Various schools have existed in Malta since the 1300s,
but only in 1946 became compulsory primary school, and in
1971 free high school for all. It is compulsory school for
anyone aged 5-16. The majority of the Maltese education
system has been British influenced. It is a 6-year primary
school and a 7-year high school. Free university education
was introduced in 1970 and offered by The University of
Malta (founded 1592). See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Malta.
In May 2011, a 53% referendum on divorce agreed to allow
divorce in the country. Malta and the Vatican had until then
been the only states in Europe where divorce was prohibited.
In January 2012, Standard & Poors downgrades Malta's
credit rating and the IMF declares that the country may be
dragged further into the crisis.
The Gonzi government came into minority in December 2012
when one of its own voted against the 2013 Finance Act in
protest against the government having allowed a German
company to take over the operation of the country's bus
system. Gonzi therefore printed new elections for March.
In 2012, the number of boat refugees increased by 28%
from 1577 (in 2011) to 2023. Despite the country's
ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights,
internal undocumented refugees continued for up to 18 months
automatically. Unaccompanied children were also interned.
The conditions in both the closed and the open refugee
centers continued to be unworthy of people. The judiciary
dealt with the killing of 2 refugees in 2011 and 12
perpetrated by Maltese officials.
The March 2013 parliamentary elections were a disaster
for the ruling Nationalist Party, falling 6% to 43.3%. The
Social Democracy rose 6% to 54.8% and the party's leader
Joseph Muscat became new prime minister.
In April 2014, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca was appointed
by Parliament as new president.
The number of refugees arriving in the country in 2015
dropped dramatically compared to the previous year. In
particular, the reason was that the flow of refugees was
concentrated in the eastern Mediterranean, and boat refugees
were most often landed in Italy. In January 2015, a ship
with 122 refugees from sub-Saharan countries floated around
the central Mediterranean for 8 days. By the time it reached
Maltese waters, 35 had died or disappeared into the sea.
Malta participates in the EU's Frontex program, which
patrols the Union's land and sea borders. By November, the
country had received 1561 asylum applications. Only 104 of
these came from boat refugees.
In the review of the so-called Panama Papers on rich
Westerners' use of tax havens in Panama in April 2016, it
was revealed in April 2016 that Minister of Energy and
Health Konrad Mizzi was mentioned in the Panama Papers. He
resigned from his post of minister but continued in the
prime minister's office. The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff
Keith Schembri was also involved in the scandal. The
revelations were made primarily by blogger Daphne Caruana
Galizia. In April 2017, she was able to present new
disclosures that linked the Prime Minister and Mizzi with
Brian Neonna, the BT Nexia Director, attached to Mossack
Fonseca. The prime minister then convened a press conference
calling for an in-depth investigation into Galicia's
allegations, did not say he had done anything wrong and
called the allegation the "biggest lie in Malta's political
history". In October, Galizia was killed by a car bomb. This
was the 6th car bomb since 2016 and the 4th with deadly
output. Galizia had many enemies. Not only in the Labor
Party, which she had linked to tax fraud, but also in the
Nationalist Party. In mid-2017, she criticized party leader
Adrian Delia for being a lawyer for a company that operated
a prostitution ring. The murder of Galizia sparked
international condemnation. One week later, the European
Parliament held a minute's silence in memory of her, and
Pope Frans sent a letter of condolence, writing that he
prayed for the family of Galicia and for the people of