The 1960s were a time of considerable change in Malta, but in the island’s schools education was still all about ‘talk and chalk’.
The teacher would stand at the front of the class and the children would sit in rows of desks facing the blackboard. Reading, writing and arithmetic were very important and ‘times tables’ were learnt by chanting aloud in class. Neat hand writing was seen as a must and was practiced daily.
Nature study and history were popular subjects and pupils would regularly be taken on outings to Mdina, a museum in Valletta or be given a guided tour of a Royal Navy frigate in the Grand Harbour to break up the daily routine.
The nit nurse used to make regular visits to check for head lice and all the children in each class would line up to be examined in turn, their hair being combed carefully with a nit comb to see if there was any infestation. There were also routine eye and hearing tests.
In the 1960s, there were no classroom assistants, just the class teacher and discipline was very strict. It was common for a disruptive child to be rapped over the knuckles, smacked on the bottom or hit on the hand with a ruler. For serious offences pupils were sent to the headteacher’s office to be hit by a cane or a belt. Malta finally banned corporal punishment in schools in 1990.
Our archive film footage shows students on school outings in Valletta, the Grand Harbour and Mdina in 1968.