“It is our duty to ensure that the next generation has the necessary knowledge about the EU” – Carmelo Abela
The European Union reaches out to children. This was the idea behind the launch of a book for 11 and 12-year-olds, by MEUSAC and Europe Direct Valletta with the name of “Mas-Siġra tal-Ballut” where through creative means they delivered information to children in an interesting and understandable way on the main principles and values on which the EU is based. MEUSAC plans to distribute this book in the coming months in all secondary schools in Malta and Gozo and in all public libraries. This booklet is available in digital format on the MEUSAC website, in the section https://meusac.gov.mt/media/#publications
The Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela, was present for this launch. He praised the work of MEUSAC, in delivering EU-related information to Maltese citizens of all ages; not least to children and students. He mentioned that during the year, MEUSAC officials carry out various activities for children to raise awareness about the EU. For example, in practical terms this is done in Skolasajf activities with which it reaches around 400 children from different localities in Malta and Gozo. “So to speak, anyone aged 16 was born as an EU citizen. It is our duty to ensure that all generations have the necessary knowledge to be able to learn and inform themselves about the EU”, Abela said. He also reiterated that this book apart from being read by children, can also be read by so that they will be able to discuss about the future of this Union and what are the present and the future challenges. Minister Abela also spoke briefly about how decisions are made in the EU and about the importance of following what is going on and saying what the position of our country is.
The book was launched during an activity in which the story, ‘Mas-Siġra tal-Ballut’ was read by the author Trevor Żahra and two children. The book, that was launched on the second day of the week organized by MEUSAC, for a more accessible EU for citizens, took its name from the opening story, written by Trevor Żahra, about a group of animals that live their daily life around an oak tree. The differences between, the bear, the hedgehog, the spider, the snake and the Linnet, these animals, does not hinder them from living together and they show us that the unity between them helps them to solve problems. This until the rabbit comes along and trouble starts! But the other animals, because they were united, were able to convince him that joining them was better than staying on his own!
From the story, readers will be able to better understand the second part of the book, which explains how the European Union was born and grew, how it works, its principles and valuesand about Malta as a Member State. This part also gives the meaning of the motto of the European Union, ‘United in Diversity’. The third part of the book consists of a number of practical exercises, for children to practice what they have learned after reading the first two parts.
At the launch, MEUSAC Head Mandy Falzon explained that the idea of publishing this book was born from the experience of MEUSAC officials who during the year carry out activities to bring the European Union to children, especially during Skolasajf. Consequently, this brought forward the need that children of that age should have an interesting book in Maltese to enable them to understand better what the European Union is, what it does and what valuesits citizens embrace.
After reading the story, MEUSAC Communication Manager Joe Sciberras explained the connection between the story and the informative part about the European Union. He spoke with children about how the story reflects the principles and valueson which the European Union is based and how 27 Member States can form a Union in which Member States can succeed better together than going on their own. Through the book, children can learn how to be more active citizens in the European Union. The Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Malta, Elena Grech and the Assistant Director of the Department of Teaching and Assessment in the Ministry for Education and Employment, David Degabriele were also invited, they spoke about the importance of such material making it easier for children to learn about the European Union.