Education in Malta will mark a significant milestone this year when one of its most respecte Religious Congregations celebrates 120 years of provision on the island.
The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, known locally as the Freres or the De La Salle Brothers, opened its first school in Malta in 1903 and over the course of 12 decades has been a cornerstone of educational innovation and excellence on the island.
Over the year, a number of events will be organised to mark the occasion. The first of which is
hosting one of the most important events on the calendar of the Lasallian Province of Ireland,
Great Britain and Malta. The District Mission Assembly, which is held every four years, will take place in the San Antonio Hotel, Bugibba, from February 6th to the 8th.
Over 50 delegates will travel to Malta from the District’s 36 Lasallian ministries, schools and
retreat centres, to evaluate the last four years and reflect on the hopes and opportunities for the years ahead.
De La Salle College, Birgu and Stella Maris College, Gizira, incorporate five schools in total and cater for 2,349 students and will be prominent in the discussions at the conference. Lasallian education has contributed much to life in Malta over the years with many students inspired to return to their schools as teachers, and many others live and share those values in other walks of life. There are many well-known Maltese who have been inspired by the De La Salle schools, including the current President of the Republic, Dr. George Vella.
The origins of the De La Salle Brothers goes back to Reims, France in the late 17th Century when St John Baptist de La Salle was moved to create schools that would help the children of the poor and artisans in French cities receive a Christian and human education that would allow them to escape from poverty and be examplenary members of society and the Church.
The network of schools grew rapidly in France and began over the years to spread across the world, including Malta at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The methods used in terms of classroom teaching and free access for all were revolutionary at the time but established a systematised approach to simultaneous teaching which still dominates pedagogical methods in use in all schools today. Such was the impact of De La Salle’s vision that he was proclaimed Patron Saint of all Teachers of Youth in 1950.
De La Salle’s approach was based on his desire to touch hearts and transform the lives of students, and this has been the cornerstone of the Lasallian approach for over 300 years. Lasallian education in schools today is based on the 5 Core Principles: Concern for the Poor and Social Justice; Quality Education; Faith in the Presence of God; Respect for All Persons; Inclusive Community.