The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

TMID Editorial: Education - The right path

Friday, 7 December 2018, 10:09 Last update: about 9 days ago

Hundreds of students are celebrating their achievements in graduation ceremonies that have been held over the past weeks and will continue in the coming days.

Students who finished their course at the University of Malta, the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies are reaping the fruit of their hard work.

Many of them will now embark on a new career, while others had already found employment before they were officially graduated. In an economy where employment is booming and jobs are chasing people – not the other way round – many of the new graduates have several options to choose from.

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Whether all of them will find the job they would like to have is debatable. While, in many sectors of the Maltese economy, jobs abound and it is just a question of choosing the best one, in other areas the availabilities are rather limited.

We believe that in this respect the authorities should be more forthcoming and visionary. We have always thought that, in the end, they should provide as many studying opportunities as possible and no-one should dictate what courses students should choose, or limit the number of entrants to particular courses. But on the other hand there should be a more concerted effort to direct students towards obtaining the qualifications necessary for jobs that are available.

It is, of course, up to the student to make the final choice. But students should be told, before they take up courses at these three main institutes and elsewhere, what opportunities would be on offer when they finish their studying commitments. As it is now, while the university, MCAST and ITS are brimming with different courses, there is little information on what students will find once they complete their thesis and get their certificate.

One may argue that students should be more careful in their selection and see for themselves what is on the market. But on the other hand it is not right for them to be attracted to courses and, once they are completed, they realise that there is little, if anything at all, in which they could put into practice what they have learnt in theory.

In this respect, it is good to note that an effort is being made by the Education Ministry to direct students towards learning more about requirements for their desired careers. A new website – www.exploremoreproject.eu – was set up to give students the possibility to undergo an aptitude test which could help them figure out what sectors they might be interested in. This includes information about career paths.

Having said this, however, it would be pointless for students to follow courses while in the dark on what jobs would be waiting for them at the end.

Education authorities, while trying as much as possible to anticipate what jobs would be available in five, 10 years’ time and try to take students in that direction, should also seek to provide detailed information on the existing job market so as to help students in their choices.

Otherwise, there is a risk that students will end up not finding employment in the sector they would have studied for.

 

In a statement to this newspaper, the Education Ministry said:  "Kindly note that on November 19th, Jobsplus has launched an Occupational Handbook in collaboration with educational institutions and employers, which provides information on 246 occupations found in the Maltese labour market, representing more than 90% of the labour force. Each occupational sheet which can be accessed fromhttps://secure.etc.gov.mt/homedir/temp/Occupational_Handbook_Softview_v2.pdf , includes a job description with duties and work environment, entry-level qualifications, knowledge, skills and additional qualities, median pay and the job outlook until 2022. This Handbook aims to provide a snapshot of the labour market demands for the near future whilst informing prospective candidates of the requirements expected for different occupations. Ultimately, this handbook should serve as a tool to guide students when deciding on their job prospects and to assist career practitioners when guiding individuals on their education-employment path."

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