Over 450 courses across 72 different subjects will make up the Lifelong Learning programme for the upcoming scholastic year, the Education Ministry announced on Wednesday.
In a press conference at Valletta’s National Archaeology Museum, details on the programme – which includes a number of new initiatives – were shared by Education Minister Justyne Caruana and senior manager within the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning, and Employability Christianne Gatt Fenech.
Minister Caruana said that these are “exciting times” for the country’s educational system, as new initiatives and strategies show how proactive the approach to education is.
The Lifelong Learning Programme is merely a link in the chain of a “strong and robust educational system” which has to be the country’s backbone.
She said that the first day of Skola Sajf on Tuesday had seen a record of over 8,700 children attend, and that today’s focus is on adults and ensuring that they continue to learn and fulfil their potential.
“In 2019, we had 11.9% of those between the ages of 25 and 64 who chose to continue learning. These are encouraging numbers, but we need to increase them – and that is the directorate’s mission”, she said.
Giving details about the new initiatives in the programme, Gatt Fenech explained that the directorate will be providing a system which is a lot more flexible – an aspect which was amplified during the past year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said that an internet hub at one of their centres in Msida will be opened to help adults who do not have access to equipment or internet or do not have a comfortable space to work in.
Non-synchronised courses will also offer a different mode of learning, where the student can follow the course at their own pace and in their own time. A special guidance team will also be available to help adults realise their educative wishes through the programme.
An informal programme will also be opened, incorporating a number of informal informational or even debate sessions on a variety of different subjects.
The new LOTS – Lifetime Opportunity Training for Success – programme will also incorporate subjects to help those who would like to change their career course or continue training. Fashion design, for instance, will be amongst the new subjects.
The programme will be split up in six categories, with 72 different subjects and over 450 courses, Gatt Fenech explained.
Beginner courses for English, Maltese, Maths and ICT courses will be opened, while courses on 13 different languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Russian, and Spanish will also be opened at various levels ranging from first level to MATSEC advanced level.
Courses on improving education and career prospects in fields such as accounting, automotive engineering, customer care, Java programming, and metal work amongst others will also be part of the programme, as will more life-related courses such as cooking techniques, health and wellbeing, and leadership.
A number of other, more hobby-based courses will focus on photography, card making, bobbin lace, woodwork, and sewing amongst others.
A new initiative included in the programme, Gatt Fenech explained, is a BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – programme, which encourages people to bring their own technological devices if they need to be taught on how to use them effectively.
Applications are open for all those over the age of 15, and the directorate is currently manning a stand welcoming applicants outside Parliament. Alternatively, one can also apply through the Education Department building in Floriana, local councils in Malta and Gozo, or on www.lifelonglearning.gov.mt or servizz.gov.