Educational Disadvantage Centre and the Maltese National Strategy on Early Leaving from Education and Training
Dr Eemer Eivers, Senior Research Associate, Educational Disadvantage Centre and Director of DCU Futures Evaluation and Professor Paul Downes, Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre in DCU's Institute of Education were expert advisors for the Maltese Education Ministry's recently published Early Leaving from Education and Training National Strategy 2022-2030, A Holistic and Inclusive Approach to Tackle Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET) in Malta.
The strategy is largely based on recommendations from a review of Maltese policy and practice, commissioned by the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service, and completed by Dr Eivers.
Key features of the new national strategy include adopting a whole school approach to addressing early school leaving, targeted funding for schools with students from predominantly low-income families, universal free early childhood care, a stronger focus on reading instruction, an explicit focus on bullying prevention as part of an early school leaving prevention focus, and improved parental engagement. In relation to the latter, Dr Eivers has engaged extensively with experts in Malta to adapt Ireland’s Home-School-Community Liaison Scheme for the Maltese context, and the new Family-School-Community Liaison scheme will shortly be piloted. The new national strategy also adopts a focus on psychosocial teams, and on developing a Schools as Community Learning Spaces Programme
The Strategy also plans to expand the ‘access’ role of the Cottonera Resource Centre (CRC) to complement its work in community outreach. Professor Downes was an advisor to the establishment of the CRC in Malta, building on his keynote presentation at the University of Malta in 2011 on the need for universities to develop such local community outreach centres.
This Maltese National Strategy takes place against the backdrop of the ET2030 European Union Strategic commitment to reduce early school leaving across Europe to 9% by 2030, building on the EU Council Recommendation, Pathways to School Success 2022