Editorial: Not good results

Last Updated on Friday, 21 July, 2023 at 9:43 am by Andre Camilleri

It’s only in Biology and French that students sitting for their MATSEC examinations last May have done better than their peers in 2022. In the other subjects, which include Maltese, English and mathematics, they have done worse.

One quarter of the students who sat for Maltese and maths ‘O’ levels received an unclassified grade for their effort.

Are we going to blame Covid-19 once again for such poor results?

It is clear that something is so wrong about our education system, one that is supposedly preparing students for their adult life, which for most would also mean a job. We say that our education system is advanced, holistic and appropriate for our times, but these results show otherwise.

Every year we speak about a heavy influx of students at University, MCAST and other institutions, but then one is left to wonder why so many of them leave secondary school without being able to string a sentence in good Maltese or English. Are our entry qualifications so low?

We have made it easier for students to make it to Sixth Form. They now need just one pass in the core subjects – Maltese, maths and English – to be accepted, on condition, we’re told, that they obtain a pass in the other two subjects by the time they want to apply for University entry. Whether this was the right approach is questionable.

It has been said that this makes it possible for more students to make it to at least Junior College level. The University of Malta has said that this was done to reach out to the largest number of students possible “because the nation’s most important asset is its human resources”.

But at what cost is this happening? Students at secondary level know they do not have to push so hard, and this instils in them a sense of laziness that will, in the majority of cases, accompany them all through the rest of their educational experience and beyond, when they start working. If, at the ages of 13-16, they are not made to learn that they must make sacrifices, when they become older it will be harder for them to adapt.

This is having a ripple effect in the employment world, where as more time goes by, employers are finding it harder to recruit motivated youngsters. The irony in all this is that more and more youngsters are shunning certain sectors – and this is why we have to “import” so many foreign workers – and expect so much when they look for their first full-time job.

All those responsible should look well within themselves to see what is wrong with our system. This includes the government, Church and private institutions who provide education and, most of all, the teachers, who are too often placed aside when it comes to reforms that are needed to improve the education services provided. They should be playing a major role in the revamp of a system that is not functioning properly.

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