As part of ongoing national efforts to promote vocational education and training (VET), the Ministry of Education and Employment is holding an exhibition dedicated to clay sculpture modelling.

Titled Il-Ħolma Ssir Realtà (the dream becomes reality), it  follows another exhibition involving oil and water gilding techniques that was held at the ministry last year as part of a series themed L-Alternattiv Mhux Inferjuri (the alternative is not inferior).

The objective of the current display of vases, plates, animal figures and other artefacts by Mediterranean Ceramics is to raise interest in the clay sculpture modelling course that has been introduced as a pilot project at the Maria Regina College Mosta Secondary School (Żokrija) as part of the ‘My Journey: Achieving Through Different Paths’ programme.

The programme, which will be implemented across all secondary State schools in September, is one of the targets of the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024.

Students will be able to study traditional subjects but can now also choose applied and vocational learning programmes as optionals at Year 9 (formerly called Form 3).

The clay modelling course was designed by Karl Parnis with the help of artist Antonio Mifsud.

Successful students will earn a SEAC – Secondary Education Applied Certificate, which is the equivalent of the SEC certificate awarded to students who pass their ‘O’ levels. It will be possible to further one’s studies at Mcast.

Vocational subjects were first promoted to secondary education certificate (Sec) level five years ago, when students could sit for five such subjects. Since then, the number of vocational subjects offered has steadily increased to include agribusiness, engineering technology, hairdressing and beauty, health and social care, hospitality, information technology, textiles and fashion, media literacy and retail.

Data released during the European Vocational Skills Week held last November revealed that just over a quarter of all Maltese students aged between 14 and 16 opt for vocational subjects, the fourth-lowest rate in Europe.

According to Eurostat, the EU statistics office, of the 19,303 students in upper secondary school, 5,557 chose to study vocational subjects in 2016.

The exhibition is open at the foyer of the Ministry for Education and Employment in Floriana from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm until February 27.

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