Early school leavers rate down by almost 10% since 2010

Malta’s rate of Early leaving from Education and Training (ELET) has gone down by almost 10% since 2010. This according to data published by Malta’s National Statistics Office this week.

ELET, formerly known as Early School leaving (ESL), refers to those aged between 18-24 who have only reached a low level of education and are not following any further training. NSO data shows that the ELET rate for 2020 is 12.6%. This implies that the rate has gone down by almost 10% since 2010 when the ELET rate was over 21%.

Looking through a gender-gap lens, one can note that the rate of ELET in males (14.7%) is higher than that of females (10.2%). However, the rate of ELET in males has gone down by almost 14% since 2010. This implies that the strategic framework’s aims set out in 2014 which pushed for policies and strategies to lower the educational gap between males and females, as well as target ELET strategies has been taken on board by educators and all other relevant stakeholders.

Also noteworthy is that although 2020 was marked worldwide by COVID-19, school closures and mitigation measures, Malta’s ELET rate, as opposed to other EU countries, still lowered from the previous year, from 13.9% to 12.6%.

Although there is more to be done for Malta to reach better targets, it’s clear that the work carried out in the past years is bearing fruit. 

Malta is one of the few EU countries which designed specific policies for ELET, with the second one launched only recently. Malta has also set up an ESL unit specifically for the monitoring and implementation of this policy and to ensure active cooperation between all stakeholders.

Specific programmes within the compensation measures have been set up such as the Alternative learning programme, Achieve, GEM 16+ and foundation courses within post compulsory colleges such as MCAST and Giovanni Curmi. Within the prevention and intervention measures, through My Journey, vocational education was targeted by providing a number of vocational subjects also at MATSEC level in order to target the gap of a lack of vocational education within our system during the previous years.

Malta is one of the few EU countries which designed specific policies for ELET, with the second policy launched only recently.

The Literacy Agency has been set up, offering a number of programmes, including reading recovery and reading ambassadors that target students at risk of ELET. The Institute for Education has been opened to target teachers’ continuous professional development and also to provide the possibility for educators to enrol in degrees and master courses after school hours through blended learning. This has continued to increase the quality of education provision within our colleges and increased the number of professional teachers who previously were not able to follow a degree in education as there was none offered after school hours.

The free childcare scheme and monitoring for quality provision for early years education has also been a great prevention measure which will continue to target disadvantaged students at a young age. Colleges have also been divided into middle schools and secondary schools in order to be able to feasibly target school transition and student wellbeing which can impact the ELET rate.

These initiatives were the result of national effort by all stakeholders in the sector, including educators and policy makers. Malta’s second ELET policy outlines fifteen strategic actions aimed at continue building on the work carried out during these last years.

The ELET policy links all the other education policies through a monitoring framework of those at risk, reaching out through dialogue by listening to the voices of students, parents, educators and the community who are the primary stakeholders within the education system.

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Dr. Mark Said
Dr. Mark Said
2 years ago

A really encouraging sign. Yet we must relentlessly continue to build on it.