[WATCH] Parents can home-school children in proposed changes to education law

Proposed amendments  include the introduction of home schooling and the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education being given new regulatory status

Prime minister Joseph Muscat
Prime minister Joseph Muscat
Proposed changes to Education Act launched for consultation include homeschooling

The concept of home schooling, additional rights for students and more autonomy for educators were the focus of new proposed amendments to the Education Act.

Under the new amendments, announced in a joint press conference by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and education minister Evarist Bartolo, parents would be able to apply to the Commission for General Education to provide home schooling for their children. The home schooling would be carried out by "suitably qualified home educators".

Permission would be issued when all necessary conditions for the provision of home schooling to a minor are satisfied, and always with the best interest of the minor safeguarded.

The law would no longer refer to the Directorate for Education Services or the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE).

Instead, the DQSE, being a regulator, would be given a separate legal personality and dealt with in the Education Regulatory Act.

The amended legislation would deal solely with the main principles underpinning education in Malta and state schools, while including regulations safeguarding the quality of the education provided and subjecting state schools to quality surveillance.

The University of Malta, MCAST, the Council for the Teaching Profession (to become the Educators’ Council) and the National Commission for Further and Higher Education will be governed by a standalone Act.

The updates are intended to modernise the legislation to cater for developments and to better address the challenges in the education sector in a simpler manner.

The rights and duties of parents in the provision of education to their children, student rights and involvement, the regulation of the teaching profession and other providers, the rationalisation of resources and the reduction of bureaucracy and inefficiency are among the issues addressed by the proposed changes.

It is also being proposed that a Student Impact Assessment be carried out in the introduction of new policies and educational initiatives.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said: “We are giving educators more autonomy, considering they are the persons – after parents – that are most involved with children.”

He said the aim of the proposed amendments was to lessen the involvement of politicians and to pass the reigns on to experts in the field.

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