The importance of making learning and development a central part of long-term planning and strategy was emphasised during an education conference attended by both educators and employers, titled ‘Jumpstart Learning’.

President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Marisa Xuereb, said that workforce upskilling and reskilling were imperative for every business striving to remain competitive.

“Employers need to be actively engaged in shaping the vision for education, not just as the future employers of today’s students. They must also act as life-long education providers of today’s workers and future workers who are still in formal schooling,” noted Ms Xuereb.

The need for more coordinated action and systemic public-private partnerships in training and education was reiterated during the conference.

While employers can’t predict the future they can anticipate the needs of their industries, Ms Xuereb told the attendants.

“To this end, it is important for educators to acknowledge that what is required from their end is to provide students with the skills that are required in the immediate plus the ability to learn over time what may be required in future,” she said.

“Educators need to acknowledge that learning needs to be predominantly skills-based rather than knowledge-based because it is no longer about being able to memorise a lot of information.”

To that effect, the interest of the education department to work closely with The Malta Chamber in bringing about the required change was confirmed by the Director-General of the Department for Educational Services, Emile Vassallo.

Meanwhile, the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta, Professor Colin Calleja, noted that although the country invests a lot in education, students still score low in comparison to others across Europe. He emphasised that “we can’t keep wasting time because each minster wants to leave their personal mark.”

CEO of the Malta Chamber, Marthese Portelli, highlighted the importance of the event since it brought the business sector and academia together to discuss the way forward.

She referenced the policy document launched by The Malta Chamber in 2021 called ‘Education for the Future’, wherein the importance of lifelong learning, having period curriculum reviews, developing and empowering educators, and introducing social-emotional learning and service learning for both students and teachers was highlighted.

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