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The education system in Malta
- 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.
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.
-----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.
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.
(to be continued)