In view of the growing influx of migrants to Europe and further to the Paris Declaration education policy makers at European and national level are increasingly seeking to strengthen the role of education in promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination, and in facilitating migrants’ integration in society. The European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) and the Ministry for Education and Employment of Malta have joined forces by organising a Peer Learning Visit to Malta on 19th of May 2016, allowing education employers to learn from their peers. Malta has a long tradition of taking on board migrants and has recently set up a specific Migrant Learners Unit as part of the ministry. The Peer Learning Activity broad together members from EFEE from all kind of different European countries, representatives from the Ministry for Education and Employment of Malta, academics, and Maltese teachers and school leaders. Furthermore the meeting took place in Mellie?a Primary school within Maria Regina College.
The principal objective of the visit was to bring together the stakeholders involved in the process of inclusion into Maltese education, Raymond Facciol, Head of Migrant Learners Unit, Ministry for Education and Employment underlined. Various aspects of the provision of migrant education were brought up – ranging from the principles that underline migrant education to practical lessons learned during the past two years. Employers, teaching staff, heads of schools and parents visited classes, voiced questions and concerns in an effort to compile a snapshot of migrant education in Malta. It became clear that education has an important role to play in fostering social cohesion, preventing marginalisation and radicalisation and helping young people to become responsible, open-minded and active members of our diverse society. Minister Evarist Barolo, Minister for Education and Employment of Malta emphasized during the meeting the importance of promoting civic education, intercultural dialogue and democratic citizenship to facilitate migrants’ integration within our society and schools. “We should always promote diversity and not be afraid to challenge xenophobia as well as islamophophia.” Furthermore EFEE members and representatives from the Ministry, teachers, and school leader were invited to jointly reflect on future work on this topic. The participants discussed the following questions: What is our role as education employers in promoting civic education, intercultural dialogue and democratic citizenship? And how can we empower school leaders and teachers to create inclusive classroom environments? How to engage migrant parents in their children’s learning? The participants selected teacher training, mutual trust, and reinforcement of workforce as key words for future work. Bianka Stege, general secretary of EFEE concluded: “This Peer Learning Visit taught us again the importance of good and open-minded school leadership in creating a safe and open environment in schools where both students and teachers are equipped with social and cultural skills and competences needed to respect each others and to be able to enjoy the learning journey together.”
EFEE and the Ministry of Education and Employment jointly promoted the outcomes of the Peer Learning Visit in a Joint Press Release.