No more blazers and ties. Learning should be about happiness

In schools the focus of the structure is obviously education and learning. But happiness is just as important

The blazer and tie of state schools students have started their slow end following a consultation process with students, parents and educators. All three have voted in their majority to change to a tracksuit. It comes as no surprise that students were the most vociferous in voting to strike out the blazer. We wanted to do this process in its entirety because we wanted to give a voice to all stakeholders.

Even when some decisions look obvious, it is important to go through a consultation process because one can learn a lot of details that can make the final outcome better. One of the top priorities was to make sure that we do not create additional expenses to parents and the way this will be phased out means that the clothes that have been bought recently have at least two years of use.

In schools the focus of the structure is obviously education and learning. But happiness is just as important. Happy children learn. Most of us remember our school days as memorable times, but there was also a hint of dreariness. Learning should be fun and exciting, and childhood should be free from the barriers, limitations and obligations of adulthood. Some of these children will grow up working in an environment where they must wear a suit, but let’s leave adulthood to adults and let’s focus on a child’s happiness rather than preparing, even in clothing, for a job.

This idea that children need to be almost indoctrinated from an early age and be obedient units, walk in a line and put on a tie will probably be something future generations will laugh at. Childhood should be among learning what life is about, about trying different ex-periences from sport to music. It should be about finding one’s talents, about understanding who we are as individuals and what we enjoy doing. It’s about relating all this to something productive, not just how we can earn a living but also how we can improve our communi-ties, our surroundings and ultimately ourselves. I’d rather we focus more on creativity, citi-zenship, the arts and learning to live together. You don’t need a tie and a blazer to do this.

A man from Mali

I’d like you to spare a moment for a thought about Dieidy Coulibaly. Lawyers tell me there is a magisterial inquiry and that I cannot say much about the circumstances due to the legal process, but I find it difficult not to spare at least a thought on his young man. He died in a construction incident on the site of the new Qawra Primary School. In many news article his name hasn’t appeared, he was just a ‘Man from Mali’.

This man had a name, had a loving family and had a bright life in front of him. I won’t delve in the construction issue, I think enough has been said by others. But we should remember that there are a lot of foreign workers in Malta and that through their work we have, in this example, schools for our children. I think we should show more appreciation and oblige our-selves to do more – both as workers and as human-beings.