The Malta Independent 30 June 2016, Thursday

Exposing children to other cultures as important as traditional education - Marlene Mizzi

Wednesday, 20 January 2016, 10:21 Last update: about 6 months ago

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi's idea to promote age appropriate school visits in different Member States and transnational mobility of young children was endorsed by the European Parliament in a report voted this week by the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Since the very beginning of her work, MEP Mizzi has been promoting mobility of children in different Reports and Opinion, including through the introduction amendments to the European Budget in order to allocate money for a future pilot project. The idea of MEP Mizzi is to unleash the potential of young children by exposing them to European cultures, languages, traditions and values through a direct contact and a first-hand experience with those principles.  This is a project intended to be similar to the successful Erasmus program but with an earlier age kick off.

MEP Mizzi's amendments suggest a fine tuning of the school curricula in Member States, so that children in their school lifetime would have been exposed to other countries and cultures at least once. "This is an educational opportunity which should be offered to each child, thus giving it to children who due to social and economic reasons would not otherwise be able to benefit of such education. This is as important as traditional teaching". said Marlene Mizzi. 

In her speech in the European Parliament, MEP Mizzi said: "I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for taking on board my idea of children's mobility. Exposing young children to other cultures will help them obtain basic life skills and competencies necessary for their personal development, future employment and active EU citizenship."

"Civic education needs to start at an early age, beyond the traditional classroom subjects and academia. The visits to other countries are meant to make children aware of the potential of the outside world - a world they might have heard of but never dreamt of visiting- and to stimulate a yearning for learning, to study and to achieve – and there is where the success of this project lies."

"Transnational mobility programmes will foster a sense of common belonging and respect for cultural diversity and for European values in our future generations. It is important that future generations are responsible and open-minded members of the society that respect diversity of different European cultures, languages and history." commented MEP Mizzi shortly after the vote.

"Investing in our children is an investment in our country's future. I intend continuing to work on this point, to make this dream come true." said Marlene Mizzi. 

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