Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 October, 2023 at 1:22 pm by Andre Camilleri
During academic year 2021-2022, students enrolled in pre-primary, primary and secondary education totalled 58,377, an increase of 0.6 per cent over the previous academic year, the NSO said Wednesday.
The number of foreign students attending these schools went up by 3.2% when compared to the previous academic year.
The majority of students enrolled in pre-primary, primary and secondary education comprised male students, at 51.9 per cent. Proportions between sexes increased slightly by 0.1 percentage point for the number of females enrolled when compared to the previous scholastic year.
State-run schools accounted for 58.9 per cent of total enrolments. This was followed by Church schools at 27.4 per cent, while students enrolled in independent schools accounted for 13.7 per cent of total enrolments at these levels.
Total students enrolled in mandatory education during 2021-2022 stood at 49,033. Of these, 55.1 per cent attended primary school, while the remaining 44.9 per cent attended secondary school. When compared to the previous academic year, students increased by 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent in primary and secondary schools respectively. Over half of all children enrolled at each class level attended state-run schools.
The average class size for all schools at the primary level was 17.2 students per class, and 18.7 students per class at the secondary level. Class size was lowest in state schools, while church schools held the highest average class size, particularly at ‘Year 6’ level with 23.8 students per class.
The district hosting the largest number of school levels in 2021-2022 was the Northern Harbour District (33.7 per cent), followed by the Southern Harbour District (18.9 per cent). In parallel, the majority of students attended schools located in the Northern Harbour District (37.5 per cent), followed by the Southern Harbour District (17.1 per cent).
The Northern Harbour District again topped the list of districts in which pre-primary to secondary students resided (26.9 per cent), this time followed by the Northern District (18.9 per cent). Over two-thirds of enrolled students in pre-primary, primary and secondary formal education attended schools found within their district of residence, while the remaining 31.6 per cent commuted to another district for the purpose of attending school.
Of the total enrolled students, 85.7 per cent were Maltese while 14.3 per cent were of foreign citizenship – 8.6 per cent were non-EU citizens while 5.7 per cent were other EU nationals. The number of foreign students enrolled increased by 3.2 per cent over academic year 2020-2021. Out of all the foreign students, 60.0 per cent were non-EU nationals. The largest group of foreign students were Italian (13.4 per cent), followed by British students (8.0 per cent), Syrian students (7.2 per cent), Serbian students (6.3 per cent) and Libyan students (6.0 per cent).
When looking at the languages studied by students enrolled at secondary level, the most popular foreign language studied at secondary level (excluding the official languages of Maltese and English) was Italian, followed by French, Spanish and German. More than half of the students enrolled at secondary level studied Italian (54.4 per cent), while slightly over a quarter of students studied French during the reference academic year under review (25.3 per cent).
When compared to the previous academic year, increases were observed in the number of students studying Italian and Spanish during academic year 2021-2022. During the academic year under review, fewer students at secondary level were studying other foreign languages, including French, German and Arabic when compared to the previous academic year. The number of students studying Chinese and Russian remained consistent with the previous academic year.