Promoting an inclusive society:
The ‘Ic-Cavetta’ project addresses the challenges of social inclusion by addressing educational weaknesses which create challenges to access the labour market of disadvantaged groups. It aims to improve facilitation in accessing education and lifelong learning which would eventually feed into improved prospects of finding employment. The project is designed to provide specific assistance to those facing particular constraints and the development of a teaching toolkit and resources and tailor-made programmes specifically designed to facilitate access of vulnerable groups (including those who did not succeed through the formal education system) to education and employment. Furthermore, access to further education and to employment will empower disadvantaged groups to build new social networks through the teaching centres and the place of work, which will help them further to become included in society.
Ic- Cavetta - Developing a teaching tool kit for Maltese literacy skills, promoting work values and computer orientation skills for adults facing social exclusion and employment challenges. The project includes the development and use of the toolkit by educators to provide education to disadvantaged groups with low levels of literacy and employment challenges.
To increase Maltese literacy skills, computer orientation skills and work values among disadvantaged persons aged 16 to 60
The key purpose of the project is to enhance the employability of vulnerable groups with low employment rates and low levels of literacy to contribute to increasing the overall labour supply within the economy and greater social cohesion in Malta. It addresses educational weaknesses, which create challenges to access the labour market by disadvantaged groups and to improve facilitation in accessing education and lifelong learning which would eventually feed into improved prospects of finding employment. The project’s purpose is also to ensure that adult training is provided by adequately trained and equipped personnel, especially personnel working with vulnerable groups.’
The local situation and the Ic-Cavetta Toolkit
With an illiteracy rate estimated to be around 11.2 per cent1, which is relatively high when compared to the EU25 rate of 15.2 per cent2, illiterates are a matter of concern. Furthermore persons with low levels of literacy who are facing social exclusion and difficulties to access the labour market require more specific intervention. Each year, all the project partners reach over 100 persons with literacy difficulties. This calls for focused action to address and reach to the most vulnerable. The Maltese Government has recognised the need to address the low levels of literacy and the need to support disadvantage groups to access education and the labour market. This is highlighted in various key documents including the National Action Plan for Inclusion 2006-2008, the Operational Programme II Empowering People for more jobs and a better quality of life and the Pre-Budget Document.
Under the ESF Programme for 2004-2006 ESF 18 and ESF 4 have both produced manuals and other material to help with literacy of adults. This project product intends to add value and complement both projects. Both projects assume that the learner already knows how to read. The aim of the project is to take a more basic approach and its tool will start from letter recognition and learning the sound of the letters (phonics).
This is essential for those who do not know how or find it difficult or read very badly and it is envisaged that this toolkit will address the gap which is within this vulnerable group of people within Maltese society. In the development of this tool, various factors which previously were side-lined will be taken into consideration. The training techniques of this toolkit will have a strong visual aspect, hence facilitating the recognition of letters. A difference in content will ensure that the material produced will be specific for two main groups, mainly adults and children. The product will be IT interactive with audio, easily accessible and intuitive. It will be accessible on the widest possible variety of computer platforms. It will be fun to use and will provide enough stimuli to keep the end user interested. This will add another dimension and introduce the learner to the use of a computer as a learning tool. Being IT interactive the product will help both trainer and trainee with better teaching skills and rapid progress.
Through the use of visual material, the tool kit will also help to provide computer orientation skills and promote the value of work. This will help to address other key needs being faced by the target group, which include lack of computer literacy skills and the need to help break the cycle of being fully dependent on benefit systems. Furthermore employment, which can become more of a reality following the training, will help the persons facing social exclusion to develop social networks at work and during training, thus providing more opportunities to integrate better in society.
NB 1 National Action Plan against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2004-2006, Light Update Report 2005, pp. 7. This is based on the whole population including the older age groups who were not provided with compulsory education when they were young. 2 Source for EU data: Eurostat, 27 June 2006, extracted on 10 October 2006 as quoted in the OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME II
1. 13 to 20 trained teachers, educators and facilitators aware about literacy challenges in adults, equipped and informed on how to use the tool kit and involved in evaluating the tool kit.
2. 72 to 96 persons facing social exclusion, literacy and employment challenges provided with training on basic literacy, work values and computer orientation skills.
3. Exchange of information with a counterpart in another EU Country (Estonia) working on literacy training for adults.