Innovative community projects aimed at improving literacy skills

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Innovative community projects aimed at improving literacy skillsWith the aim of developing innovative methods on how to improve residents’ basic skills in order for them to better-integrate in their respective community, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government launched a scheme a few weeks ago, so as to give the opportunity to local councils to propose and implement innovative educational projects at a local level.

A call for projects was issued, which was followed by the evaluation of all projects submitted. The evaluation led to the selection of five different projects, spearheaded by five local councils:

1. Marsa Local Council – Librerija Digitali – Il-Wirt Letterarju tal-Poplu Marsi;

2. Gharb Local Council – Connect and Interact – No Age Technology;

3. Santa Lucija Local Council – Reaching Out for Santa Lucija’s Local Community;

4. Siggiewi Local Council – Improving our educational skills: basic courses in Maltese and English;

5. Qormi Local Council – Let’s Learn.

In his address during the fund awarding ceremony, the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government Stefan Buontempo emphasised on the collective responsibility of strengthening the culture of literacy in Malta.

He referred to the National Literacy Strategy, launched by the Government, and the national campaign in favour of literacy in the different sectors of society. The strategy will be implemented in light of recent results obtained by Malta in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 1, where the mean reading score (477) of Maltese ten year-olds was significantly lower than the international average (500), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2009+) 2, where the percentage (36.3) of 15 year-olds who were low achievers in reading literacy was significantly higher than the EU average (19.7).

The Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government highlighted the fact that one of the main proposals found in the National Literacy Strategy puts a considerable amount of responsibility on the shoulders of the Local Councils, since it promotes the concept of a literate community which provides opportunities for learners to make sense of their experiences, and to make connections with their histories, cultures, and communities.

Through increased access to books, participatory democracy is strengthened. “It is of crucial importance that even we at community level participate and promote the value of learning at all levels, in order to better-prepare our citizens and our communities to the challenges of time. The investment undertaken in time on our human resources has been the key of our Nation’s success. Investing in individuals brings along stability and a better quality of life for our communities,” concluded Stefan Buotempo.

It is being envisaged that similar schemes will be issued in the coming future, in order to provide such opportunities to more local councils, for the benefit of the communities.

Photo: DOI/ Stephen Busuttil

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