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New Commonwealth toolkit reviews Malta’s education system against international standards

23 June 2021

A new Commonwealth toolkit is being piloted in Malta to help the country assess and, where necessary, reform its education system in line with international standards.

The Effective Management of Education Systems toolkit was presented at a virtual meeting on 17 June to guide Maltese officials and data specialists on a sequence of review questions which, once answered, will determine the strengths and weaknesses of their national education system.

Where gaps are identified, the toolkit will recommend tailored measures for policymakers to address them. The purpose of the toolkit is to ensure the provision of quality, equitable and inclusive education for every student to succeed in becoming active citizens, lifelong learners and competitive employees.

Finding the right balance

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Francis Fabri, Permanent Secretary for Malta’s Ministry of Education, said: “The toolkit strives for an interdependent and interrelated balance between benchmarking of effective management of education systems while recognising the local context within which they operate.

“This balance depends on commitment from member countries as well as on sustainable monitoring and reporting through a dedicated structure that provides support, recognises achievements, facilitates improvements and strengthens education systems.”

Research indicates that while Malta has made significant progress in the education sector, trends such as early school leavers and labour market relevance remain key challenges. The Education Ministry has been actively addressing these concerns through its ‘My Journey’ initiative, which is part of the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2012-2024.

In this regard, the toolkit captures national data against six categories to assess the extent to which a country’s education system complies with international standards. In line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 for quality education, the categories range from learning outcomes to employability, budget and teachers capacity with a focus on inclusion.

A key toolkit feature is a dashboard that gives policymakers an empirical and executive overview of the performance of their national education system to inform evidence-based decision-making.

Education: A central building block

Nasir Kazmi, an Education Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, presented the toolkit’s main functions and the piloting project in Malta. He said: “Education is a central building block for the development of the human capital and our shared world as well as the fulfilment and empowerment of individuals and societies.

“I commend Malta for undertaking a holistic review of its education system using this toolkit to determine the areas in which the country is doing well and the areas that require improvement.

“Taking actions on areas identified will ensure everyone is able to participate fully and effectively in education which will ultimately support the government’s wider efforts to build forward better after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meeting participants, who were drawn from across the education sector of Malta included senior government officials, policymakers and academics, welcomed the pilot project.