61,000 futures at the start of the scholastic year

The immense responsibility on the shoulders of our educators is truly incredible especially when one considers the amount of responsibility there is on the curriculum front as well

The reality is that primary schools built ages ago require a lot of work and, in terms of sustainability, it would make more sense to have new ones. In some cases this process has already started
The reality is that primary schools built ages ago require a lot of work and, in terms of sustainability, it would make more sense to have new ones. In some cases this process has already started

In the past week, over 61,000 students started their scholastic year. It’s not the highest number for a country, but when one thinks about it you also feel a daunting responsibility towards each and every one of them. In education, we are often judged by the collective. How many have passed, how many have continued post-sec and tertiary and so on.

But each and every educator we have in schools works tirelessly every day to provide a future to each and every one of those 61,000 young people. In 20, 30 years’ time that group of people will be the engine and energy of our country. The values they see today represented in their teachers and the adults in their lives will be the values of the Maltese society then. It’s a collective result, but an individual challenge for all.

These things are often missed by the population at large, but the immense responsibility on the shoulders of our educators is truly incredible especially when one considers the amount of responsibility there is on the curriculum front as well.

That is why I think we should appreciate more our teachers as a society and the enormous commitment they have towards our children, and our society.

Capital investment in schools

Some of our primary schools were built over a hundred years ago and they are often in the core area of the town or village. Over the past years a lot of investment has poured into school infrastructure. Since 2013 we have diversified our financial resources, funded by taxpayers, to a wide net of schools. The reasoning was very simple: in a college of ten schools you can’t have one or two grand ballroom-type schools and eight others in disrepair. Tens of millions have been invested in the infrastructure of schools, and in most cases, it also required expansion within the building.

The challenge in most primary schools are two-fold. First you have the issue of availability. You can’t exactly refurbish the school during the scholastic year. Anyone who is building anything knows that the availability of supply in the construction industry and limiting yourself to just three months creates a lot of issues. The second is the building themselves, as they’re old and were probably not build originally to accommodate a school.

We have created a number of workarounds, such as temporary classrooms. This allows the division between the building and students, allowing construction to take place in a safe environment. All prefabricated classrooms are temporary until works are concluded, however we still invested heavily to make sure no student has one less resource than they would have gotten in their previous classroom. In most cases there are some perks that one wouldn’t find in other classes, such as air-conditioning, which is present in all pre-fabricated classes.

Have we refurbished everywhere? Absolutely not. There’s still a lot to come and I, for one, understand parental concern when photos are published of below-par infrastructure.

The reality is that primary schools built ages ago require a lot of work and, in terms of sustainability, it would make more sense to have new ones. In some cases this process has already started.

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