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Malta eager to faciltate non-EU visas

Malta is keen to make visas more available for non-EU students in order to continue the market’s growth trajectory according to Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo who spoke at the annual EFL Monitoring Board conference this month. Last year the  EFL industry contributed €135 million to the Maltese economy, an 18% increase from 2011.

Conference opening with Malta Tourism Authority CEO Josef Formosa Gauci, Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo and EFL Monitoring Board Chairperson Daniel Xerri

"What we are trying to do as a board and as an industry is to invest in our teachers"

A first-ever ELT Teacher award was also launched at the event in a bid to encourage excellence in teaching and enhance the country’s reputation as an ELT  destination.

“The EFL sector has grown by 4% and accounted for 6% of tourist arrivals. We need to make visas more competitive for non-EU students,” explained Bartolo.

“We need to make visas more competitive for non-EU students”

Josef Formosa Gauci, CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority further expanded the idea saying there was a need to make it easier for students in the Middle East to enter Malta. “Every time a new destination opens up, a new source market opens up,” he said.

Malta has just over 80,000 international students but almost two-thirds come from Italy, Germany, Russia, France or Spain leading to fears that business could be impacted by the eurozone crisis. However, the increase in numbers from the last year has shown that concerns may have been overstated.

Launched over 15 years ago, the EFL Monitoring Board has been charged with maintaining standards in English language centres. The ELT Teacher Award is another step in the direction of promoting quality in the sector say organisers.

“It’s not the best teacher award. You can’t measure that but you can measure how much a person has contributed to the development of his or her peers,” Daniel Xerri, Chairperson of the EFL Monitoring Board, told The PIE News

 “What we are trying to do as a board and as an industry is to invest in our teachers who are world renown for their quality teaching. We have teachers who are as proficient as the native speakers so we can’t lose that because ultimately this will impinge on the success of the industry in two or three generations,” he added.

Around 330 delegates from around the world as well as Malta’s 42 language schools attend the second annual conference. Teacher training remained central to seminars that ranged from using videos and smartphones in the classroom to Zen and the art of voice maintenance.

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