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Malta offers free training as half its EFL teachers quit

School leavers in Malta who have scored C or above in the English A-level exam they take in the last year at school have been offered a free TEFL training course worth €250. The move, which would qualify them to work in the country’s accredited language schools, is designed to bolster the EFL teaching workforce, which has dropped from 1,030 teachers to just 475 since Covid.

EFL teachers laid off during the pandemic have taken stable jobs with regular hours in other industries, Jean Bonnicci, Director of Studies, told the Times of Malta, while others explained that elderly teachers, on whom Maltese schools have long relied, have chosen to retire. 

As in other English-speaking countries, precarious contracts and low wages (€13 to €17 per teaching hour) were the main reasons for leaving the EFL industry, but Carol Lashtar Spiteri told the Times, “My age, 73, was a factor.” 

However, Lashtar Spiteri encouraged other early retirees to take up TEFL as a second career.

“I’m glad I did the TEFL course, and the second career it gave me, and the opportunity of meeting so many students of all ages from all over the world,” she said. 

Malta is one of only two English-speaking countries, the other being the UK, which allows accredited schools to employ teachers without a first degree. While 80% of Maltese now go on to tertiary education, only some 3% of the population has a degree. In the UK that figure is 22%, rising to 44% for those in the 20-30 age group.

As a member of the EU, the country is entitled to employ an EU citizen in its language schools, though the ELT Council, which regulates the industry, requires all teachers to hold   a certificate and pass an English language test. However, as in Ireland, accommodation is expensive and in short supply. In 2020 the teachers Union complained that many summer school staff had been forced to sleep in their cars.

Image courtesy of db_oblikovanje from Pixabay
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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