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Transforming Malta’s education landscape

Malta’s education system is currently undergoing a transformation process. It is becoming increasingly evident that due to the current global challenges and instability, and the rapidly evolving world, our children and young people are faced with multiple adversities, which affect their sense of well-being. To this end, the Ministry for Education, Youth, Sport, Research and Innovation (MEYR) is embracing a person-centred approach whereby the focus is shifted to learners’ holistic well-being. However, changing demographics and fluctuating social realities pose challenges even to our educators – consequently, our proposed person-centred approach is being broadened to include the well-being of educators and all those working within the education system.

The result emanating from the Job Satisfaction Survey, which MEYR conducted among educators at the beginning of scholastic year 2022-2023, steered this approach. Educators asked to be involved in the decision-making process and we firmly believe in their professionalism. We asked for their feedback on the Learning Outcomes Framework and a number of recommendations on how to improve on the current practices were immediately taken up and implemented.

With the new National Educational Strategy 2024-2030 in the pipeline, MEYR decided to conduct a pre-consultation exercise. We were set on an innovative approach which does not prescribe solutions since it is our belief that this is the way in which the public service should approach policy development. The Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department held more than 200 meetings, during which challenges and possible solutions were discussed in an open manner. The concept of well-being emerged as a top concern, followed by concerns on students’ attainment and the evolving concept of inclusion. The National Education Strategy 2024-2030 – ‘Visioning the Future by Transforming Education’ –  will be complemented by a six-year plan, set against a strategic foresight that envisages the nation we aspire to have by the year 2050. It seeks to empower learners so that they are in control of their future, by nurturing their physical, socio-emotional and digital wellbeing. We envisage an education system which gives students room for growth, through the provision of varied accredited programmes that help them acquire the necessary skills and competencies to become responsible, empathic and active global citizens.

Complementing the National Education Strategy 2024-2030 are another five strategic flagships. The National Quality Standards in Education (three to 16 years) puts forward three priority areas with nine quality standards: Leadership and Management, Learning and Teaching and School Ethos. The Quality Assurance Framework proposes a holistic approach towards quality education, creating a balance between autonomy and accountability.

The Early Leaving from Education and Training Strategy (2023-2030) identifies Prevention, Intervention and Compensation as its three main pillars. No single service or sector is able to address today’s challenges on its own – consequently, the focal point of the Early Leaving from Education and Training Strategy (2023-2030) lies within the implementation of the pilot-project Family-Community-School Link Programme. This initiative will employ an interdisciplinary approach because today’s social complexities require a collective effort from all stakeholders, by moving past a siloed approach towards an inter-ministerial one.

In an increasingly digital world, in which data and digital literacy are being categorised as basic skills, the Digital Education Strategy 2023 – 2030 aims at learners succeeding as global digital citizens, while supporting and equipping educators with the necessary digital competencies.

We believe in the importance of accountability as a central component of good governance. This is in line with the transformation proposed for the public service. Thus, each of the aforementioned strategies will be complemented by a set of detailed action plans which incorporate timeframes, expected outcomes and deliverables and the accountable action owner. These will be systematically monitored by the Education Strategy and Quality Assurance Department and the Office of the Permanent Secretary.

In addition to our core business, infrastructural works were carried out throughout the summer period. The Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools coordinated 12 projects across our schools, while the Logistics Unit within MEYR worked on 514 infrastructural projects.

Education is a primary component in the formation of a future nation – to this end, having a vision led by a strategic plan that puts the person at the focus of each step, is indispensable. It is with this in mind that we chose the theme of well-being for the upcoming scholastic year.

The Ministry’s aim is to continue supporting educators so that they are increasingly fulfilled in their role, and for learners to steadily progress towards attaining their dreams and reach their aspirations.

Matthew Vella, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Education, Youth, Sport, Research and Innovation.