Sixth formers will be required to learn at least one foreign language and will be rewarded for taking part in drama and other co-curricular activities if a proposed reform to the post-secondary matriculation certificate system is implemented.

The proposed reform is open to public consultation until the end of the month and was unveiled on Monday morning by Matsec examinations board chairman Frank Ventura.

Matsec director Dario Pirotta

In-school assessments

Under the proposals, assessment of all subjects at intermediate and advanced level would now feature an assessment by teachers which will contribute to 20 per cent of the final grade. School assessments will be marked by the school, but moderated by Matsec. This would be introduced by the academic year beginning 2020.

Talented Athlete Scheme

Matsec wants to encourage “promising athletes” to continue practicing their sport on a regular basis during their two-year post-secondary schooling.

The reform proposes giving these students the option to practice their sport instead of one intermediate subject (10 matriculation points) from 2020.

Prof. Ventura said that these athletes would ideally have competed in national and/or international competitions to qualify. They will have to practice for at least 10 hours a week. They would have to present an annual report on their activities to a panel of experts.

Criteria for eligibility will be set by experts from the Malta Olympic Committee and Sport Malta.

The reform is open for public consultation until the end of July.The reform is open for public consultation until the end of July.

Systems of Knowledge overhaul

The existing Systems of Knowledge course will be restructured to better reflect “21st century skills”.

Prof. Ventura said the compulsory project will be removed and replaced by class discussions and debates.

The course will focus more on critical thinking, leadership and other important skills, and will be taught in both Maltese an English.

Prof. Ventura said that the course had evolved since its introduction. While students sitting through the subject often described it as “boring”, he said that those who completed it mostly acknowledged its value.

Compulsory foreign language

Starting in 2020, students starting their post-secondary schooling will have to choose one of four foreign languages (Spanish, French, German or Italian) at either A-level, Intermediary, or a new proficiency level which will focus on the four core language skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The four areas will be given equal weighting.

This will be introduced by academic year beginning 2020.

Prof. Ventura said this followed a European Commission proposal for students to consolidate their European identity.

Co-curricular activities

The proposed reform will see co-curricular initiatives, such as participation in on-campus drama activities, or student fora, included in students’ assessment as of 2020.

Voluntary involvement in these activities will contribute up to 3 additional grade points as part of the Matriculation certificate. It will involve a minimum of 80 hours of participation, and be supervised by a tutor.

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