While the idea of home schooling was proposed as an amendment to the Education Act, it appears that there is a lack of agreement between the Malta Home Education Association and the educational authorities which are insisting that parents should have a teacher’s warrant to be able to educate their children. The association, which is comprised of six families, was set up three months ago to promote the concept of home schooling.
In Malta it is obligatory for children to go to school until the age of 16. However, in various countries there are alternative models including home education where parents teach their own children.
Maria Galea from the Malta Home Education Association, who wishes this concept to be introduced in Malta as well, said that there are many reasons why parents would choose home schooling for their children.
“We want to have a better relationship with our children and to pass on what we really believe in, in other words we want to teach them to be fully-formed people, with character, by passing on our values to them”.
Maria Galea said that in no way should this be seen as reflecting badly on the scholastic system. She added that through home schooling, parents have to teach the basics, and there are many curricula one can use. She explained that as they get older the children are given guidelines to study alone.
“When we go to University, when we go to lectures, lecturers give you guidelines, but it is not enough, you need to go home and continue carrying out research, and learn how to come up with a complete picture. This is the same thing with our children,” said Mrs Galea.
Speaking about the difficulties which children can meet up with during their studies, Mr Galea said that there are many resources and abroad, with parents joining forces to offer assistance in various subjects to each other’s children. She said that in Malta there appears to be the political will to introduce the concept of Home Education but the educational authorities are insisting that the parents have to have a teacher’s warrant.
“The Minister will have to decide what the basic education requirement should be. We know teachers who are teaching with just two A levels, so that is acceptable, if you stipulate that a parent needs two A levels or an undergraduate degree, but don’t ask for a teacher’s warrant because we are not studying to become teachers in a classroom,” said Galea.
Maria Galea has denied the criticism that with home education, children lose the opportunity to socialize in class. She argued that home schooling makes children more independent while extra curricular activities including sports and cultural outings, will still help them with socialization.