Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Project Title: Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Programme: Erasmus +: Key Action 2

Funds allocated: €71,648

During the last three years, I was busy setting up a programme and convincing educators to join the Msida Education Hub in a bid to form part of a team to work with students who found it hard to fit in Maltese secondary mainstream schools.

The 2018/2019 academic year kicked off with a new intake of students, having everything in place such as the new programme, it was easier for us to reflect, change and introduce new projects to make the programme more relevant and suitable to students’ needs.

Due to the nature of their needs, the school population is small compared to other schools. We do cater for 16 male students. They feel safe with us and treat us as one big family.

However, we are very much aware of the school insularity risk, and thus one of the school priorities is to prepare the students to engage more and be able to cope. With this in mind, the school offers projects and activities where the students enjoy themselves playing, interacting, communicating and working with students from other schools. Our students are also given the opportunity to interact with adults in safe work placements in preparation for future recruitment.

Knowing that most of the students have never been given the opportunity to visit other countries, because of their social background, I always wanted to offer such an opportunity. This started to become a reality when I visited Hannover in October 2016 for a contact seminar (Transnational cooperation activity – TCA) about “Teaching of European values as a key against radicalisation in school”.

I went to Hannover with a programme in my mind, hoping that I find other partners who will be interested in joining our school and participating in the programme. After the first sessions, where everyone had been given a few minutes to propose a project, I was approached by two teachers from Germany (Hannover) and Portugal (Tomar). We met several times during the seminar and almost made a plan how it was going to work. The experience of the other partners was of great help since they had participated in other Erasmus+ programmes.

The programme proposed involved three mobilities, one in each country, with three educators accompanying six students each time. The main objectives of the programe were to enhance the necessary life-skills and expose the students to new realities where they can learn to appreciate diversity, tolerance, friendship and learning.

Once I came back to Malta, I contacted the EUPA offices immediately to start filling up the application. They directed me to MEUSAC. The funding team clearly understood the nature of the school and the aims of the programme and helped me with the application process.

The process was long; it was a race against time to complete and upload the application on time and then anxiously waiting to receive the confirmation from the European Commission.

Despite all the hard work involved, I can acknowledge that it was a fantastic learning experience for all the school. We came together, coordinated all activities and enjoyed seeing the students participating and interacting with each other.

Presently our students are eagerly waiting to participate in the next mobility which shall take place in Portugal, and in turn, are trying their best to behave and work hard at school as to achieve such an opportunity ~ Emanuel Fenech, Head of School, Educational Hub Msida

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