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evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo

Delivering firsts in education

We can continue investing in support and social programmes so that those students who come from difficult backgrounds get all the attention and help they need

evarist_bartolo
Evarist Bartolo
3 May 2017, 7:25am
Some of these initiatives are a continuation of what has been built in previous legislatures, however a lot has been done in the past four years and in education, we are truly delivering firsts
Some of these initiatives are a continuation of what has been built in previous legislatures, however a lot has been done in the past four years and in education, we are truly delivering firsts
Over the past four years we have worked hard on improving the education system in a way that it reaches more young people. The tagline ‘no child left behind’ may be a bit passé, but we are working tirelessly to make sure we give a positive experience, based on skill-building and character development.

Building such structures from scratch is not simple – alternative programmes never featured in the education system and I believe the vocational and applied aspect in education was desperately needed in our education offerings. These programmes helped decrease absenteeism rates – but, in my view, attending school is not enough as the ultimate goal is to provide them will tangible skills, and not just daydreaming of doing something else on their desk.

We’ve introduced vocational subjects in the O’ levels and programmes such as the Subject Proficiency Assessment, the Foreign Language Awareness Programme, the Prince’s Trust XL Programme, which are all success stories in the making. New institutions and programmes such as the Gem 16+ and the Alternative Learning Programme have helped make sure young people have another shot at reaching their potential. Through European funding, we’ve introduced free SEC revision classes for those students who don’t do as well in the May session, and would like to have another go in the September one. In the past, those students who could not afford to pay private tuition were left standing, but now they get to have free classes.

In terms of school infrastructure and tools, there was never any other government which invested so much in schools. From technology to software, we have made sure that educators have world-class tools to work with. The gadgets alone won’t make a difference – we must also continue building an environment and working conditions that place educators in the best position possible to deliver. We’ve achieved a lot on this front, but saying we’ve succeeded would be disingenuous as more can be done.

In the past year, we’ve invested 16 million euros in just two new schools: Kirkop and Dingli. Over the past four years, the total investment in schools reached well over 55 million euros. I’m not one to boast about impressive financial outlays, I think education is more than just how much you spend, however I do think that such investment shows the government’s commitment to this sector.

We talk about a good economy, and why it is important. An economy that is delivering results means that we have invested more in education. We can help that student who failed an ‘O’ level get the free tuition he or she needs. We can invest in better infrastructure so that our children enjoy going to school. We can invest in better technology so that teachers have the tools to work with. We can offer more vocational and applied programmes which are more personal and therefore need more investment to function. We can continue investing in support and social programmes so that those students who come from difficult backgrounds get all the attention and help they need. Some of these initiatives are a continuation of what has been built in previous legislatures, however a lot has been done in the past four years and in education, we are truly delivering firsts.

Evarist Bartolo is Minister of Education and Employment

DealToday
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