The Education Ministry has launched the framework 'National Literacy Strategy for All' document for consultation.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said consultation with the public will continue throughout next month and working groups will finalise the document and start implementing it in the next scholastic year.

Mr Bartolo said the literacy strategy went beyond schools because everyone was needed on board.

The need for the strategy, he said, stemmed from the fact that  according to the Programme for International Assessment, 36 per cent of 15-year-olds in Malta were low achievers in reading literacy, well above the EU average of 19.7 per cent.

Malta, he said, needed to reduce the fragmentation of educational services and literacy programmes. It needed to better integrate its strategies and services to achieve better continuity. Literacy programmes had to be an integral part of, or complement the educational programmes in schools.

Teachers, and heads of schools needed to be empowered to plan and implement their own projects to provide literacy support to individual students who may need them.

Mr Bartolo stressed the need for Malta to remain a bilingual country and said the strategy addressed both languages.

As part of the strategy, the government will be appointing Ambassadors of Reading who will encourage young people to read and write.

Next week, the minister said, he will also launch a strategy on services to be given to disadvantaged and marginalised children and a policy to address those who left the schools system without the necessary skills to advance.

Questioned on the introduction of tablets for pupils and teachers, the minister said he would have a better idea by the end of next month on when roll out would start. Options were being considered, but this would not be a big bang approach, he said. 

The consultation document will be available on the website of the Education Ministry https://www.education.gov.mt/. Submissions may be sent to  literacy.mede@gov.mt