Jan 25, 2016 | By Andre

Continued investment into education should be an important element in every government’s growth strategy. Each and every generation has to be educated and brought up to date for 21st century living or the ability to produce a skilled workforce will begin to suffer. So it’s great to hear that during a press conference held today at the Kulleg Maria Regina boys’ secondary school in Mosta, Malta, the government announced an additional €15.4 million of funding into new equipment and infrastructure. The news couldn’t come soon enough, it seems, as local teachers had been complaining the equipment they had been working with up until now was too slow and inefficient that it hindered learning instead of advancing it like it's designed to do.

While a good chunk of the investment will be spent on laptops, tablets and interactive whiteboards, considerations have been made in providing students with the tools many believe to be essential in shaping the world of tomorrow. Included in this list is the purchase of 76 3D printers and 28 3D scanners. Project coordinator Joe Mamo has gone on to say that “this technology is expected to shape the future” and that other schools around Europe have also invested in similar forward looking technology toward their curriculum.

It was said students were finding more and more stimulation outside of the classroom thanks to what is available on the internet, so this investment in technology should reinvigorate the sometimes uninspired classrooms with the ability to design and modify their ideas before turning them into physical reality with modern 3D printing technology.

Deputy Prime minister Louis Grech further stressed of the growing gap between what is learned at school and what is expected in the working world. Saying that “one cannot teach for the future with yesterday’s tools.” Overall, this welcome investment in technology will allow teachers to better prepare for their lessons, waste less time and increase efficiency. Students in turn will have an increased ability to interact more closely with the the teachers and the subjects they are learning about.

Of course, no government expenditure program comes without controversy. €12 million of the €15.4 million is supposed to be coming from EU funds while the remainder directly from taxes. The EU money is supposedly part of a resource reassignment plan from an infrastructure fund that has been riddled with controversy since late last year. The Coast Road fund, paid for by the EU, came under scrutiny after the European Court of Auditors (ECA) decided that the correct procedure for awarding developer contracts was not followed. As a result, it was recommended that 25 percent of the EU funds allocated to the project be withheld until all concerns had been addressed.

A member of the auditors group stressed that “the ECA is the guardian of every single penny spent by member states and EU institutions. Once an irregularity is flagged, then it is obvious that several eyes will open in Luxembourg over how the other projects are being handled in Malta. This goes right to the crux of public procurement.”

As things stand, the €12 million EU funded portion of the just announced education investment comes out of the 25 percent of the Coast Road funds that are currently being withheld. And while the deputy prime minister says an agreement is in place to allow the funding to be reassigned, others worry financing issues still remain.

Regardless of how the money is eventually sourced, the forward thinking strategy put forth by the Education and Employment Ministry of Malta should be admired. Any stagnation in a population’s education system limit the children of any generation in terms of achieving success in today’s fast paced, competitive world. 3D printing and 3D scanning technologies will undoubtedly be a part of this world so the time is now to invest into this future.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Steven Nash wrote at 1/28/2016 5:04:32 AM:

Hey , This is a great resource on latest education technology trends of 2016 for teaching-learning spaces. I am myself quite excited about tinkering with many new education technology tools as well as deeply embedding the best of edtech resources from 2015 in our classrooms.This year I am placing my bets on Open educational resources, microlearning, (More)Coding in Classroom, Connecting with Internet of Things and Developing Maker Spaces. I actually just compiled a really thorough guide of Top 5 Emerging Education technology Trends of 2016 of my own. I think you might find it interesting to read. Looking forward to more such delightful reads from your feed.

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