Is it time to revisit the college system?

By an educator

Last week, I wrote about school culture and how such a culture can be positively created.  In this article, I emphasized that the role of the school leader is extremely important.  However, the habitus of the students plays an important role in defining the school culture, especially at the secondary school level.

This week, I am writing about the situation in Maltese state colleges.  In Malta, we have a system of state colleges but these colleges do not start out on an equal footing.  It is common knowledge that not all Maltese schools have the same school culture.  Their culture depends on the catchment area of the college.  Not all colleges have the same intake of students whose families appreciate education.  While parents who do not appreciate education exist all over the islands, there are certain areas that have a bigger number or concentration of such parents than others.  This is a reason why nowadays, we have a situation in state schools, where some parents change their children’s address and register them with a relative, who lives in an area whose school is perceived to be better than the one where they are currently living.  Normally this happens with parents who either live in a depressed area or else the catchment area of the college includes depressed areas even if they do not live in one.  In this way, the children can attend, in the parents’ eyes, a better college.

It is now high time that a stocktake of the situation takes place.  Each school should have its own identity and culture reassessed and reinforced.  With the college system, schools have lost their uniforms, their school name, their anthem, and other particular facets of the school culture which used to make the school unique.  After more than a decade of the college system, our education system does not seem to have made any progress.  It is about time that we start asking why did it not flourish.  The most important question that our legislators should start asking is this. Are we giving our upcoming generation a better or worse education than they had before the college system was introduced? The answer boils down to the question of what in education is known as entitlement. But about this, I will write in a future blog.

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