[lg policy] Malta;

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Mon May 11 15:28:26 UTC 2015

[WATCH] Education minister says different languages enrich the country

Council of Europe study shows that Malta provides a very positive context
for multilingualism and that strengthening one language should never come
at the expense of another
 Martina Borg
11 May 2015, 12:33pm
 Print Version <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/printversion/52822/>
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   Education Minister Evarist Bartolo • Photo by Ray Attard
   Council of Europe study shows that Malta provides a very positive
context for multilingualism • Video by Ray Attard
 <> At the launch of the Language
Education Policy Profile earlier today, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo
said that languages were the basis of learning and that an effective
language policy would aim to strengthen all the languages learned without
taking away from any one of them.

“I believe thatstrengthening one language should never come at the
detriment of the other,” Bartolo said explaining that the new language
education policy would aim to address this issue without imposing a
one-size fits all attitude.

This view was confirmed by the study carried out by Council of Europe
experts  at the request of the Ministry of Education. The study, entitled
the Language Education Policy Profile outlined the country’s current
linguistic position and possible developments of language education in the

Chair of the Maltese Language Policy in Education Committee Charles Mifsud
also explained that the study had involved various stages including the
production of a country report by the relevant authorities, a week’s study
visit by a group of experts from the various member states of the Council
of Europe.

“The visits started in February 2014, and then again in June and November
of 2014, as well as earlier this year, where the group of experts, made up
of Elidir King from the UK, Jean-Claude Beacco from France, Marisa Cavalli
from Val d’Aosta and Philia Thalgott as a representative of the Council of
Europe. The visits saw the experts visit various schools on the island and
also talk to various educators and stakeholders on the subject,” Mifsud

He added that the visits had revealed a strong willingness to strengthen
language learning, but that there was not one single solution to be
employed throughout the country.

“The study is aimed merely as a self-evaluation and it does not offer a
definitive list of potential decisions,” said Rapporteur Elidir King.

Discussing the results of the study, King said that one of the most
universal issues in the country was how to manage bilingualism, code
switching and the new phenomenon presented by migrant languages.

King commented that the issue of code switching, whereby Maltese people
tend to switch from one language to another, could be used as an asset
rather than the liability it is currently treated as.

“Code switching can be used by educators to consolidate certain
explanations that may be problematic to students,” Bartolo added to the

Referring to the issue of migrant languages, King said that this was a
relatively new issue around the world, but that countries like Malta could
stand to gain a lot from learning world languages that were enjoying an
increased presence in the country like Arabic or Chinese.

The study revealed that some of the main issues that needed to be addressed
where the general perception that standards in language learning were
dropping, the languages of schooling as well as gaps in teacher training

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