Last Updated on Thursday, 28 September, 2023 at 9:17 am by The Malta Business Weekly
An interview which was carried out by this media house with an educator at the Gem16+ programme exposed how this institution is attempting to “save” 16-year-olds from leaving education without any certification.
The role of the programme is essentially to be that missing step in the process for students who have completed Form 5 and did not get the O Levels necessary to continue their academic studies in certain post-secondary options.
Generally speaking, one would expect students leaving obligatory secondary schooling as being well-prepared for their next step in life – post-secondary education, with many then opting to proceed into tertiary education. Others prefer to move on directly into the working population.
But then there are others who might need that little extra push to continue their education. They may not have obtained the necessary requirements to carry on with their studies, but show the inclination to continue their educational experience, rather than simply take up their first real job.
The Gem16+ programme provides such an opportunity, and in its years of existence, it has offered a second chance to students who are maybe not “mature” enough to make a decision on their future or have not obtained the qualifications to proceed with their studies.
We must do away with the mentality that 16 is a kind of cut-off age when one can already make the decision that students can be successful or otherwise, the educator interviewed, Karl Galea, told this media house.
Let us all remember that Malta’s only resources are human and that every person who is lost in the system is not just a loss for himself or herself, but also for the country. Giving these students an opportunity to make their way into higher education is ideal for them to fulfil themselves and also become a contributor to Maltese society.
We are in a time and age where all hands need to be on deck. Yet, over the past 10 years we have seen the government adopt a policy that favours the “importation” of workers, rather than enhance what we have. So much so that there have been several reports and surveys which have shown that Maltese youngsters, given the chance, would rather move away from Malta.
This clearly indicates that they do not see a bright future for them here. While they are encouraged to go through the experience of working or studying abroad, as this enriches them and widens their horizons, moving out of Malta completely would mean that they were not given the chance to be successful here.
To go back to the interview with Galea, it is clear that our education is still based too much on examinations, and it is not offering a way for students to develop fully as people. He pointed out that there are students who are successful academically but suffer socially and have trouble connecting with others; these students can be academic geniuses but suffer greatly in terms of social and interpersonal skills.
These are lost resources too.