Manifestos should Address the Right Issues

After hours of watching political debates and reading numerous newspaper articles, I came to ask a simple question – what is it that this country is building its future on? The foundations, which are embedded in our history, should be central in electoral manifestos and should be tackled in this campaign to offer a direction towards where this society is heading for in the next five years.

This campaign has presented issues mainly involving the economy and finding ways to better position Malta as one of the most stable and competitive countries, providing jobs for our youths. That is good; creating such a strong setting will definitely keep this country in progress, while providing good living conditions for its people. Better energy production, social security and environmental planning will all enhance our lifestyles. But are all the essential issues being tackled? Are these the issues which matter most in our society?  

The issues being constantly discussed, apart from all the ‘corruption’ claims, seem to point to a particular focus; job creation and the enhancement of economy. So is this what we are building on and our driving force? Is it this that will define a person’s growth? Both education and improvement in family measures seem to be aimed at job creation. Is this all we are looking at?

I feel that we should tackle with equal importance the deep underlying principles which help shape the people of this country, which give a direction through a clear framework; solid values on which a country is built, values which help people in their growth as persons.

One might argue that such responsibility should not belong to the state, but rather that a state provides the necessary opportunities, services and protection for the good of its people. Whilst agreeing with that stance, I think that the necessary education should lead the way in order for people to make good use of such opportunities. Through its structures, a state must look at promoting positive values which help shape its people.

The education system is vital to instil these values. A greater emphasis on this system to promote positive values in our children should be done, rather than only focusing on providing the necessary skills in order for them to find jobs and enhance the economic aspect of society. Education should give them the skills which help them become better persons, persons who can grow, take care of themselves and build families to raise children themselves. Schools should implant that confidence needed by youths to face important decisions in their lives.

I think that our state is taking certain matters for granted, such as the holistic growth of persons, without realising the increasing number of problems our society faces. The revised National Minimum Curriculum has improved long-term educational visions; I hope that the emphasis on the holistic growth is given as much importance in practice as it is given on paper. Such vision, based on clear priorities, is what we must aspire for.

I pinpoint two problems which should definitely be tackled – mainly marital or relationship problems and corruption. By corruption I do not only mean these ‘big’ stories we are constantly hearing about in newspapers. I am also referring to the minor corruptions people do in order to gain money through tax evasion or false declarations towards social security incomes. As regards to relationship problems, our education system should aid the child in becoming an adult person with the basic skills needed to form a proper relationship towards building a family. These problems might be cultural, but it should definitely be the educational system’s responsibility to target these cultural issues. Creating positive frameworks and tackling these issues will certainly be a drive towards a better society.

Bernard Micallef is a Social Policy graduate from the University of Malta and is currently reading a Bachelor's Degree in Sacred Theology.

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