The Ministry of Education has published an analysis of more than 200 submissions made in an eight-month consultation on the framework of the National Minimum Curriculum.

In an executive summary, it said that conflicting tensions faced the different stakeholders involved in the education sector.

While there was agreement with the general principles and aims of the draft National Curriculum Framework – such as entitlement, diversity, learner centred learning, continuum of achievement, - concern was expressed with the minutiae and the detail of recommendations presented in the draft NCF of how such general principles and aims are to be met.

There was agreement that the vision presented with regard to Science Education was exciting; that the proposed Core Science subject should not become a soft option; that students should be allowed to choose one Science subject; that well planned re-skilling are required with current teachers who are mainly grounded in Mathematics and Physics.

There was general agreement that considerable and sustained investment was required to strengthen, up-skill, re-skill and re-tool teachers and educators if the principles and aims of education as presented in the draft are to be successfully achieved.

There was also general agreement that the successful implementation of a differentiated teaching environment needed investment in capacity building; increased teacher resource allocation; improved teacher to student ratio; less syllabus content; more flexibility to a teacher with regard to his / her approach in the classroom environment; that such an environment may negatively
affect high flyers.

The ministry said there was quasi unanimous agreement that a student centred learning as well as an inquiry based environment approaches respectively require a significant reduction in the syllabi content.

SUBJECTS

There was agreement with the recommendation to re-introduce Accounts and Economics as Option subjects.

There was concern, however, on how the proposed reforms would impact the Personal and Social Development subject.

In the main there was agreement that the introduction of a separate Ethics subject that allowed those parents who did not wish their children to be educated in the Roman Catholic Faith was a positive development - although it was stated that this approach should not impinge on the autonomy of Church schools given that the ethos of Church education is based on the value system as underpinned by the Roman Catholic Faith.

TIMETABLES

There was criticism that the timetables presented in the draft National Curriculum Framework, particularly those with regard to the Primary level of education, were too rigid and inflexible and that they did not reflect the ethos espoused within the draft National Curriculum Framework itself that there should be more autonomy and flexibility at College, School as well as classroom level.

Criticism was also expressed with regard to the fact that the introduction of
the professional development time was limited to the Secondary education cycle only – and that this should be extended also to the Primary education cycle.

Whilst there was agreement on the need of a language policy there was a myriad of different recommendations with regards to what should constitute a language policy.

There was almost universal agreement that Malta has become a multi-cultural society and that all schools should be in a position to provide children and their parents with language support in Maltese and English so that these achieve a basic working knowledge of these languages at the earliest possible in order to allow them to integrate quickly.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

The feedback WAS mixed on the recommendation to expose pupils in Primary Schools to a foreign language: some maintained that this WAS a positive proposal as it provided pupils with the opportunity to develop an interest in a new foreign language as well as a foreign culture whilst others maintained that Primary Schools should concentrate on ensuring that pupils obtain a sound
grasp of the Maltese and English Languages respectively particularly given the noticeable depreciation in the command of either language.

There was, however, universal agreement that the recommendation to establish English Literature as an Option in Form 3 (Year 9) subject was not correct and that this recommendation would have negative impact on the quality of English.

There was general agreement that if the recommendation to reduce the number of hours for the Third Foreign Language in the Secondary level of education was maintained then the syllabus and content for that respective Language is to be reduced accordingly.

FORM ONE SYLLABUS

The ministry said it had received criticism that the pilot Form I syllabus was far too rigid and that it did not reflect the principles and aims espoused in the draft National Curriculum Framework. Respondents said there was  far too much content that did not allow for an inquiry based learning environment. It also left very little room for teacher autonomy in the classroom.
 
Among other points, respondents said the draft did not address in depth issues relating to challenging behaviour, discipline, bullying, etc;  Is was too utilitarian in its approach given that it placed undue emphasis on preparing students for the labour market as well as that it placed lifelong learning as an individual responsibility as against a responsibility that the State has for the provision of Life Long Education

https://www.education.gov.mt/News.aspx?newsid=220&depid=13

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