9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
On this page
On this page
As part of the National Curriculum Framework For All the following courses tackling global issues are covered in formal education in secondary level schools during Personal, Social and Career Development; History; Geography and Social Studies.
Personal, Social and Career Development deals with issues such as migration, sustainable development, health, safety and wellbeing, democracy, domestic violence and LGBTIQ issues. This subject adopts a developmental syllabus whereby it tackles different themes at different levels of education. The recommended time is a 90-minutes lesson.
History is divided in History General (11-16 years) and History Option (14-16 years). During History General aspects concerning awareness and preservation of the world heritage in connection to Ancient Mediterranean civilizations, democratic rights, freedom of the press, right for education, gender equality within Malta’s 19th and 20th century political and social and economic history are tackled. During History Option the causes and consequences of international terrorism with special emphasis on the western world and the Middle East; the many facets of globalisation (e.g. political, economic, cultural, environmental etc.) causes and consequences of post-World War II regional conflicts. Such global issues are included in the curriculum and are treated as part of a wider theme. Global issues are taught in the form of case studies where students are taught how to compare and contrast the causes, events and consequences in relation to one another and bring out their own conclusions and generalizations.
Geography deals with global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, over fishing, soil erosion, land, air, sea pollution, acid rain, deforestation, and famine. These topics are covered separately in geography both in the general and option. These topics are covered together with other topics over a period of three years whereby students have one lesson a week if it is Geography general and 4 lessons if it is Geography option.
During Social Studies themes such as sex and gender, racial discrimination, democracy, human rights, consumerism, diversity, types of families, global democracy, fundamental human rights, consumers and poverty, education, global peace, cultures, Economy, tourism, democracy, WHO, social exclusion, mass media, sustainable development and migration. Such global issues are tackled during the subject. The allotted time is only 40 minutes a week from Year 7 till Year 11.
Non-formal and Informal Learning
A number of initiatives also take place in a non-formal learning environment. Nature Trust (Malta) representing FEE (Malta) co-ordinates EkoSkola. This initiative, which is part of Eco-Schools, aims at mobilizing whole schools to empower students to adopt an active role in environmental decision-making and action in their school and in their community. Schools that have successfully achieved this goal are awarded a Green Flag – a prestigious eco-label testifying the school’s commitment to fostering sustainable lifestyles.
Maltese young people has been participating in LEAF, an international programme, since scholastic year 2011-2012. The programme works in parallel with; Eco-Schools (locally known as EkoSkola) and YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) which are considered as main vectors of Education for Sustainable Development. All three programmes complement each other and in their own distinctive way empower students to adopt an active role in environmental decision-making and action in their school community. The programme focuses on the need to understand the key role a green environment plays for sustainable life on our planet and whether that role is being compromised by sensitizing young people to appreciate the intricate relationships that take place in local woodlands and in forests around the world and how these can be compromised by the choices we make each day. The programme addresses all the functions forests fulfil for people; cultural, ecological, economic and social.
Young reporters for the environment
Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) is a programme designed specifically for secondary and post secondary students. The main aim is to carry out investigations on local environmental issues and propose solutions through investigative reporting and photojournalism. The goal of YRE is to engage youth in resolving environmental problems and issues.
Young Reporters for the Environment became a programme of FEE and since then has grown to reach countries outside of Europe.
In Malta the programme is coordinated by Nature Trust and designed for secondary schools students and teachers. Each group must define its own investigation project about a local environment issue. Young people can participate in two ways. The first is through a national project where they would be assisted by teachers, as they carry out journalistic activities about a local environmental issue. Possible activities are documentation, field visits, interviews, writing of articles, photos, etc. The second way is through an international project where they can join other young reporters from different countries. The ambition is to enrich one’s local production with data, inputs, information, photos, etc. from another country. Through YRE, students are expected to understand issues related to sustainable development and citizenship; actively participate in their learning; develop journalistic and investigative skills and work collaboratively on a project with other students and their teachers.
