Gilding is a decorative technique that, for a long time on these islands, was taught from one generation to another in an informal way. This allowed for the work to live on, as many people in Malta still have these qualities and techniques.
But what if we taught this in a formal manner, within an accredited programme and structure, in secondary schools?
This question was posed by educators at St Ignatius College, who introduced a brand new certified educational programme at secondary level.
It had all started with some interest, which resulted in an off-hours club, but it was clear from early on that this was not enough. The pupils at the college’s secondary school in Ħandaq loved the work and the skill, and discussions within the school and college started on formalising and certifying a new programme to give the learning experience a proper structure. The end result is a new programme which helps pupils aged 13 to 16 who are inclined to a more hands-on approach to learning.
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo explained the rationale behind such approach.
“I visited an engineering company lately, which specialises in high end medical equipment. The techniques utilised in their line of work are parallel to the techniques used in artisan work and gilding. The manager told us that those with such backgrounds are their top performers. These kind of experiences help children learn, grow and it gives them confidence especially those who may be inclined to a more hands-on, applied and vocational way of learning. As long as we provide the chance for them to grow through accredited programmes, they will find that they can build on that and create opportunities for themselves in different fields” Minister Bartolo said.