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shadow cup
James Cauchi
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« on: June 07, 2007, 03:42:54 AM »

Welcome. This is a segment and forms a part of the Fuzzy Time series. For a look at a full range of the topics dealt with kindly visit "Fuzzy Time - Fragments of an Ideology"

I look forward to reading any feedback that you may have but I request that you kindly place any general or non-contributory comments in the "General Discussion" thread.

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Kindly note that any corrections would be appreciated, particularly those marked out in colour.

The education system in Malta

Education
- It is a word that means different things to different people...

To some it might induce recollections of the mother who warns the child to do well in school to find a nice job...

To some others it might draw recollections of the father who dismisses education as being for pansies - following up with the claim that it is work that maketh the man...

To some others yet it might draw recollections of the impact that a background in education, or the lack of it, has had upon their career chances, their advancement opportunities or even their chances in the field of relationships.

It is safe to say that education is an area that holds implications for practically all fields in life.

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Since education is provedly of such importance as a factor in the individual's chances in life it so follows that any fault in any aspect of the education system could have a knock-on cascading effect upon individuals' lives.

Therefore it would be in the interest of the people as a whole to see any such flaws in the existing education system identified and rectified.

However in reality education is not as homogenous an institution as some would have us believe. From the early years through to adult education, one perceives a number of ulterior interests manifesting throughout.

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The Maltese educational process (I would appreciate any insightful comparisons with the education system of european or american states):

From the early years, in Malta one notes the compulsory additions of social studies and religion (specifically the Roman Catholic religion). Both subjects are considered to be compulsory and hence a poor result in either could jeopardize a child's advancement to a decent secondary school. At this stage children are also taught in both english and maltese.

In the intermediary years one again notes that social studies and religion persist in their compulsory nature but with the inclusion of history and a science subject that is not mathematics. On the linguistic front students find that they are compelled to learn a third language, such as Italian.

In applying for o-level examinations a child is given the thin illusion of choice. One can apply and pay for as many or as few exams as one wishes to 'but' one is indirectly bound by the entry requirements of the post-secondary schools.

At post-secondary level a student is given a little more leeway... but provided a mould to which one must adhere in order to be eligible for entry into university. One subject from each of sections 1,2,3...  In  other words the post-secondary aspect of the education system persists in refusing to allow individuals in their late teen years to choose their own futures. To add injury to insult (misuse intended) while the load of study is not decreased students are expected to fit their studies into just two years.

Finally one gets to university level. Leaving aside the fact that Maltese is a universal entry requirement for a university dedicated to english-speaking lectures, the University, after requiring students to go through the grind of having to go through the previous stages, has a tendency of beginning their courses with the assumption that students have a level of knowledge not much better than o-level. While this is good news for the mature student it is an insult to the student far more qualified other than, for instance, a fail in the Maltese O-level.

The university's mature-student policies are also an insult to the studious younger ones, who find themselves sharing benches with persons without an educational background.

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One notes the role of church and state in the earlier years, moulding the future generations to fit a particular socially acceptable mould of religion and social perspective.

One also notes the rapid shift towards work at the still-delicate secondary years. In third form a child is told to choose from a number of ulterior subjects, not surprisingly including accounts and economics (commerce), more languages and history (tourism), technical design and art (engineering) and various sciences (science).

Of course, this at the age of 13 or 14, when it is a well-known fact that children are still under the sway of their parents' influences and are hence hindered in their ability to choose for themselves.

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(to be continued)
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shadow cup
James Cauchi
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 11:19:00 AM »

Quote from: etoile noir
fuzzy is back!

I am laying out the groundwork for something so I figured that discussion in Fuzzy Time is about as good a place as anywhere. ^_^
 
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the "educational" system has been revamped countless times - most times for the worse.  however its a good idea to discuss.
 

Indeed - hence why I am seeking to soak up perspectived during the coming couple of weeks. ^_~

 
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both the RC faith and the 2 languages are entrenched in the constitution.  the former being the official religion, the latter being the 2 official languages.  its not merely a matter of education but of state matters it seems.
 

Yes. Not surprising really but thank you for pointing that out to me. :c) I shall also consider the role of language later within this thread.

