Academics and Maltese and English Language groups concerned about proposed MATSEC reforms
A number of lecturers, academics and members of Maltese and English language groups have expressed their concerns about post-secondary education reforms being proposed for MATSEC.
In a statement they explained that the reforms have been proposed without a sufficiently wide consultation. They insisted that a foreign language has been imposed belatedly on students during their studies and this will not help them widen their recognition of European culture or help them improve their linguistic skills.
They said the proposal is the reverse of what it is supposed to maintain, that is, that a structural change is needed so that Maltese students acquire skills needed by society in Malta in its role in European society.
It was further stated that it will not give youths a wider knowledge of European and world culture and neither will it give them analytic skills and the expressions required to live, study and work in Malta and Europe and in a world that is increasing in complexity. They claimed the reform:
(i) denies Maltese students from knowledge development because it almost exclusively emphasises the communications aspect; (ii) it imposes a foreign language on them very late in their educational studies, and (iii) decreases the importance of proper learning of the national language of Maltese as well as of English, both official languages in Malta.
It was also stated that for students to improve their communication skills, the MATSEC document is proposing that Systems of Knowledge is being given a new structure that “reflects integration and communication and cultural skills” and thus includes Maltese and English on a sole communicative level. However, there is no clear indication as to what this communicative level is, whether this is at college post-secondary, intermediate or advanced levels. According to them the proposal reduces the emphasis on writing and the recognition of Maltese and English as a language and consequently students will acquire few skills to acquire serious recognition that Maltese and English will help them in their studies in future and in the employment sphere.
They said the proposal should be closely revised following serious consultation.
The statement is signed by the Department of Maltese at University and Members of the Department of English at University (Dr Mario Aquilina, Dr Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone, Prof. Stella Borg-Barthet, Prof. Ivan Callus, Prof. James Corby, Dr Petra Caruana Dingli, Dr Giuliana Fenech, Dr Maria Frendo, Dr Marija Grech, Prof. Lydia Sciriha, and Prof. Peter Vassallo), by the Linguistic Institute and Technology of Language at the University, by the Department for Maltese and English at Junior College, the Department of Maltese and English at Higher Secondary Giovanni Curmi, the Department of Maltese and English at St Aloysius College, the Department of Maltese and English at De La Salle College, the National Maltese Language Council, the Academy for Maltese, the Għaqda tal-Malti – University, the Group of Maltese Language Proof Readers, the Group of Maltese Poets, the English Speaking Union and the Student Group in the Department of English.