[WATCH] New education strategy requires 'planning and flexibility'

Education minister emphasises need for long-term planning and flexibility as new education strategy is discussed in a conference

Evarist Bartolo (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
Evarist Bartolo (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
Evarist Bartolo on education strategy 2014-2024 • Video: Ray Attard

Education minister Evarist Bartolo today launched the third phase in the creation of a new education strategy.

Addressing a conference held at MCAST in Paola, Bartolo said the strategy requires “planning and flexibility” in order to enable the country overcome the challenges in an ever-changing landscape.

He said the 10-year strategy would grant schools autonomy within the framework which will revolve around plans drawn up by schools.

Stressing the importance of decentralisation, Bartolo said “we do not want to impose ourselves on schools.”

The minister highlighted the need to address a number of structural problems, such as the high level of early school leavers and the growing gap between students coming from different socio-economic backgrounds.

He added that studies published over the past months, such as the TIMSS and PIRLS studies, painted a worrying picture of the situation and it was vital to address these issues.

The erducational system, bartolo added should not only address the skills gap and employability issues, but education also centres around values of equality and diversity.

“Its easier said than done, but if we manage to improve our students’ skills over the next 10 years we would make a huge step forward, given that its our only resource.”

Bartolo added that his ministry has “big responsabilities,” but this is shared with civil society and parents, who he said “should be treated as our equal partrners.”  

The director of the research and development department within the education ministry, Frank Fabri, explained that in the coming weeks, a feedback analysis of each school’s proposals and plans will be carried out.

Once this process is over, Fabri said, the strategy will be concluded. In the fourth phase, the strategy will be disseminated and schools will be encouraged to take ownership of the strategy.

He underlined the need to focus on a number of core subjects, including English, Maltese, mathematics and sciences, and attaining a higher order of thinking skills.

The strategy has identified four core targets, including the reduction of the educational outcome gap between boys and girls, support educational achievement of children at-risk-of-poverty, encouraging participation in lifelong learning and adult learning and strengthen vocational training and tertiary education.