year.
State and church compulsory school education is free. Learners receive free textbooks, milk, fruit and vegetables, some writing materials and various psycho-social, support and medical services. In secondary schools, tuition and textbooks are free. Transport is also provided for free, including for learners with disabilities. In state schools, a free breakfast club enables parents to drop their children (aged three and over) to school early on their way to work. Children have a healthy breakfast under the supervision of educators. Another initiative facilitating access is Klabb 3–16. It organises supervised activities after school for children aged three and over for a small fee (EUR 0.80/hour).
Parents of learners aged up to 16 may be entitled to the children’s allowance, if their total reckonable income for the year before the claim is below a certain level. Funding is provided centrally by the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity. The funds are allocated during the parliamentary debate on financial estimates towards the end of the year.
Compulsory school for learners with disabilities and their provisions in resource centres
Families of children with disabilities receive an additional allowance from the government to cover additional expenses. Education is free for all learners in all state and church schools. This is funded centrally by the Ministry for Education and Employment. Educational support to learners attending these schools, including allocation of a learning support educator (LSE), is also free. In 2009, the government extended this service to learners with additional needs in mainstream independent schools. Prior to 2009, the parents of learners attending independent schools who required LSE support for additional needs benefited from income tax rebate. Now, the State funds LSE salaries in independent schools.
Job orientation and preparation at the end of compulsory education
There are no tuition fees at the end of compulsory education; post-secondary education is also free. Learners do not receive any financial support, but their parents may qualify for learners’ allowance if their income is below the established threshold.
Learners attending upper-secondary education and training courses receive a maintenance grant that is not refundable. They also receive an additional sum at the start of the school year for the purchase of books/computers required for the course.
The University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies receive funds from the Ministry’s budgets. The institutions manage their respective funds. Students at the University of Malta, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies receive an allowance at the beginning of the academic year, together with a monthly maintenance grant allowance for the duration of their programme of studies.
The link between school and the labour market for adolescents with special educational needs
The government finances initiatives by Jobs Plus. The Jobs Plus courses are free for the unemployed; however, a small fee is charged for some courses.
The Lino Spiteri Foundation is a public social partnership between Jobs Plus and Empower, a leading co-operative that employs people with disabilities in collaboration with the corporate sector. The foundation aims to collaborate with employers and provide target services to people with disabilities, including training, on a one-stop-shop basis. It aims to bridge the gap between companies and individuals in order to bring out untapped potential and create employment opportunities.
Last updated 05/02/2020