Has The Maltese Education System Failed Us?

Given that, each year, the number of graduates increases, it’s sure to mean that the education system is thriving, right? Well, not technically, no.

Education is an ambivalent thing: on the one hand it gives people the tools to better themselves, achieve success and earn more money, but on the other its systematic processes hinder people from being independent thinkers, thus destroying potential, future knowledge from being created.

In Malta, we’re lucky that almost everyone has the opportunity to be educated and to further their studies. Meanwhile, joining the European Union has made it infinitely easier to study abroad and, in more ways than one, allow people to become more open minded and to experience different cultures.

But unfortunately, we’ve come to live in a society that assesses the successfulness of education by whether we earn more than our neighbours and whether we have to get our hands literally dirty or not – and in that, I feel that the education system has completely and utterly failed us.

The arts and craftsmanship have become viewed as hobbies rather than real jobs, which has in turn led to people who work in these fields earning less than others who have a degree. But the arts and craftsmanship take as much time and as much dedication as a degree; and are perused by people who genuinely want to do them.

How many people end up reading for a degree because they’ve been pushed into it or because of the prestige that comes with it? But do we really need 200 new lawyers a year? Are there enough jobs for the architects that graduate every year? What is the point in wasting people’s time when they are going to end up with a Bachelor’s and no money to frame it?

Allowing everyone to go to university is one of the biggest fails of our times, particularly because it has taken away the esteem of a degree and made it harder for graduates to find a job, while manual jobs are there for the taking with no one to do them.

Some of you might be thinking: well, that’s elitist. And I’ll answer that with a: no, not really. Entering university should be something taken seriously – tertiary education is not the prerogative of all citizens, but of those who truly want to keep on studying.

It is useless to hand out degrees like pastizzi to people with not a shred of common sense or willingness to understand why they are there in the first place. Students these days have forgotten how hard their ancestors fought for the right to education, and now own degrees but aren’t able to tell the difference between ‘there’ and ‘they’re’ or to tell you when World War Two ended.

The education system has failed us because it is raising a generation of people with a BA in Britney Spears but with no idea on how to think outside the box, write properly, look at things from a different perspective, challenge the obvious, appreciate the power that comes with knowledge, understand how they came to be there, and, in most cases, interact with people, be diplomatic or sustain themselves.

That’s not to say that everyone is like that. Every generation has a number of people who stand out and have the balls to change things and who push the boundaries – but you’d think with so many people having the ‘right’ to education, those people wouldn’t be as seldom and as aperiodic.

Do you agree with James? Do you think your education was good enough to help you succeed in today’s world? Or are you lacking something? We’d like to know!