ADPD sets out its vision for education sector

Green party says education should be a vehicle for social justice, arguing that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are still finding it hard to succeed despite systems aimed at levelling the educational playing field.

ADPD says schools need the space to come up with solutions themselves without government interference
ADPD says schools need the space to come up with solutions themselves without government interference

ADPD has praised schools which were creating solutions to difficulties they encountered during the pandemic, as the party laid out its vision of education as a vehicle for social justice.

Carmel Cacopardo, ADPD Chairperson said it was crucial for lessons learnt in the pandemic not to go to waste. Research in education points to the fact that students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds are still finding it difficult to move out of their disadvantages in spite of going through the educational system which is supposed to lift them up. 

“This means that education is not being effective enough to make the difference,” Cacopardo said, insisting on the need for structures that offer help to students in an immediate and sustained way.  He emphasised the need for schools to have the space to come up with solutions themselves without undue interference and rigid frameworks dictated centrally. 

Cacopardo also pointed out that the pandemic has shown how instrumental initiatives taken by individual schools were in creating solutions to the difficulties thrown at them by the pandemic.

The press conference was also addressed by Mario Mallia, Deputy Chairperson and Sandra Gauci deputy secretary general of ADPD.

Discussing the effects of the pandemic, the speakers pointed towards inequalities that became wider and more evident as a result of it.  At the same time however, the pandemic is opening up windows of possibilities and solutions which can provide opportunities for regeneration, they said.

For this to be at all possible, a process of ongoing critical reflection and consultation needs to be in place, said the speakers, who criticised the plethora of consultation documents which were published just before the end of the scholastic year. 


“Instead, it should be the educational communities in schools that come up with agendas and propose solutions which would be tailormade to their specific circumstances.  These proposals would then lead to an Educational Post Pandemic National Strategy which proposes new ways of doing education on a national level.  In this context, it is of concern that the Board that had to oversee the implementation of the National Curriculum Framework has not met in ages.” 


“ADPD feels that this board needs to be regenerated and its remit widened to include the effects of the pandemic on the curriculum framework, one of which would be the effects of the pandemic on the arts, which are an integral part of our children’s development,” they said.    

Mallia and Gauci also gave their thumbs up to initiatives which address the achievement gap with students who were impacted the most during the pandemic. 


It would however be a mistake to focus exclusively on academics without addressing psychosocial issues and the considerable effects on mental health that the pandemic is having on our children, said ADPD in a statement on Saturday.  The country needs to invest considerably more in mental wellbeing which suffered considerably during the pandemic, argued the party.

Mallia and Gauci also insisted that for the coming scholastic year, parents should be obliged to send their children to school and that this is enforced across the board, so that no child is left without the right to an education.
They also spoke about the need of a post pandemic strategy to focus on early childhood education as a fundamental component of any educational provision.  The need to aggressively address the issue of the dearth of trained personnel in the sector has long been felt, together with the need to have conditions of work in the sector at par with other educators, they said, suggesting that the need for relaxing a seemingly overburdened curriculum in the early years should also help to make space for educational experiences which reduce on the number of students who lag behind.

A reflection on a post pandemic reality should also target the injustice faced by children with disabilities and their families especially those who struggle financially, ADPD said. “It is absurd that in this day and age, we still have children who have to depend on charity for them to have access to tools essential for them to communicate.  It is also absurd to witness parents having to pay much more for recreational services and sports facilities because of their children’s disabilities.  This places children from financially hard-up families in an automatic disadvantage.  ADPD feels that our sense of justice and fairness demands a different approach.”

ADPD said it “praised the sterling work that many educators, mostly women have undertaken during these challenging times.  Our country needs to take up the opportunity to make sure that educators are afforded the respect they deserve.  Whilst approving of any investment in educational infrastructure, ADPD feels that the most effective investment should be in educators themselves.  Educators should be trusted and respected more.  More should be done to create adequate spaces for collective critical reflection as part of educators’ conditions of work.  More can also be done to make conditions of work for educators attractive so as to lure further talent to the educational field.”