Fabian Demicoli

Education: A national curriculum framework for 2011

 GRTU was very pleased to meet Prof Grace Grima, DG Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, who together with a group of professional individuals within a period of three years drafted this comprehensive and highly commendable framework.

 

GRTU believes this is a horizontally important topic and if there is a subject which is of interest to everyone it is the education of our children. GRTU's members are families and parents. The children and youths are tomorrow's entrepreneurs so GRTU gives this topic great importance.

The GRTU identified certain short comings in the current educational system. The link between education and the labour market is by far not strong enough. The supply has to be linked to the demand. In addition to this, entrepreneurship must seriously feature in the curriculum. Both Malta and the EU need more entrepreneurs and we have to almost inbuild an entrepreneurial culture into our children and youths. Our youths are not leaving schools with enough entrepreneurial knowledge, this is something that needs to be addressed with urgency.

Also, in order for our country to have security of supply within our workforce and not have to resort to foreign resources our workforce has to be trained with the most skills possible and has to, most importantly be trained to be flexible. The smallness of our country makes it possible to draft a national curriculum, however we still fail on flexibility.

GRTU gives its full support to the framework and we will support the Directorate in the consultation process and encourage our members to take part.

Prof Grima welcomed GRTU's comments mostly since she thinks the issues outlined by the GRTU have been addressed in the new strategy. Prof Grima stated that there was never before a framework but a national minimum curriculum, which was not a minimum at all as it left no time to do anything else.

The framework gives a breath of fresh air to the education system in Malta. Schools called for their flexibility and the need to move away from compartmentalisation. The framework places responsibility on everyone. The bottom-up is given importance as much as the top-down approach.

This framework gives way to different levels and in a class tutors are given the possibility of focusing not only on one level according to the age group but tutors will be equipped with the level of the age group together with two higher levels and two lower levels to cater for the different students. The curriculum is no longer syllabus driven because of the Junior Lyceum where the blame was placed on the students if they failed to make the cut. In addition the aims and principles are very limited so that the schools can find them reachable and manageable. Schools will be given all the necessary support from the directorate to reach these goals.

A reform will be carried out on religious studies.  The need for a reform has been for long felt for students of other religions which had to stay for the religion lesson however were able to not participate. A lesson on ethics will be introduced for these students. Religion books will also be changed and rather than religious knowledge, it will be more based on the teaching on values.

A number of books were issued for consultation, on the framework, a guidebook or practitioners, the way forward and a book with the focus on science.

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