Foreign Language Awareness Programme in state primary schools
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The Education and Employment Ministry has said that given the social changes that have taken place recently in schools in the Maltese Islands due to major mobility in Europe and Africa, the need was felt to develop a new Foreign Language Awareness Programme, FLAP, in State Primary Schools.
The Ministry said that this programme is in line with the proposals for language education heralded by the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2001), in which the primary focus of language education is shifted from achieving mastery of a single target language to developing proficiency (of varying degrees) in several languages and experience of several cultures.
“FLAP recognises the importance of linguistic diversity and supports language learning as a lifelong task, essential for economic competitiveness and inclusive societies. It also recognises the importance of investing in education and human capital as Malta’s most important resource.”
Furthermore, the wish to foster plurilingual and intercultural competences in the Maltese students at such an early age is also a response to European linguistic and cultural diversity and an increasing need for mobility and employability, said the Ministry.
To this end the ideas and proposals put forward form part of the Council of Europe Language Policy Division’s project for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education and contribute to the EU 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (2010).
This new FLAP programme is currently being piloted in collaboration with the Foundation for Educational Services (FES) in 4 Klabb 3-16 centres and will be introduced in State primary schools in Years 3 as from September 2017.
The Ministry said that it will focus on helping Maltese learners foster plurilingual and intercultural competences from an early age and lead them to develop a better knowledge of languages, skills to learn them, and positive attitudes towards linguistic diversity.
After the Easter period there will be the 2nd pilot phase of the FLAP project, when this programme will be offered in 10 Klabb 3-16 centres around the Maltese Islands.
Photograph: DOI/Charles Zammit