[WATCH] Maltese as a foreign language will only apply to non-Maltese students

The Education Ministry this morning launched a national policy for the teaching of Maltese as a foreign language

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo announced a public consultation on the teaching of Maltese as a foreign language
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo announced a public consultation on the teaching of Maltese as a foreign language
Maltese as a foreign language will only apply to non-Maltese students

The government has launched a public consultation that will run till October, on a national policy for teaching of Maltese as a foreign language that will see all non-Maltese students required to learn Maltese. 

At a press conference on Thursday, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo described the policy as an important step towards further strengthening the Maltese language.

“Our children should learn good Maltese, but even foreigners who come here have to learn Maltese. This is vital to our national identity,” Bartolo said.

He said that Maltese as a foreign language will only be taught to foreigners living in Malta.

In order for students under the age of 16 to take Maltese as a foreign language, they, or one of their parents, must possess a foreign identity card or a Maltese identity card that ending in A.

The same will apply for students over the age of 16, who won’t, however, be able to enroll using their parents’ identity card.

Foreign children that enter the education system before the age of seven will follow the standard national curriculum. After their third year in primary school, at the age of seven, they will have to undergo an assessment that will determine whether or not they will shift to learning Maltese as a foreign language.

Under the proposed policy, students that enter the education system at primary level, meaning ages eight to 11, will be assessed in order to determine whether they need to undergo an intensive induction course before they enter the national curriculum.

Students who cannot cope with the standard Maltese curriculum will be shifted onto the foreign language course. The same will apply to students in middle school.

Those entering the system at secondary school level will learn Maltese as a foreign language and will sit for their Secondary Education Certificate.

The consultation document also states that foreign adults living in Malta should be given the opportunity to learn Maltese as a foreign language if they would like to do so.

“This is the century where Maltese is facing the biggest challenge, and we should look to strengthen our national identity,” Bartolo said.

Permanent secretary Frank Fabri, said that proposed framework would address a gap in the education system.

“Children in schools are not the same as they used to be, and we must look to open doors which have always been closed to them,” Fabri said.

More in National