Programmes for talented learners

'Talent needs to be nurtured so as not to be lost'

Programmes for talented learners are an investment in today’s and tomorrow’s young people. 

Talent needs to be nurtured so as not to be lost. 

Everyone has a talent. Our duty is to make sure we discover it and support it. Talented learners can easily turn into Early School Leavers unless they engage with learning programmes which are aligned to their needs.

The gifted and talented programme being developed by the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes within the Ministry for Education and Employment is based upon team work, whilst providing learners with skills and competences to be active members of the community.  It spreads across all the areas of the curriculum from Sciences to Arts, to Humanities, to Vocational and to Sport. 

It aims to challenge gifted and talented students for deeper learning without their becoming isolated or too specialised.

The Directorate has embarked on a range of initiatives, targeting gifted and talented students in both primary and secondary cycles. Some of these initiatives – The Junior Science Olympiad, the Mathematics Olympiad, the Robotics Olympiad, the Mathematics sessions for Gifted and Talented Students and the High 5 - Junior Mathematics Challenge – have become annual calendar events for primary and secondary schools.

Recently, the awards night of the Malta Junior Science Olympiad was held at St Margaret’s College Secondary school. 

All secondary schools were asked to nominate three Year 11 (Form 5) science students to compete in a team competition. The main theme this year was ‘water’, with students competing in hands-on practical tasks in Physics, Biology and Chemistry concepts. The best seven groups will, for the second year running, be provided with an internship opportunity with the Faculty of Science, at the University of Malta, during the summer months. 

All participating students are considered as winners as they have consolidated their skills and attitudes. Such initiatives promote deep learning in an environment which encourages diverse learning programmes. 

This initiative was also supported by the American Embassy in Malta.

The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School

The once themed ‘Education for All’ remains, but with a slight variation. According to their interest and therefore at the mercy of their own free will, students can now choose from a substantial selection of new subjects that are occasionally launched into the system.

Three years ago we took a decision to start a new school that teaches and expands the study of the arts but that also nurtures talent and creativity. Hence The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School which opened this scholastic year. The new school is well-equipped to enhance students’ high propensity towards visual and performing arts, and to further their artistic competence and ideas. We want to develop the students’ creativity, critical thinking, aesthetic knowledge and understanding of art practices.

It will be a comprehensive educational institution and responds to the directives listed in the National Curriculum Framework. The courses proposed by The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School are carefully built on practice, thus providing life-long skills, which will be geared towards employability, including those as actors for stage, TV and film, photographers, videographers, dancers, painters and sculptors, musicians and digital artists. Each art form focuses on its practices, terminology and unique ways of looking at the world.

Eventually, the Malta Visual and Performing Arts School will stage a series of individual performances to which interested people and corporate entities in the visual and the performing arts will be invited This will help to build the future of the students and will serve as a showcase of what they can do. Each academic year The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School will take in up to 48 students. Ten students will be chosen for drama, music, dance, and art. Eight students will be accepted for media studies. In Year 7 (Form 1) students are divided into three classes of 16 students each. All students will be instructed in all of the five art forms.

The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School should provide the real key to the process of creating the permanent footing in young students to pursue a genuine interest in the visual and performing arts. Other further and higher education institutions have to be consulted so that there will be a smooth progression for students who would like to further their studies, particularly if interest in students takes them to either the MCAST or the University Of Malta, both of which intend to set up and/or consolidate their own visual and performing arts courses.

Finally, the private sector is also a relevant player. Non-governmental entities and companies that make the arts their business will surely look favourably at the graduating students that this new school will yield.

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