Education minister stresses home-schooling will require teaching warrant

Sports parliamentary secretary highlights need to commercialise local sports and make it more economically stable

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has stressed that the proposed amendments to the Education Act will not mean that parents would be allowed to teach their children anything they wish under home-schooling.

“The government is in favour of allowing home-schooling, but it must be done with the students’ best interests at its core,” he said, adding that the decision to create the possibility was an attempt to alleviate the concerns of some parents who believed that home-schooling would be the best option for their children.

Speaking at a Gvern Li Jisma public consultation session alongside parliamentary secretary for youth Chris Agius, Bartolo stressed that only those with an accredited  teaching warrant, would be allowed to provide home-schooling, and only after it was certified that this would be the best route to educating the children in question.

“This situation already exists in exceptional cases for children facing certain illnesses or physical conditions that ultimately impede children from a regular educational experience, but we are creating the possibility for a more personalised educational experience for those who think they need it,” he said, adding that the system could be useful to those children going through difficult situations like problematic separations or divorces between parents, among others.

The measure, which was announced earlier today in  a joint press conference by Bartolo and Prime minister Joseph Muscat, will allow parents to apply to the commission for general education to provide home-schooling and it was met with public outcry, with some parents running to social media to ask for clearer explanations.  

During the consultation, Bartolo also pointed out that youth unemployment had dropped from 14% to 6.9% in the past three years, and that the government would continue to stress the provision of better and more holistic educational experiences for better employment prospects.

“Education is not only about preparing people for the workforce, but it is about imbuing the values and skills to live in a democratic world,” Bartolo said, outlining the upcoming challenges for the sector.

“The country cannot fall behind other countries because of the exam-based mentality we have,” he said, adding that the onus now was to focus on new skills and talents to be primed into the economy.

Bartolo added that one of the measures that the government had managed to improve the educational experience was the use of games like snooker in teaching mathematics.

Referring to the American University of Malta, which will be opening its doors to students in the near future, Bartolo stressed that the development would not come at the cost of developments at the University of Malta.

Sports parliamentary secretary highlights need to commercialise local sports and make it more economically stable

Sports parliamentary secretary Chris Agius said that the government sought to make sports more sustainable through better “commercialisation” of various entities in the sector and expressed his hope that such developments occur as soon as possible.

He explained that one of the ways to do so was to create more official and professional areas to practise diverse sports.

Referring to the proposed race-tracks, Agius said that that the government had received five bids for the new race-track, with requests for proposals to be issued in the near future.

“We have to create a dialogue about how to best safeguard the country’s environment, but we cannot shirk developments in the sector,” he said, urging a discussion about the avenues open to the country.

Agius added that he also looked forward to the opening of the €26million project Esplora, the first of its kind in the south of Malta, as well as other projects in the pipeline like a national basketball among others.

Agius also pointed out that the government was looking at  various ways to combat child obesity, including through a pilot project called Progett 360 for Kullegg Madre Tereza to show students how to live healthy both through better physical activity and through better healthy eating practises.

“These measures form an important part of the struggle against obesity, and they acknowledge that fighting the condition will require a holistic approach,” Agius said.