I think that the two topics which struck me most whilst I was reading through some of this week’s suggested literature, were taken from the Education Sector Fact book and from the Big Shift index. To be very honest, I thought that at first this wouldn’t really interest me a lot, but reading through the material prompted me to go and look up some stuff from Malta. To be very honest I didn’t find a great deal especially when it comes to Education expenditures. I did remember that at one point especially during election times the government speaks a lot about investments in Education, and possibly there is a sum somewhere, but I couldn’t find it either on the gov website and nor on the local newspapers. What I did find instead though is a reference to the literacy rates in Malta and I have to say that what I was reading came in as quite shocking.
I scanned the EU commission pages and I was looking at the different literacy programs, projects and reports that have been published recently. However I also came across a report, (Executive Summary), emergent from the recent work of a High Level Group (HLG) who published its wake-up call to address the literacy crisis. This report specifies that 1 out of 5 of all European Adults are unable to read and write. Literacy is not just a number and not just statistics. I realize that literacy is about the input that people are to effectively give to the rest of society. How can an adult worker, who lives in this 21st century society function well if he is unable to communicate inside the community he/she is living in? The way that education is affecting our economy is really quite logical. If you have a person who is literate (effectively and not just simply say he managed to go through the education system) then you have an individual who is empowered to achieve higher aspirations in society, leading to a thriving economy based on the abilities of the individual. Many persons do not seem to see this. And I really hope that somehow teachers manage to see this as well. And rather than sticking to a curriculum or a syllabus which is driven by this insane need towards certifications, then we do Education because it really matters – not just to the individual but also to society at large. What really worries me here, is that sometimes our governments proudly lay forward statistics about how many people have done secondary and even post-secondary Education. But really, statistics are nothing. They are just numbers, meaningless to a number of people when the reality is indicating that schools are not doing much in this area to overcome literacy problems in Malta. The fact that someone manages to go through school, today’s school and still be illiterate…. and here I am not even referring to digital literacies but the most essential and core skills that a human being may possess to survive in life without being a burden to others… but the mere fact that someone goes through the educational system and emerges as illiterate is a really sad affair which we, as Educators, and anyone who truly has at heart the good of the country should seriously deal with.