As of the next scholastic year, state schools all over Malta will be discontinuing mid-year exams. Taking their place will be an assessment system which sees students spending an extra 50 hours in the classroom.
The permanent secretary at the Education Ministry Frank Fabri made the announcement while speaking on national morning programme TVAM.
This comes after an agreement between the government and the Malta Union of Teachers on the 21st of December, the full details of which will be announced later. What Frank Fabri did say, however, is that an in-depth reviewing of all syllabi shall be carried out. It had also been reported that a pay rise for educators will be included within this agreement.
This comes after years of complaints from teachers and parents alike about the relevance of certain teaching methods, with the mid-yearly exams being at the heart of these concerns.
“What made sense 25 years ago may not necessarily be suitable now,” Fabri said this morning.
A task force will be set up to oversee the implementation of the new provisions, and the whole process is expected to take some four years. “The ultimate aim is to raise respect for the teaching profession,” Fabri said. In fact, the exclusion of the mid-year exams will give teachers more time to focus on their teaching.
The Education Ministry permeant secretary said that teachers will also be expected to undergo several hours of training. In fact, once 360 hours of training are accumulated over six years, teachers can progress from one pay scale to another. The current process to going up a pay scale is eight years, so this would be another initiative for the teachers to voluntarily undergo these training sessions.
While Maltese teachers will be informed in the coming days what the full provisions include, Frank Fabri did also mention new policies on homework and inclusion in the pipeline. Such initiatives include explaining to parents that more homework does not necessarily mean a better teacher.
The decision has already gotten a slew of positive reactions from Maltese teachers and parents alike. Times of Malta’s readers took to Facebook to express their relief that mid-year exams are on the way out for state schools.
Other people were still a bit hesitant, with one reader saying exams should be conducted three times a year (December, March and June) for students to have “less material to study but the topic studied would be assessed in greater detail.” One other reader said that, while she agreed with the decision, she hoped it would soon extend onto private schools too.