No matter which Maltese secondary school you attended, there’s bound to be a list of things that you had to learn (probably by heart) which you’ve never used in real life.
From algebra to random statistics about countries, everyone has found themselves wishing they had learnt more practical things at one point or another. Here are the subjects we think should actually be taught in Maltese secondary schools.
And while updated syllabi like Home Economics’ might cover some of these sections, it would be great to have individual topics that would be able to delve deeper into the real implications of these essential issues.
Malta leads the EU in overweight and obesity rates, and it’s ranked third in the whole of Europe. With such an impressive (and sad) track record, we’re definitely doing something wrong.
A specific school subject that focuses purely on things like healthy eating, cooking on a budget, awareness and understanding of eating disorders and general food knowledge and skills would be extremely useful, in any country, let alone one like Malta.
2. Sustainable Living
While buzzwords like Reuse, Reduce, Recycle have been cropping up everywhere for years now, there’s still much more that could be done from a young age.
And at a time when climate change has gone from a potential worry to a very real (and very scary) thing, preparing future generations and educating them on how to properly enjoy an eco-friendly lifestyle can go a long way.
3. Anthropology: An Introduction
Often looked at solely from a University degree point of view, anthropology can go a very long way if introduced at a young age. With such a centralized location and an ever-increasing multi-cultural atmosphere, a lot of Maltese young people would greatly benefit from learning about different cultures, race and gender theories.
Also, understanding the concepts of social classes and how politics and society mix is not only very interesting, but could hopefully also broaden future generations’ minds and build a much more tolerant population in a country where many people fall into “social cliques” which they blindly (but very passionately) follow.
4. Human Rights
Ricocheting off the usefulness of anthropology, human rights can delve even further into specific subjects that are constantly mentioned in Malta but are never really formally introduced to our youth. This would include education on the rights we don’t really understand as well as the rights of migrants and refugees.
Learning about conflict solving situations and looking at some of the countless examples of case studies we have on our very island will help teens to develop empathy and a desire to help bring about change for good.
5. Mental Health
2016 started off with Malta’s mental health system being dubbed as a throwback to “Victorian-style” services. 2017 brought with it even more worrying stories from the country’s mental health system, and while we’re barely two months into 2018, we all know how much of a worrying time it’s been as far as mental health is concerned. From infamous carnival stunts and Eurovision representative songs to heartbreaking stories of people falling through the net, it feels like mental health is slowly becoming the centre of daily controversial topics of discussion. While there are actually great organizations taking care of Malta’s mental health, there is definitely more we can do to raise awareness and find some sort of pre-emptive solution.
Young people are at a greater risk of suicide, and our rapidly-changing society has slowly been making feeling utterly lost and helpless an even more real possibility. One very real solution could be secondary schools dedicating actual timetable-time to lessons on stress management skills, symptoms of depression and addiction, and even learning how to have frank and open conversations about students’ mental state.
6. Survival Skills
Many would agree that the Maltese have a tendency to lead sheltered lifestyle that can be as initially nurturing as it is eventually harmful. With so many people in Malta being dubbed mummy’s boys (including the country’s professional footballers), it would be great to have some time per day dedicated to acquiring some basic survival skills.
More of a fun and active subject that could even go hand in hand with subjects like PE, this could be less of a Scouts course and more of a confidence builder which helps young people take control of their lives and being pro-active.
7. Personal Finance
A spiritual off-shot of Survival Skills, personal finance is as vital a subject as they get. Countless young people annually find themselves in the stressful position of leaving school and suddenly being in charge or their own money (and their own bills), and a push in the right direction is as helpful to them as it would be to the country in general.
Learning about credit cards (and their dangers), saving tips, interest rates, taxes, and debt-management are all things that are never brought up except for a quick talk or two at home. A school subject covering all of these would also help young people actually understand the implications of half the things brought up during the annual Budget.
8. Relationship Values
Spotting manipulative and abusive behaviour, being aware of the importance of sexual consent, and understanding sexuality in general would go a very long way in promoting tolerance.
It would also help people improve their relationships for life, and creating a safer environment for everyone in Malta should be a priority. Also, considering that domestic violence is one of the most frequent crimes in this country, a subject like this would be as useful as it is actually vital.