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foreign students, i.e. those with one parent who is not maltese, are not made to sit for maltese nor religion to be able to enter the junior college or whatever that secondary state school is called.  in fact the unfairness of this situation has been outlined countless times.  whereas maltese kids have to study and sit for 4 exams, the "foreigners" only sit for 2.
 

Junior Lyceum? Yes it is rather unfair upon the local population, but such is more of a flaw in the perspective honoured. The system could use major structural chances but those I shall reserve for the next section. ^_~

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as for the 3rd language you'd be surprised how many kids dont sit for any 3rd language at O level standard.
 

I can count myself amongst these... so less surprised than some might be. ^_~

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on come on SC!  those studies can be done and over with in 1 year if the students wanted to.  i know quite a few who did 6th form and passed their A levels in 1 year.  then again i know of lazy ones who failed even after 2 years and continued - or gave up.
 

Hmmmn... I don't know... I personally found that it presented me difficulties to keep up with that schedule. I forget why that was the case but think it came down to the depth of knowledge involved and the cumbersome project - admittedly the strain varied widely between my subjects.

No... wait... I think I recall frequenting the football field between classes. That might have been it. ;cP

 
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i disagree.  although people over the age of 23 are allowed to join BA courses without the requirements needed by 19 years olds, they are not necessarily people without an educational background. mature students are required to produce certificates and are also called for an interview with the 2 or 3 faculty leaders so said leaders can assess the suitability, or lack thereof, of the applicant.
 

Thank you for pointing this out to me (and yes I do recall this). ^_^ Still. Why 23? Why cannot individuals over the age of 18 apply? I am not trying to be difficult (and while I do have an axe to grind, this topic is not related to that axe so I try to keep that under management. ^_~).

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even if they aren't influenced by their parents, kids of 13-14 are never in a position to truly decide what they want out of their adult life. "i want to become an astronaut / pilot / rocket scientist" is about as realistic as "i want to be superman/woman" :D

I would pretty much agree here... ^_^ But my point is that it is unreasonable to effectively ask kids to choose their career at such an age. Accounts will not take one very far in any field other than accounts. ^_~
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 12:15:44 PM »

Quote from: shadow cup


 

Thank you for pointing this out to me (and yes I do recall this). ^_^ Still. Why 23? Why cannot individuals over the age of 18 apply? I am not trying to be difficult (and while I do have an axe to grind, this topic is not related to that axe so I try to keep that under management. ^_~).


 

SC,imo,many folks have axes to grind for many different reasons.If there is legitimacy in the grinding of your axe,then what is the problem?Everyone is free(relatively) to question.Everybody's situation is different.Some are more advantaged than others.

In life,many folk get bye with bluffing(Australians call them bludgers),others do it by graft,determination and an ambition to succeed.I have nothing but admiration for those that work hard and succeed,especially if financially or educationally handicapped.

On the other hand,those that pontificate about this ,that and the other   after consuming copious amounts of literature,well,I wouldn't give them the time of day.

So SC,grind your axe and be happy doing it.Let it drive you forward,spur you on.:cool:
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 01:55:40 PM »

(continuing)

Now... as alluded to earlier personal experiences with education tend to tie in rather closely with work. If one is not tieing the self to work when considering education then, almost inevitably, somebody else is, whether it be a parent, a significant other or a prospective employer.

Incredibly enough, the post of clerk can carry empoyer demands of university degrees, Advanced level Accounts if they are more benign. Look towards reception jobs and one is expected to speak four languages fluently. As of several years ago even the seemingly innocious position of waiter requires a degree of sorts.

All this has left the unskilled worker with ever-diminishing possibilities. In such pitiful circumstances one is surprised that the jobs of refuse collector or brick-layer do not specifically require a degree in physical education.

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In other words such appear to be symptoms of a nation gone crazy, with the status of the uneducated individual being ever depreciated while forcing the individual brave enough to face education to fuguratively jump backwards through increasingly challenging hoops of fire in search of less mundane positions.

Thus the person who manages to sweat it out to get a degree in accounting for a standard clerical job frequently finds the self lumped with paper work with very dim advancement opportunities as the boss's secretary has certain assets that one cannot develop without drastic surgical intervention that one cannot afford.

Thus the waiter, after having gotten his degree, would find that he or she still has to balance a tray upon each arm while still receiving abuse from customers.

