The eleven finalists for the third edition of the EPALE Awards 2021

DRLLE is pleased to announce the eleven finalists for the third edition of the EPALE Awards 2021.

The Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability within the Ministry for Education is pleased to announce the eleven finalists for the third edition of the EPALE Awards 2021.

The EPALE Awards 2021 are the perfect opportunity to highlight the value of adult learning to a variety of audiences and to help spread the voice and visibility of adult learning. Nominations were open to individuals and organisations who have shown dedication and commitment to improve themselves and their community through adult learning.

The EPALE Awards evaluation board included local and foreign key experts working in the adult education field. The award winners will be announced during the EPALE Awards ceremony, which will take place on the 22nd of October 2021 from 2pm to 4pm. This event will also be livestreamed on the Facebook page Adult Learning in Malta.

Here are the eleven finalists for the EPALE Awards 2021 have been chosen for Individual and Project awards in the following five categories. 


Adult Learner Award (3 Finalists)

Ms Karen

Ms Karen Buttiġieġ is a post-secondary educator who has started a Ph.D. in Education, leading her students towards continuous learning by example.  She is researching alternative notions of education that are more holistic and transformative, hoping to bring these to the formal and non-formal spheres of education. Karen is also the primary carer of a child having a disability, which brings on many challenges, especially in the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She believes that we need to participate in changes that we want to see around us, so Karen has become an advocate for children, women, and persons with disabilities through her involvement with NGOs.

Mr Touray

Originally from Gambia, 24-year-old Mr Ousman Touray came to Malta in 2014 as a migrant. Despite his hardships, he always wanted to learn more about the country which gave him so much of his life back. Joining the 'I Belong Programme' at MCAST allowed him to start using a laptop for the first time, all the while learning about Malta's history and values, as well as how to speak its language. Apart from further integrating into the community, this greatly helped him understand his untapped potential, and inspired him to work harder towards his dream of being a mechanic. 

MS Cassar

When Ms Redianne Cassar was younger, she did not have the opportunity to further her education even though this was a dream. As she got older, this dream grew stronger and stronger. She became a mother at a very young age so with no support, embarking on an educational journey became even more difficult. When scholarships to employees in the hospitality industry were offered, she grabbed the opportunity. Despite occasions where she doubted herself, there was no stopping her now that my dream was unfolding. Then, as the time rolled, one module and positive result after the other, she realised that she can achieve this! When there is a will there's a way. No age and no gender can build boundaries between a person and educational dreams. Studies and education have strengthened Redianne in so many ways, in character and professionally.


Adult Educator Award (3 Finalists)

Mr Darmanin

Mr Francis Darmanin graduated with his MBA in 2002 and with his BA Hons in Photography in 2019. In 2011 he went into mandatory retirement. He was offered an opportunity to teach a short basic ICT course to older people which he enthusiastically accepted. He realised that older people were falling behind in world of increasing reliance on technology. A few years ago, began teaching a year-long ICT course for Beginners with Lifelong Learning Malta.  With every new year, he creates a social media group for the class where the students may exchange views, comments, and questions. Helping older people catch up with technology has become his passion, and he intends to continue for as long as possible.

Ms Ilaria

After spending several years working as an educator across all the levels of education, Ms Ilaria Spieri Axiak now works as an Adult Educator with MISCO. She has identified a learning gap in the adult participants she came across through her work. Ilaria utilises the training cycle to the benefit of the individuals who choose to continue their learning journey with MISCO and provide the best quality of education that they truly need and deserve. Ilaria has also continuously bettered herself in her capacity as an Adult Educator by continuing her studies. In fact, she has recently obtained a Master in Education. 

Ms Rachael

Ms Rachael Tedesco Triccas is a lecturer within the ‘I Belong Programme’ at MCAST. These lectures offer a holistic approach to integration for third country nationals applying for long-term residency in Malta. The programme’s relocation to a digital platform inspired Rachael to set up virtual spaces to strategically team up students with differing abilities, to help those struggling with a lack of linguistic or computer literacy to be supported and guided by their peers throughout the course. Rachael delights in the group-cultivated skill sets which developed despite the class never having met in person. Moreover, her greatest satisfaction is witnessing the transformation of apprehensive students blossoming into motivated individuals who acknowledge their limitations but choose to work past them to fulfil their potential.


Volunteer in Adult Education Award (1 Finalist)

Mr Bonavia

Mr Peter Bonavia is an adult educator within the Directorate for Lifelong Learning, where he teaches the art of the traditional Maltese gilding. He has been teaching gilding for the past fourteen years to students of various age groups from sixteen years up. For more than five years, he gained experience studying gilding in various schools in Malta and Gozo under different tutors including that of Mr Camilleri Cauchi in the Gozo school of crafts. He was then selected to start his teaching experience at various Lifelong Learning Centres.



Lifelong Learning Learning Project Award (3 Finalists)

Ms Teuma

Ms Miriam Teuma represents, which is a youth work programme administered by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. The aim of the programme is to engage with vulnerable young people between 16 to 21 who are not in education and training using non-formal and informal educational methods. The programme is developed around a youth-centred approach to facilitate young people in their own process of development and enable them to live more independently and access further study or employment. This year, this programme celebrates its 10th Anniversary. 

ms Polidano

Ms Lorraine Polidano is a Social Worker by profession with14 years of experience working with persons with disability. She is now the Manager of Community Services within Aġenzija Sapport. Community Services offer support to persons with disabilities in the community. Service is provided individually to service-users to support them in developing new skills, which assist them in being active participants in the community. A number of professionals within the team guide Support Workers in order to remain creative in the initiatives taken, keeping in mind the individual’s needs and goals. 

Ms cynthia

Sapport Day Services, a project which is represented by Ms Maria Cynthia Debono, are offered to adults with disabilities across Malta and Gozo. Through an individual support plan, goals are identified and targeted through a variety of programmes and initiatives, aimed at maximising potential in independence, self-determination, inclusion and employability. Skill acquisition is integrated into functional activities and opportunities are given to practise such skills within realistic settings. The aim of this service is the improvement in skills of adults with disabilities and improved opportunities to be able to contribute within the community as active citizens.


Digital Education Project Award (1 Finalist)

Mr Catania

Mr James Catania has been in the IT industry for over 25 years and currently is the E.O. for ICT at the Ministry for Education. Previously, James has mainly worked abroad, starting from Junior programmer, to CTO and CEO. James’ main areas of expertise include cryptographic systems, blockchain technologies and robotics. Apart from decades of industrial experience, James holds two master’s degrees, one in Information Systems and the other in Computer Science. In his free time, James is also known for building movie replicas and animatronics. Via the Teleskola project, James has helped to provide an open platform for students and their families to benefit from an excellent working system.

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