No Hate Speech Campaign
A number of initiatives also focus on developing young people’s sense of identity and respect for other people’s identities such as the No Hate Speech Campaign. The campaign’s main objectives are to support human rights education activities for action against hate speech, to develop and disseminate tools for reporting hate speech, to mobilise partners to prevent and counter hate speech and intolerance both online and offline. Aġenzija Żgħażagħ joined forces with SOS Malta and the American Embassy in order to create more awareness on a national level about the No Hate Speech Campaign and participated with a number of partners in a number of activities.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, in partnership with SOS Malta, initiated a project, Youth Upbeat, co-financed by the European Refugee Fund, that aimed to promote integration between different sector of Maltese society, in particular, young people and refugees, or people with subsidiary protection, by providing opportunities for interaction and awareness-raising through the use of culture and the performing arts as tools for social cohesion. Six ‘Cultural Ambassadors’, all having refugee or subsidiary protection status, who had a particular performing arts skill, shared aspects of their culture as well as personal stories during 24 interactive workshops in which almost 500 young aged 13 and 14 participated.
School Council Democracy Awards
The Student Councils Democracy Awards is a non-formal education programme for all secondary schools and post-secondary institutions. Participating student councils compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards as they implement their Action Plans over a period of one scholastic year. This programme is underpinned and focuses on the values of democracy, active citizenship, participation, dialogue, leadership and equality as part of our fundamental rights as human beings.
In 2016 the focus of the No Hate Speech Campaign was on raising awareness among post-secondary school and university students in Malta. Aġenzija Żgħażagħ raised awareness about the No Hate Speech movement in four (4) higher secondary schools in collaboration with Studenti Demokristjani (SDM), a student organisation. No Hate activities were also organised in post-secondary institution and at the university where young people were given the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns about young immigrants and refugees. Young people participating also had the opportunity in workshops to discuss the various attitudes that can be adopted when encountering and living near young immigrants and refugees.
A seminar entitled “The Contribution of Youth Organisations in Sport” was organised by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ in collaboration with Sport Malta as part of the National Sport Forum. During this seminar, physical activities were proposed as tools that youth workers and youth organisation can use to promote No Hate Speech Campaign and intercultural dialogue.
To mark World Refugee Day, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, SOS Malta, Integra, Migrant Women’s Association, African Media Association Malta and Spark 15 joined together for a march to take a stand against hate speech targeting refugees and a No Hate monument was erected by Youth Local Councils.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ is the public authority responsible for providing information related to youth global issues. The agency uses its own houses the Youth Information One Stop Shop and uses its websites, youth information portal, facebook pages and newsletters disseminate information related to youth global issues .
Less Litter Campaign
In 2020 an initiative implemented in schools running Eco-Schools, LEAF and/or YRE programmes was the Litter Less Campaign. The Campaign aims to engage and educate young people on the issue of litter and encourage them to make positive choices. Participating schools were given the opportunity to network with students from the 10 participating countries and produce joint projects.
Human Rights Online Campaign
In 2021 Aġenzija Żgħażagħ through its Youth Information Services and with the support of three young acticvits created an online Human Rights Online Campaign.
A different Human Right was highlighted and featured weekly on the National Agency Social media platforms. The campaign also involved the participation of a number of young people from different walks of life who presented their own stories related to human rights. More over the campaign encouraged young followers of the national Agencies social media channels to interact during the campaign, as the campaign provided interactive spaces where young people could share their views and opinions and initiate discussion.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, in partnership with SOS Malta, initiated a project, Youth Upbeat, co-financed by the European Refugee Fund, that aimed to promote integration between different sector of Maltese society, in particular, young people and refigees, or people with subsidiary protection, by providing opportunities for interaction and awareness-raising through the use of culture and the performing arts as tools for social cohesion. Six ‘Cultural Ambassadors’, all having refugee or subsidiary protection status, who had a particular performing arts skill, shared aspects of their culture as well as personal stories during 24 interactive workshops in which almost 500 young aged 13 and 14 participated.
SOS Malta, in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ offered a training course entitled ‘Blogger Training on No Hate Speech in Malta for Young People: Developing participant’s knowledge, skills and attitudes in human rights’ that focused on developing knowledge skills and attitudes in human rights and supporting participants to recognise and act against racism and discrimination in their online form of expression, while also supporting them to further promote human rights values among young people online.
International Youth Day
Malta avails of the opportunity provided by International Youth Day to promote and raise awareness of national and global issues. The theme of International Youth Day 2017 was Youth Building Peace. There is growing recognition that young people are agents of change in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. International Youth Day 2017 was dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. To mark International Youth Day 2017 in Malta, youth organisations attend a meeting at Aġenzija Żgħażagħ's Youth Village with the aim of initiating discussions on the International Youth Day theme and encourage young people to become agents for social change in their communities and contribution to peace building at international level.