Thus the person who becomes a receptionist finds that he only gets to use his greek fluency once in a blue moon and finds that 95% of all interactions happen in English.

That is... if they are lucky.

As it is also common for the person with a degree to have difficulty in finding a job... because they do not have any work experience (!).

Hence we have a paradox - a snake biting its own tail - a riddle worthy of the philosophical greats. How does a person get a job in a particular field when all jobs ever available for such a field require several years of active working experience?

I admit that I find it easier to call the system corrupt than to seek a corrupt solution to the system.

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All the above leads to one major conclusion. The area of education and the area of work require much better interfacing than is currently the case.

The solution here is easy enough. Cut down on monetary stipends (while simultaneously further subsidizing the shameful price-tag on examinations - an obstacle to education if there ever was one!) and initiate calls for private-public skill-sponsoring tenders whereby individuals may be sponsored by companies under the condition that they spend, for example, five years under employment.

This would help bridge such gaps. Other non-sponsored students would still have plenty of opportunities as cheap-o companies would still look for employees without sponsorship commitments.

In addition to this, require employers to justify every single requirement requested of prospective employees when registering a need for employees. This would hopefully prevent employers from advertizing vacancies with unrealistic requirements.

(to be continued)
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James Cauchi
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2007, 07:49:58 PM »

(continuing)

As may clearly be seen the education system is very closely tied to the field of work. Yet as has already been pointed out the system leaves much to be desired even in this regards.

So let us take a closer look at exactly how education and work currently relate, while also considering the role of family perspectives.

As already alluded to, the education system as it currently stands provides the up-coming generations with certain academic skills deemed to be of use to them should they eventually form a part of the labour market.

In other words the state plays a big role in deciding what courses are offered throughout the education system based upon the needs that the state deems the country shall have in the future.

Of course, in the case of Malta, one can hardly say that personal interests do not figure into this equation - considering that, for instance, the Bachelor of Planning course has not been offered for years - suggesting that Malta has no need for planners (tongue firmly in cheek).

But then again interests do not have to be personal but also institutional. Why else would religion predominantly focus upon Roman Catholicism from a young age? Why is it considered ethical to force-mass-produce followers for the Roman Catholic church in particular? While one 'might' be able to understand this being a compulsory optional in a church-sponsored school... after all the Church would be doing a service to society... it is rather anti-progressive to see it forced upon children even in private and state schools.

This same criticism could, to a lesser degree, be aimed towards social studies and history - subjects that serve to clutter the minds of children when force-fed as they currently are.

And similarly could be argued against the compulsory inclusion of third languages.

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After dredging it through to University one finds a new type of tyranny enforced upon students of whatever origin - the tyranny of the set-menu.

While allowing students some leeway in their choice of subjects, as with the Bachelor of Arts courses, one finds severe shortcomings in the flexibility of the system. Even at this level students find that their choices are hindered. Different subjects are placed into a few categories and should a student wish to select two subjects from the same grouping of subjects they are summarily denied this option, much as they would have been denied in post-secondary school.

This might be due to administrative reasons or it might be due to the reason that education is simply oriented towards work and so certain combinations are better-appreciated than others.

(to be continued - but debate encouraged on all points)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 11:46:56 AM by shadow cup » Report to moderator   Logged
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James Cauchi
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2007, 07:52:16 PM »

Quote from: Sepp44
SC,imo,many folks have axes to grind for many different reasons.If there is legitimacy in the grinding of your axe,then what is the problem?Everyone is free(relatively) to question.Everybody's situation is different.Some are more advantaged than others.

In life,many folk get bye with bluffing(Australians call them bludgers),others do it by graft,determination and an ambition to succeed.I have nothing but admiration for those that work hard and succeed,especially if financially or educationally handicapped.

On the other hand,those that pontificate about this ,that and the other   after consuming copious amounts of literature,well,I wouldn't give them the time of day.

So SC,grind your axe and be happy doing it.Let it drive you forward,spur you on.:cool:

Thank you for your words of support. :c) I admit that I've been keeping my thoughts to myself for a little too long. ^_^

My axe grinding is justified but not included here - well technically everything consists of different axes being ground... but oh well...

'griiiiind' ;cP
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