Editorial: Investing in quality education

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Malta, like most other EU Member States, faces skills shortages, particularly in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and ICT. So far, this serious handicap to sustainable economic growth has been remedied by recruiting highly qualified foreign workers. Now is the time to challenge the acceptance of low levels of achievement in our education system.

No country will maintain or improve the quality of higher education simply by maintaining the status quo.

Education policymakers must begin to disrupt orthodoxies and complacency in the higher education sector to ensure that relevance and quality are built into the systems that prepare our young people for the realities of complex workplaces in the world. ‘today.

The news that the Junior College will offer four-year courses for students to complete their studies is a step in the right direction. The reason for this change was described as a necessity to accommodate students who have become breadwinners due to struggling family conditions. While these grim realities call for a long-overdue debate about the well-being of our society, the focus on how higher education should be improved must remain a broader priority.

The underperformance of our education system has become an endemic challenge and has shown little improvement over the past three decades.

Although financial investment in public education is at EU average levels, Malta still has one of the highest levels of school dropouts and one of the lowest levels of education students superior in STEM courses.

New skills needs are emerging as part of the green and digital transitions of EU society. Malta must ensure that our investment in education pays off by ensuring the continuous development of the skills needed to remain economically competitive on a global scale.

New skills needs are emerging as part of the green and digital transitions of EU society

While different administrations have tried to improve education KPIs, employers still complain that many graduates they hire lack basic skills such as writing, problem solving and thinking. critical. These are the skills that all academics and functional business leaders rank among the essential goals for a college graduate.

Improving graduation rates and levels of education statistics will be for naught if students do not learn the skills that improve their career prospects.

Educators have a critical role to play in ensuring that our investment in higher education pays off in delivering the highest quality higher education to all students. It is not enough for academics to believe that it should be enough to say to the world, as they have done for many generations, “trust us, we are academics, we are experts at what we do, you can trust us to continue our work and deliver. So please don’t interfere with our work.

Educators in the public and private sectors need to listen more to what other stakeholders in the education system have to say about what they want from investment in education.

Taxpayers will be more inclined to spend more on public education if they seek better value for money from public investments in higher education. This is a reasonable expectation as severe budgetary restrictions and a series of competing priorities mean that every euro spent on education must give a return.

The pressure is on higher education officials to deliver tangible results in different ways.

Higher education institutions must accept pragmatic regulation and independent quality assessment to meet the accountability expectations of taxpayers.

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