Education: a hostage of the market

CARMEL CACOPARDO |

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The discourse on the subject of education is centred on forcing students into following the diktats of the market: the skills gap needs to be addressed. The assumption is that the market is some kind of given – independent of everything else – that invisible hand that is directing our lives. The major institution in this sector in Malta is MCAST (The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology). Originally established in the 1960s through funding and support from UNESCO, it developed into an institution offering degree courses in business and engineering, amongst other new areas of study. Instead of encouraging it to develop and flourish with its own particular ethos and identity, it was abruptly absorbed into the University of Malta as a result of reforms in the late 1970s – the student-worker scheme! Arguments for and against this absorption are plenty. What is sure, however, is that a particular style and mode of education was lost for over 20 years and technically inclined students who followed courses at technical institutes instead of in sixth forms – with their rigid and uninspiring desk-based teaching – found themselves practically shunned by places of higher education.

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