Press conference regarding Education – ADPD

 “Education – the smartest investment should be

in those in the field”- ADPD


ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson and candidate on the 4th and 9th district, Carmel Cacopardo stated that the smartest investment in education should be in those who contribute to it. A press conference on the subject on Monday afternoon in Birkirkara was also addressed by ADPD Deputy Chairperson, candidate on the 2nd and 8th district, and its spokesperson on education.
Cacopardo stated that respect towards the educators should be reflected in employment conditions that assist the educators to become protagonists in setting out the policy by allowing them more space to reflect and training that forms an integral part of their work which should also be better remunerated. Cacopardo insisted that education initiatives should be laid out by the educators and the schools themselves for these to reflect the local context, rather than imposed from above.
It is therefore imperative, for example, the current reforms in the Learning Outcomes Framework as well as the new SEC process are analyzed well so that the teachers will not end up burdened with work that disrupts and impacts negatively their primary duty as educators.
The ADPD spokespersons also insisted on the need for the education sector to adopt some continuity after the changes of three ministers in as many years together with various changes within the ministry and the education division. All this upheaval has led to a chronic lack of direction and communication. The fact that the National Curriculum Implementation Board has not met since 2019 is just one example of this. ADPD calls for this board’s work to resume as soon as possible.
ADPD continues to insist on more investment in early education as the key to the success of the whole system. This investment should be across both the employment conditions of the educators as well as in their training.
The Covid pandemic has left a massive impact on the children as well as the educators in particular on their mental health. The government should be investing well into the strengthening of the psychosocial services within schools. This would be an important manner in which investment prioritizes people over other interests. The pandemic has also highlighted the social divisions that already exist between some children and others. ADPD believes that a thought process should be embarked upon to understand how this social division enlarged during the pandemic can be addressed.
Concerning the mitigation measures within schools during the pandemic, ADPD maintains that the limitations imposed on the children such as the use of a mask throughout the school day as well as social distancing may be rendered useless due to the irresponsible actions by adults during the electoral campaign. It would be unfair that the removal of the masks measure after the Easter holidays is put in jeopardy due to inconsistences by the PLPN politicians who threw all precautions out the door. Our children should not continue to suffer the arrogance of the PLPN. As if it is not bad enough they are the ones who suffer most from pollution and lack of open spaces.
While we recognize the improvements that have been made on disability issues, it is sad to see that several children still depend on an act of charity for them to be provided with Augmentative Devices that are essential for them to communicate. ADPD also believes that professional assistance for disabled children should extend beyond the first five years. It should also be declared illegal that parents of disabled children should suffer the current injustice of paying more for recreational and sporting activities than parents of other children. This should go a long way in ensuring that all children are treated with dignity. ADPD also insists on more continuity in the support given to disabled students during their education journey transfer from the secondary and post-secondary so that the latter institutions become more accessible to them.
On childcare, ADPD calls for children to be given the education service level they deserve, it should not simply meet an economic need – an emphasis on quality and not quantity. Therefore even in the case of the service extension being proposed by the PL, the service level currently being given should be studied to ensure it is meeting the requirements while a strategy is established to address the lacunae created due to the extension of the service in a short period.
Concerning the curriculum, ADPD believes that secondary schooling, contrary to PN manifesto proposals, should not lead to specialization but should enable one to gain knowledge and skills that open up our children to new possibilities. ADPD believes that specialization should take place later on in the education journey. Indeed the ADPD electoral manifesto emphasizes the need for more avenues within the curriculum that encourage critical thinking, thematic aspects, the meeting of different beliefs as well as an increased emphasis on the arts and humanistic subjects that many a time are sidelined due to the misguided direction that education should ultimately serve the economy.
On the eve of another election, Christmas has also come early for education. Investment in education is being shifted from essential needs to other relatively secondary. In this respect one might mention the installation of air conditioning in each school with attempting installing passive and environmentally sustainable systems, free laptops to all students in their first secondary of schooling – independently of the need, as well the PL proposal regarding homework. It is outrageous, to say the least, that such a complex issue that merits due consideration has been simply proposed as a populist measure.
ADPD believes that a greater effort should be made for MCAST to be recognized and respected as well as the university. This can be achieved, for example, by becoming a technical university. ADPD also believes that courses offered by MCAST should have a greater element of training on social and environmental responsibilities alongside technical training.
ADPD believes the appointment of the MCAST Principal, as well as that of the University Rector, should no longer be controlled by the government but respect more the wishes of those who work within and the students that attend such institutions.
ADPD also believes that students should be incentivized to continue with their studies and engage in varied experiences such as voluntary work by increasing their stipend to half the minimum wage.
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