This chapter provides information on national policies that promote mobility and internalisation in education. Political, economical, environmental and social developments taking place within the globalised world undoubtedly impact educational developments and policies. Malta’s strategic position within the European and Mediterranean regions necessitates that it is continuously alert to global changes taking place, including in the educational field.
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) encourages mobility through school exchanges with students from other colleges, sectors, towns and countries. It acknowledges that such activities prepare children for the social, cultural, and economic changes that they will experience during their lifetime. The NCF promotes multilingualism and awareness of different cultures and lifestyles since they broaden children’s understanding and appreciation of diversity. The learning of languages encourages children to develop awareness of foreign languages and become more open to other languages and cultures with a positive disposition towards mobility and new experiences. In particular, the foreign language teaching and learning at secondary level provides for the acquisition of further communication tools that are useful to appreciate cultural diversity and to facilitate interaction within the European and international contexts.
The NCF further suggests that learners need to develop intercultural competence and appreciate their heritage within the Mediterranean, European and global contexts. Children strengthen their ability to appreciate social, cultural, national and geographical realities by learning historical and geographical knowledge and developing attitudes and skills which promote intercultural understanding. The Mediterranean and European dimensions are of particular interest for children at this level. Participation in twinning and mobility projects in the EU such as e-Twinning, which bring together schools from various Member States, facilitating intercultural experiences.
One of the strategic pillars for policy developments within the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024 focuses on the International Dimension. The following processes are recommended:
• Intensive strategy for the teaching of English across all social sectors
• International mobility of students and staff
• International openness to new systems and processes
• Harmonisation of qualification frameworks to European structures
• Harmonisation of assessment and examination methods
• International recognition of local qualifications
Within the National Vocational Education and Training Policy, it is recognised that Malta is developing a strategic approach to the internalisation of Initial / Continuing VET and promoting international mobility. VET providers have established links and partnerships with foreign counterparts. Mobility is promoted even through VET programmes, particularly in the tourism sector. VET providers have made use of mobility programmes for students and staff. Malta actively participated in projects related to EQF, ECVET, EQAVET and EUROPASS to promote mobility and implement European tools within the education system. The policy further suggests that the development of VET relationships with foreign colleges and institutes.
The Maltese higher educational system has been further internationalised through active participation in the Bologna Process. Being the entity responsible of the implementation of the Bologna Process, the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) takes a very active part in the BFUG and diligently follows any Bologna Process proceedings and Ministerial conferences. Apart from this, the MFHEA is one of the Co-Chairs of the BFUG Working Group on Fundamental Values in Education and is a member of two other working groups namely the Social Dimension group and the Monitoring of the Implementation of the BFUG group. This participation is proving to be very beneficial in improved quality assurance, recognition, social dimension, and learning and teaching of higher education. Despite the Bologna process’s track record of improving coherence in higher education, challenges remain and the BFUG’s role, precisely, is to address said challenges.
The European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) is the National Agency responsible for the management of Erasmus+, the new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport for 2021-2027. These sectors are key areas that support citizens in their personal and professional development. Through the Erasmus+ Programme, the EUPA aims to assist individuals, local non-government organisations, and public and private entities in obtaining funds for education, training and youth initiatives. ERASMUS+ is divided into two Key Actions:
Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals
Key Action 2 : Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices
Together, these aim to promote
- learning mobility of individuals and groups in the fields of education and training;
- non-formal and informal learning mobility and active participation among youth;
- learning mobility of sport staff;
- cooperation, quality, inclusion and equity, excellence, creativity and innovation in the fields of education and training; and
cooperation, quality, inclusion, creativity and innovation in organisations and policy making related to youth; sport.