High quality education is vital for employability, for social cohesion and for Europe’s overall economic and societal success. Enhancing the quality of education is pivotal in order to respond adequately to the Education Strategy Framework 2014-2024 (MEDE, 2014a) and to keep up with Malta’s commitment to reach the target of reducing Early School Leavers to 10% by 2020 (MEDE, 2014b). The framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024 has four broad goals in line with European and world benchmarks that address social inclusion. Quality, however, needs to be continuously monitored and improved, which calls for effective quality assurance systems covering all education levels.
As part of the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) within the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE), the mission of the Quality Assurance Department (QAD) is to establish and ensure high quality educational standards that promote well-being through the programmes and educational services provided by Maltese State and Non-State Schools, as provided for in the Education Act.
The department is made up of:
1 – Director
2 – Assistant Directors
10 – Education Officers
2 – Secretariat
The Quality Assurance Department (QAD) carries out External Reviews in all pre-compulsory (0-5 years) and compulsory school age (5-16 years) educational institutions irrespective to which sector (State, Church or Independent) they pertain to so as to monitor adherence to legislation and ensure a high quality educational service provision for all learners.
Malta’s Quality Assurance Department in the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE) within the Ministry for Education and Employment is currently in transition to become a more autonomous National Commission that will have a distinct legal identity so as to reinforce the concept of an independent national regulator responsible for the setting and quality assurance of standards for the local educational field. This will be implemented through a newly proposed Education Regulatory Act, which is currently a draft bill and is being amended following feedback arising out of a public consultation. It is proposed that the Commission will provide the required guidelines, for the better implementation of the education policy and services.
The Quality Assurance Department is directing its efforts in aligning internal and external review processes which form the basis of its functions and which mirror the National Curriculum Framework (2012:32) “Quality Assurance is to be realised through a system of ongoing self-evaluation, monitoring and review within schools complemented by an external review system that together foster school improvement.”  Therefore, schools are now being guided to use the established standards and success criteria to steer their internal evaluation and school development planning. Success criteria are by no means strictly not binding, but provide clear guidance as to how one can evaluate the extent to which a standard is being achieved. External reviews evaluate schools according to the standards and consequent reports are issued outlining areas of strengths and recommend a way forward to fulfil the set objectives. This is an attempt to create a balance between autonomy and accountability in achieving the framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024. This framework has four broad goals in line with European and world benchmarks that address social inclusion. Malta, being a very small island in the middle of the Mediterranean might bring a different perspective which may add value to the reflections, discussions and sharing of practices.
The persons involved in this project all have extensive experience in educational institutions including but not limited to leadership and management. This is complemented with an academic educational portfolio of either an EQF Level 7 or 8.