The Malta Independent 16 August 2022, Tuesday

Proposed MATSEC certificate reform includes a compulsory foreign language

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 8 July 2019, 11:26 Last update: about 4 years ago

The MATSEC examination board has launched the public consultation for the post-secondary Matriculation programme reform.

The Matriculation Certificate course is a post-secondary two-year programme aimed at preparing students for entry to university. MATSEC is responsible for the provision and the quality of the Matriculation Certificate that is designed to prepare students for their future.

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Addressing a press conference on the matter, MATSEC Board Chairman Frank Ventura and Director Dario Pirotta described the proposed changes.

With the proposed reform, the two-year programme will enhance students’ communication skills, recognise students’ engagement with a variety of co-curricular activities, enrich their European identity and intercultural skills by introducing a compulsory language (other than Maltese and English), offer unprecedented support and recognition to talented athletes, and attribute greater importance and value to school assessment.

The existing Systems of Knowledge will be restructured to reflect an integration of communication and cultural skills. This entails an increased focus on 21st-century skills, integration of culture within a communicative context, communication in both English and Maltese, the removal of project work and a reduction in emphasis on knowledge.

Photos/Video Alenka Falzon

The reform will introduce the recognition of co-curricular activities, which will be optional. The reform recognises that a number of students are involved in activities which are not part of formal education. It will consider such activities as co-curricular and will give merit to voluntary involvement in activities of a non-academic nature including social engagement and enterprise which can take place during or after school hours.

This will contribute to three additional grade points as part of the Matriculation Certificate, involve a minimum of 80 hours of participation in the activity, and will need to be supervised by a tutor. The types of activities are still being discussed, but would most likely include things like theatre. These activities will be assessed by the school through a reflective journal, and points will be awarded through a pass/fail scenario

In terms of foreign languages, currently, students are required to study a language at Intermediate or Advanced level for the award of the Matriculation Certificate. In line with the communication of the European Commission on strengthening European identity through education and culture, this requirement will be changed to a foreign language. Four new syllabi for proficiency in French, German, Italian and Spanish will be introduced. Students will be able to choose to study a foreign language either by following one of the current Intermediate level foreign language syllabi or one of the new proficiency syllabi, which will also be at Intermediate level. These new syllabi will give equal weighting to listening, writing, reading and speaking.

The reform would also see the introduction of a Talented Athlete Scheme. MATSEC will encourage talented athletes to continue practicing their sport on a regular basis during their two-year-post-secondary course of studies. The reform will recognise their effort in their sport by allowing them to replace one of the optional Intermediate level subjects and will award them 10 points towards the award of the Matriculation Certificate.

The scheme will require recognition of training prior to and during the post-secondary education process, which is not less than 10-hours per week. This would come into play in 2020, and the sportsperson would need to be a very promising athlete. These students would be required to submit reports to MATSEC, and a selected panel appointed by MATSEC will assess whether a student satisfies the criteria for the award of the ten grade points.

Lastly, the reform states that assessment of all subjects at Intermediate and Advanced levels will feature an end-of-course examination which is set and marked by MATSEC examiners. By means of the reform however, school assessment will also be introduced in all subjects and will contribute to at least 20% of the final grade. School assessment will be set and marked by the school and moderated by MATSEC.

The reform does not change the maximum number of points required to gain the MATSEC certification.

The public consultation remains open until 31 July and the public can provide feedback by visiting https://forms.gle/1wcCho4UXd6GqEJQ6

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