A compulsory foreign language and intermediate sports amongst changes in Matsec review

The Systems of Knowledge subject will no longer include the year-long project

Students will have to choose a compulsory language among Spanish, Italian, German and French
Students will have to choose a compulsory language among Spanish, Italian, German and French

A proposed Matsec reform will see the introduction of a compulsory foreign language as well as the practice of a sport to replace an intermediate subject in Sixth Form if students are willing.

Another reform will see that part of the final grading of all subjects at intermediate and Advanced levels will include a teacher's assessment of individual students, contributing to 20% of the grade. School assessments will be marked by the school, but moderated by Matsec. This would be introduced by the academic year beginning 2020.

The proposed reform is open to public consultation and was announced by Matsec Examinations Board Chairman Frank Ventura at a press conference on Monday.

Ventura said that Matsec would be encouraging "promising athletes" to follow their passion in their respective sports during the two sixth form years. Doing so will exempt them from studying for one of the four usually compulsory intermediate subjects. Practicing their sport and ideally competing in national and international competitions along with practicing at least 10 hours per week will earn them 10 matriculation points.

Criteria for eligibility will be set by experts from the Malta Olympic Committee and Sport Malta.

The contentious Systems of Knowledge subject will also go through some changes and will aim to better reflect "21st Century skills."

The compulsory project that comes with this subject will be removed and replaced by debates and participation in class. The course will focus on critical thinking, leadership and other practicable skills, taught in both English and Maltese, Ventura said.

This will be taught in both Maltese an English.

Along with these changes, a compulsory foreign language is proposed. Starting in 2020, post-secondary students will choose one amongst four languages: Spanish, French, German or Italian at either Advanced level or intermediate level.

Ventura said this followed a European Commission proposal for students to consolidate their European identity.

The proposed reform will see co-curricular initiatives, such as participation in on-campus drama activities, or student fora, included in students’ assessment as of 2020.

The voluntary involvement in these activities will contribute up to 3 additional grade points as part of the Matriculation certificate. It will involve a minimum of 80 hours of participation.

A feedback form for the Matsec review is available online here.