Resilience to face the future

We aim to assist teachers in creating opportunities for a community of learning, through networking, targeted projects and sharing of recourses

Education+ provides opportunities to transmit skills that are not always otherwise possible to transmit adequately in the classroom
Education+ provides opportunities to transmit skills that are not always otherwise possible to transmit adequately in the classroom

Skillsfuture is a Singaporean national movement designed to provide its nationals with the opportunities to develop each and every person’s fullest potential throughout life. It is designed for learners at all levels and promotes lifelong learning since we can all strive for a mastery of our respective skill through knowledge, application and experience. Skillsfuture Singapore has been a very successful initiative primarily because it relies on individuals, with the support of companies, stepping up to take responsibility for their own upgrading.

Our own Education+, launched in 2015, aims to do just that. Education+ provides opportunities to transmit skills that are not always otherwise possible to transmit adequately in the classroom. It provides a better link between the classroom and what happens in the world outside, after we finish our school years; this includes work but not exclusively. We aim to provide a holistic approach to foster a culture that supports and celebrates lifelong learning.

The importance lies in inspiring the lifelong learning mindset, because a change in attitude is more important than what type of courses are actually taken up.

There are many challenges ahead and we need constant feedback from key players in Industry in Malta and Gozo. We have received enormous help from a substantial number of companies who have shared their corporate social responsibility initiatives with us. With an ever changing and developing world, we really do not know what jobs will be in the future. Possibly up to 60% of jobs in the next 10 to 15 years have not yet been created, let alone the skills necessary for employability.

The fast-paced changes in work practices and social circumstances stress the importance of adaptability, entrepreneurial sense and critical thinking. Young Enterprise Malta has, over the last 18 years, managed to bring the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes which teaches them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way.

We are finding support from various fields, including accounting, languages, science, Information Technology and economic literacy. Apart from the industry, we have also partnered with other sectors as well as with several NGOs. We have succeeded in forming an association through a formal agreement with several companies, such as Creolabs with innovation by way of creativity labs in various schools; Zghazagh Azzjoni Kattolika and the Malta Scout Group with specific programmes in conjunction with Agenzija Zghazagh; the International Spring Orchestra Festival in Arts projects with Ritmi-Ka and the Malta Stock Exchange with their Financial Literacy Project for students participating in the Alternative Learning Programme. We have also managed to obtain a number of job placements.

Obviously, we cannot wait for things to happen – and we are not. We aim to assist teachers in creating opportunities for a community of learning, through networking, targeted projects and sharing of recourses. We need a variety of general and targeted learning strategies to foster social and economic skills. We will work on critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and collaboration. Character qualities including social and cultural awareness must be developed further.

These cannot be learned in a classroom only. We need to expose our young people to reality so that they learn how to navigate today’s complex and uncharted reality: technical competence is not enough, resilience and resourcefulness are also crucial. 

We need an education to develop skills, values and behaviour needed to solve problems and be effective in the real world in society and in employment. We cannot afford to narrow down education to simply develop technical skills, as we need to know how to live together and practice moral values of honesty and integrity to also do what is. right. While developing knowledge, competence and the ability to continue learning we also need to develop character.

Evarist Bartolo is minister for education and employment

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