EFL class

The English as a foreign language (EFL) industry in Malta had a bumper year in 2022, having more than doubled over the previous year, thanks to easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Benefiting from the uplifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Malta received a total of 56,675 students in 2022, a massive surge from 27,853 received in the previous year. These figures echo a sentiment shares by a number of EFL stakeholders who shared that the industry’s recovery is well-underway.

Nevertheless, the number of students is still significantly below pre-COVID-19 figures.

The largest share of students attending licensed English language teaching (ELT) came from the European Union (70 per cent), of which the plurality came from Italy (16.3 per cent) followed by France (13.1 per cent) and Germany (12.6 per cent).

The largest share of students was aged 15 and under, amounting to almost a quarter of all students, while students aged 50 and over were the smallest share. Meanwhile, female students outnumbered male students almost two to one.

NSO: Teaching English as a Foreign Language: 2022

In total, students spent 246,314 student weeks in Malta, with fewer than one per cent opting for remote learning.

The busiest month of the year for ELT schools was July, bringing in over a fifth of all students for the year, followed by August (17.5 per cent) and October (9.7 per cent). However, students only spent 3.2 to 4.4 weeks on average between them.

Conversely, students arriving in January stayed the longest, spending an average of 13.9 weeks in Malta, roughly three months. Students from Colombia recorded the highest number of student weeks, accumulating 14.5 weeks on average, followed by South Korean (13.3 weeks) and Chilean students (13.1 weeks).

Overall, Malta had 618 licensed teaching and academic staff in Malta, with the majority being female (69.7 per cent). The largest proportion of teachers were aged 55 and over, followed by those aged 25-34.

Non-teaching staff amounted to 511, with the largest proportion aged 18-24 years old.

One of the challenges cited by the industry stakeholders is a staffing shortage, which is evident in the number of teachers, which has been present for several years, however has only gotten worse.

By the end of 2022, there were 60 per cent the number of licensed teachers compared to 2019, responsible for 67.8 per cent the number of students.

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