During 2005 the number of foreign students attending English language courses registered an increase of nearly 11 per cent over the previous year, totalling 61,607 students.
There were 39 English language schools in operation last year. The increase was of 6,029 students over the previous year. Both males' and females' participation increased over 2004, yet females continued to maintain the majority with 56.6 per cent of all the student population.
These statistics result from figures published by the National Statistics Office.
The 16-17 age group had the highest number of students, namely 12,694 or 20.6 per cent. In 2005 the lowest number fell under the 26-30 year old age group with 7,118 students or 11.6 per cent. The age group '15 and under' showed a considerable increase of 2,644 students or 36.5 per cent over the previous year.
Once again, the highest number of students came from Germany accounting for 25.8 per cent of all students. Italy followed with 17.1 per cent, France with 13.0 per cent and Russia with 8.7 per cent. Austrian students accounted for 7.6 per cent of all the students. Whilst, the popularity of students coming from such countries has been constant over the last years, there were also other increases in students coming from a number of other countries. In 2005 3,156 students came from Switzerland, 2,819 from Spain, 1,189 from Sweden, 1,129 from the Czech Republic, 1,093 from Poland, 950 from Japan, 992 from Turkey, 639 from Hungary and 436 from China.
European students made up 94.1 per cent of all foreign English language students, with 71.9 per cent coming from European Union countries, a decrease of 2.2 per cent over the previous year. Students from other European countries accounted for 22.2 per cent the same as in 2004. Asia represented 4.5 per cent, Africa 0.84 per cent and America 0.4 per cent.
Interestingly, there were 43 students coming from English speaking countries namely Canada and the United Kingdom.
Foreign students accounted for 5.3 per cent of the total number of tourists visiting Malta during 2005, a slight increase of 0.4 per cent over 2004. Yet this percentage rose up to 9.4 per cent when calculated over the total number of tourist coming from non English speaking countries (the UK, US, Canada, Australia) only.
In 2005, in the case of some countries the percentage of students over corresponding tourists was considerably high. For example, Slovak students accounted for 46.7 per
cent of all tourists coming from Slovakia, Russian students accounted for 32.1 per cent of all tourists coming from Russia, Polish students accounted for 21.8 per cent of all tourists coming from Poland and Ukrainian students accounted for 21.1 per cent of all tourists coming from Ukraine.
Most students studying English language arrived during the summer season. Students arriving in July, August and September accounted for 60.5 per cent of all students while 30.8 per cent of students came to Malta during the shoulder months, March, April, May, June and October. Only 8.7 per cent of students attended English language courses during the winter season.
Despite having the highest population of students in summer, the longest duration of the students' period in Malta for the learning of English, was in winter. This stood at 3.4 weeks per student, whilst in shoulder and in the summer period the average number of students' weeks was 2.4 and 2.3 respectively. Male students stayed slightly longer than females in Malta, with an average number of 2.6 weeks. Females stayed for an average of 2.3 weeks.
Students between the age of 21-25 had the longest stay in Malta with an average duration of 3.1 weeks, whilst students aged 15 years and under and students aged 31 years and over had the shortest stay with an average duration of 1.9 weeks per student.
Libyan students with 8.8 weeks, were reported to have the highest number of weeks per student, whilst Austrians were reported to have the shortest stay with an average of 1.5 weeks per student.