Raising the standards in English language use in Malta – Education Ministry

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Raising the standards in English language use in Malta - Education MinistryA programme of the Ministry for Education and Employment announces strategic collaboration with Cambridge English, UK, to strengthen the teaching of scientific literacy through English

The Ministry said that the English Language has a special status in bilingual Malta and plays an important role in a number of economic, educational, cultural, and professional contexts. There are persistent concerns about the standards in English Language use, within the school system, the media and beyond.

The Ministry for Education acknowledges these concerns and said that it is embarking on an ambitious and rigorous programme and campaign for the maintenance and the raising of standards in English Language use in Malta.

In the first instance there will be a structured and focused enquiry into the multifaceted and complex situation of English language use in Maltese schools. In conjunction with Cambridge English, UK, a review of the current levels of English Language proficiency of Maltese school age students is to be conducted. The purpose of this review is to report on the levels of English language competence of learners according to international standards.

Cambridge English Language Assessment, UK delivers over 4 million language assessments every year and has worked with governments and organisations around the world, including commonwealth countries, on similar projects.

A reliable evaluation of the current standards in English Language proficiency in Maltese schools will be conducted to enable the Ministry to set realistic and achievable targets for future English learning and teaching in the National Language Policy in Education.

An integrated solution is being sought in order to raise standards and enhance student learning outcomes. Through a well-defined language policy and strategy as well as an analysis of baseline diagnostics, a number of important sectors will be reviewed and a clear implementation plan drawn up., the Ministry said.

This will include English curriculum design, actual teaching and learning of English in schools, materials and resources, teacher preparation and development. Emphasis will also be put on institutional capacity building in order to allow Malta to maintain the special status of English and to ensure high levels of proficiency which provide it with a cutting edge in its international dealings.

The Ministry said that positive attitudes towards both English and Maltese are to be encouraged systematically. Specific consideration will be given to improving communicative competence and how the English Language could be better activated in a variety of contexts.

“For Malta to strengthen its economic position in the world market, it needs to continue developing a world-class quality education system. The attainment of scientific literacy must be viewed as central to education reform in Malta. This is to be considered as a way of empowering citizens towards economic gain.”

A scientifically-literate Maltese public can enhance Malta’s market position, the Ministry said. “Extensive science knowledge is written in English and needs to be readily accessible. Therefore Malta is to strengthen the imparting of science education through English as the Medium of Instruction (EMI). English and scientific literacy must be core elements of both school education and teacher education if economic advancement is to be a national focus for international engagement.”

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