School-leaving certificate revamped
Playing an instrument, joining the Girl Guides, working in the parish, and even a dose of altruism are being given equal recognition as other academic achievements, with their inclusion on a revamped school-leaving certificate.
The certificate, announced yesterday by Education Minister Dolores Cristina, does not only highlight academic skills but other competencies, giving importance to attendance and other aspects of school life.
This is a significant change given that the education system is known to be heavily exams-oriented.
With the importance it is giving to values and extracurricular activities, the certificate issued at the end of secondary school should serve as an incentive for students to develop their personality, Ms Cristina said.
During the obligatory school years, students will be assessed on their personal qualities, including their altruism, she pointed out.
"We do not want them to advance only academically," she continued, saying the certificate, which had Europe-wide recognition, would help give a deserved push to these values.
After five years of secondary school, students will end up with a record not just of examination results but also of teachers' assessments, while informal education, covering activities both in and out of school, will feature on the certificate.
Ms Cristina highlighted the importance of recognising the educational values of these activities and giving them due consideration in the school-leaving certificate.
The aim of the change is to be able to meet the targets of the Lisbon Agenda, whereby 85 per cent of secondary students continue their studies, Ms Cristina said.
The new certificate, which marks another step in the country's educational reform, is being adopted by every school, starting from Form III students and below.
It is the fruit of work by the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, the Malta Council for Qualifications, Church and independent schools, among others.