Technology is all around us. It has changed the way we live and work. There is little argument that this digital revolution is not only the future, but we have only witnessed the beginning of it. So what role does education play in all this? How can it adapt to make sure the skills required to face these changed are actually the skills being catered for in education?
Following a two-year research project conducted by Mr James Catania, Education Officer, on behalf of the Ministry for Education and Employment, which involved all educational stakeholders as well as industry partners, a central research document entitled “Computing as a core entitlement” was published. This document highlighted the current shortcomings of the Maltese digital education system and the changes necessary to ensure we give a real-world digital education.
How did the need for this research arise?
It has been felt for several years that the current ICT subject is not reaching the aim of educating our children for the 21st century challenges they are facing in today’s digital world.
As from September 2018, with the introduction of new syllabi in all subjects in Year 7 (Form 1), “ICT C3” which will be gradually replacing the ECDL subject presently taught in schools. The new subject will be introduced, starting from Year 7 in September 2018 and continuing year by year until 2022-2023 when the first cohort of students reach Year 11.
How will things change?
The new ICT C3 changes the focus from an application specific approach to a fundamentals approach. This means that students will not be trained on office administration software but will instead learn important digital fundamentals, such as; digital ethics, digital safety, coding, robotics, 3d printing and home manufacturing, automation, IoT (Internet of Things), digital currencies and blockchain amongst other themes.
This new subject will have a homegrown custom certification called C3 (Computer Competency Certification). The subject being replace, ECDL, will still be provided by various service providers who wish to continue to offer this certification.
What will this subject entail?
It is important to note that this change in ICT was developed to work holistically with other digital subjects available as optional subjects in secondary schools, such as Computer Studies and VET IT. This work was done to reduce drastically the repetition which may arise and to be instead of an added value to these subjects if they are chosen in unison with the core ICT C3 subject. ICT C3 will also highlight other issues which surround traditional digital subjects currently being taught around the world, such as careers in Technology, digital ethics and the ever-important subject of Women in technology and the impact of the female gender on today’s technological landscape as well as digital entrepreneurship.
What other plans are there for the future?
As with every core subject change the Ministry for Education and Employment is putting a lot of importance on teacher training and providing as much support as possible to the teachers who are going to teach the subject. The Ministry for Education and Employment is also investing in class resources to students.
It is hoped that the ICT C3 subject will give a relevant education to students in Malta and Gozo to impart skills in critical thinking, problem solving, digital entrepreneurship and other fundamental skills that our children need to become responsible digital citizens in a digital world.