Educational reform will see vocational and applied subjects offered for O-level
The first graduates of the reform would be in the year 2021.
Secondary school students will be able to choose between academic, vocational or applied subjects for their o-levels, the Ministry for Education announced at a press conference yesterday at Lufthansa Technik.
The major reform in the secondary school system will be available from the scholastic year beginning in 2019. It will see the educational sector move from a ‘one size fits all’ system to a more inclusive and equal program which can specifically cater to children’s individual talents.
The subjects being introduced include auto mechanics, engineering, beauty therapy and hospitality to name a few; and will allow students to achieve a Maltese Qualification Framework Level 3 (equivalent to an O-level).
Students will follow the standard academic syllabus until forms two were they select their elective subjects for their o-level examinations. Here, students will be able to choose either an individual pathway or even select a mix between the three. For example, a student will be able pursue engineering, chemistry and hospitality as Olevel subjects.
Similar systems can be found in Germany, Finland, and Austria; however the Maltese program will be the first to offer vocational, applied, and academic educational pathways to the its students, according to Director General for the Ministry of Education Frank Fabri.
Mr Fabri went on to say that system would cater to both students and teachers with different learning styles; and would allow students to have a seamless transition to postsecondary educational establishments such as MCAST.
Mr Fabri also said that the system would be extended to both private and church-run schools.
In the three years until the system is implemented, The University of Malta, MCAST, ITS and the Ministry will work together to alter the degree in education in order to produce teachers who will able to teach in all three pathways.
The first graduates of the reform would be in the year 2021, Mr Fabri said; this will be followed by a two year review on the new system.
Mr Fabri also spoke of the introduction of a new National Career Service, which will provide form two students with the essential tools and information to understand and make the best choice for themselves.
Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo defined the current system as ‘poor, unfair and unjust’ since there are too many children in the current system who are de-motivated and discouraged from pursuing an educational path since the academic system has deemed them not capable enough.
‘Equality and quality’ are the defining characteristics of the reform, according to Mr Bartolo, and will provide ‘thousands of children with the educational experience to help them grow into capable and productive citizens in the very complex society we live in today’
He went on to say that the reform was wanted by teachers and students alike. This was confirmed by Maureen Amoroso, a teacher and a speaker at the event, who spoke of the benefits the reform would have on every student.
Prof. Pasi Sahlberg for the University of Helsinki, who is a leader in the educational field, congratulated the ministry on introducing a plan which will evolve the Maltese educational system.
He also said that the standardisation educational system, which is currently used in the UK, USA, Australia and Malta have failed; and that the evolved state secondary students system has produce flexible pathways for students to engage in educational programs beyond the compulsory level.