All beneficiaries of international protection are covered under compulsory and free of charge state education up to the age of 16. After secondary school, and after obtaining the relevant and necessary Ordinary Level examination passes, students may enrol for post-secondary education: two years of study in preparation for Advanced Level Examinations. All beneficiaries of protection may also apply to enrol at the University of Malta and, in principle, they are treated as all other third-country national applicants in terms of application procedures, fees and stipends.
In 2014, the Ministry Education launched the policy document “National Strategy on Literacy for the period 2014-2019”. The document acknowledges the need to support third-country nationals living in Malta and the necessity to review the education system with regard to the participation of migrant children in schools. In this context, the policy foresees a list of recommendations ranging from the provision of information about schooling options for migrant parents and the instauration of small language support classes to the implementation of assessment procedures and training courses for teachers and the active involvement of parents with literacy courses for adult migrants.
Regarding the integration of migrant children, this National Strategy is yet to be implemented at national level. Nevertheless, in practice, several initiatives to integrate migrant children are in place in Malta.
The Migrant Learners Unit within the Ministry for Education is in charge of promoting the inclusion of newly arrived learners into the education system and runs several projects which aim to provide migrant learners in school with further support in basic and functional language learning over and above the teaching provided by the class teacher.
Several projects have been implemented at local level in recent years in schools in Malta to help students to integrate in providing targeted language classes for children.
Skills Kit is a freshly introduced initiative by Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) that is available for free to refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. It includes various topics such as art, hairdressing, beauty, basic web design, caring for others, animal care, sport, installation of low voltage devices and cultures.
In 2018, the government also introduced the ‘I Belong’ Programme which is available for beneficiaries of international protection as well. The initiative consists of English and Maltese language courses and basic cultural and societal orientation as part of the integration process. It is important to note that integration requests are accepted from all persons of migrant background regardless of their grounds of residence.
In 2019, 2,028 people applied for the ‘I Belong Programme’, among them, 200 were beneficiaries of international protection and 111 were asylum-seekers.