The Malta Independent 22 March 2018, Thursday

Ministry to explore new ways of teaching and assessing the Maltese language

Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 16:45 Last update: about 7 days ago

The Education Ministry said yesterday that it would be launching a consultation exercise on new ways of teaching and assessing the Maltese language, adding that the aim was to strengthen the Maltese language in this digital age.

Concerns were raised by AD politician Arnold Cassola, who said the Matsec Board was proposing to change the exams in Maltese by introducing a new exam "Maltese as a foreign language".

“It seems that this exam will be able to substitute the present Maltese exam and any Maltese national will be able to sit for Maltese as a foreign language instead,” he said. “Imagine Italians sitting for Italian as a foreign language, the French for French as a foreign language.”

The head of the University of Malta’s Maltese Language Department was also quoted as saying that Maltese people should not learn Maltese as a foreign language.

Reacting, the Education Ministry said statements that Maltese would be taught to Maltese people as a foreign language, or that it would no longer be a university requirement were incorrect.

It said those who are currently learning Maltese, including those who are specialising in the language, would not see any changes.

The ministry said discussions would focus on how to ensure that more people use the Maltese language, including foreigners.

“The discussions will change nothing in the present system but will offer new routes of teaching Maltese to those that do not use the language.”

The ministry said the need to update teaching and assessing of the Maltese language to reflect todays’ socio-cultural and linguistic realities has long been felt.

It said that Malta’s student population included Maltese nationals for whom Maltese is not their primary language, as well as foreigners. There are also a number of students with a vocational predisposition who speak Maltese but for whom the academic exam are not suited.

For this reason the ministry will be launching a consultation exercise with all stakeholders, including educators, students and the general public, so that our educational system starts offering different ways of teaching and assessing the Maltese language.

“In this way we will be ensuring that the Maltese language remains important and relevant to our children and youths, irrespective of what their primary language is.”

The ministry said Maltese was one of four languages in the EU that were in danger of being weakened in the digital age and one had the duty to spread and strengthen the language.

Preliminary meetings that will lead to the public consultation exercise will start in the coming days.


  • don't miss