A home education association “ignored” by the government

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The government’s plans for homeschooling were not well received, with the association representing families opting for the option, saying it was “greatly disappointed” that its offers to cooperate in drafting the related law were ignored. .

The main bone of contention for the Maltese Home Education Association concerns the prerequisite of a term of office of a teacher for parents and guardians to be able to home school their children, as stipulated in the Education Act. , entered into force this month.

In a letter to Education Minister Justyne Caruana, she asked to pave the way for collaboration with the volunteer organization to demonstrate the revisions needed to make home education a reality at international standards. .

Parents interested in home schooling their children can apply from March 2022, the education ministry said.

But those directly concerned said they were ignored, despite numerous requests for meetings to give their opinion. “We have sought this interaction because we recognize that there is a lack of understanding in Malta about home schooling, which has led many families to leave to access this right,” said MHEA.

According to the Education Law, passed in 2019, parents should have a teaching mandate and a license.

They can now send their own children to school as long as they also have a valid reason, for example in the case of families who move frequently and parents who constantly travel because of their work.

Parents should also present an educational program and a program that includes elements of social and physical education to prevent students from sitting behind a screen.

The association – active since 2016 and defending the principle that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children – also underlined the absence of the right of recourse, or appeal, in the event of failure of a demand, with an increased risk of heavy loads. fines for non-compliant.

As the law currently stands, Maltese families will not have the same access to home schooling as in Europe, the United States, Canada and other countries where it is accepted that children homeschooled attend programs that do not require parents to hold a teaching qualification.

“It’s not a school setting; it shouldn’t look like it either. The role of the educator is to connect students to learning pathways, often through accredited programs, leading to higher and further studies, ”he explained.

Home schooling has enabled families to provide their children with an education by encouraging curiosity, natural discovery processes and critical thinking.

Records show that home-schooled children continue their education and training, excelling in higher education because they are accustomed to conducting research and can quickly grasp university learning standards, the MHEA said.

“Free and compulsory education is a worthy privilege to which every child is entitled. Yet in Malta in the 21st century we are still in a position where most families do not have the right to choose the type of education their children receive.

By clarifying the opening date for applications to the Directorate of Quality and Standards of Education from March 1, the Ministry of Education had also stressed that home schooling was “not a way. learning alternative to keep children at home during extraordinary events such as a pandemic ”. .

The MHEA, in turn, welcomed all measures to protect vulnerable children and youth, affirming the need for necessary follow-up to ensure that homeschooled children receive the real education their parents claim to be.

To date, specifies the association, she has received no response and no acknowledgment of receipt to her letter from the educational authorities.

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