More regulation for Malta's ELT sector

04 November, 2015

The fourth annual ELT Malta Conference took place last month, bringing together 350 English language teaching professionals in the country to attend talks from world-renowned ELT experts.

Dr Odette Vassallo, ELT Council, speaking at the conference with Hon Minister Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment, and Daniel Xerri, ELT Council Chairperson.

The conference was organised by the ELT Council, a body which was formed earlier this year after the EFL Monitoring Board became defunct in August. After observing the need for more up-to-date regulations in order for Malta to compete in ELT globally, the council introduced more extensive legislation to monitor the ELT sector, including the qualifications of directors of study, distance learning providers and home tuition providers.

Daniel Xerri, Chairperson of the ELT Council, told StudyTravel Magazine that with the new regulations, the council wanted to move away from promoting Malta as a “country with an ideal climate”, but rather as a destination where students can expect quality language teaching.

“What we’ve been trying to do for years is to emphasise the fact that Malta is the ideal place to learn English because we offer a standard that our competitors cannot really offer,” said Daniel.

“So what we’re insisting on is that we’re a quality destination since we regulate every aspect of the industry, every aspect of a client’s stay in Malta, from accommodation to tuition to leisure services. So ultimately a client can come to Malta and know that they are being given what they were promised.”

The new regulations from the ELT Council run in tandem with the accreditation scheme introduced by Feltom, the English language school association of Malta, implemented at the start of 2015. In StudyTravel Magazine’s Q&A with Genevieve Abela, CEO of Feltom, in March 2015, she said member schools “were happy to see a continued move towards quality standards”.

Of Feltom’s accreditation scheme, Daniel said, “We have high standards already in place when it comes to regulating the industry, but Feltom, by means of its accreditation scheme, seeks to take that a step further and insists on somewhat higher standards.”

The theme of this year’s ELT Malta Conference was ‘Creativity in ELT’ with sessions and plenary talks aimed at encouraging teachers to view themselves as “creative practitioners in the classroom” in order to help bring out creativity in students.

Daniel noted that there had been a shift in source country trends as schools looked to countries further afield, like Turkey and Brazil, for new student markets. “We want to attract long-term students. Students coming to study English in Malta from Brazil won’t stay for the typical three weeks; they stay for six months, and the benefit to the industry, as well as to the economy, is higher,” he said.

Georgina Deacon
Staff Journalist


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