Vol. 7 no. 2 / December 2013 / Special Issue on Migration and Education

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Somali Children in the Maltese Educational System

Isabelle Calleja Ragonesi, Victor Martinelli

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This paper examines closely the educational needs of one group of sub Saharan African migrant children. The data was collected from a project which focused on these children’s education at the primary school level and examined their level of inclusion and integration into the Maltese school system. Particular attention while collecting this data was given to the cultural, religious and linguistic needs of the participants and their families. This was examined against a wider policy of inclusion and differentiation espoused by those charting the Maltese educational system. Empirical research for the EU has shown that children living in basic income households, whose parents have low qualifications, are unemployed or are at risk of “in work poverty”, and/or who come from a migrant or ethnic minority background are much less likely to gain good qualifications themselves at school. In other words, child poverty and educational disadvantage tend to perpetuate a vicious cycle of marginalization. The findings confirmed this assessment, underlining the need for affirmative action, while at the same time affording some hope for social inclusion.

The asylum process and possibilities for a transformative pedagogy: exploring the case of sub-Saharan African female asylum seekers in Malta

Maria Pisani

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Whilst EU legislation and policy has focused on the importance of the asylum process, and the need for asylum seekers to understand the process, academic literature has, to date, failed to recognize this procedure as a learning process. In this paper I interrogate the asylum process as a contested site representing different gendered and racialised practices, grounded in specific gendered and historical sociopolitical contexts. Moving beyond the ‘banking’ notion of education, the asylum process is positioned as a potentially transformative pedagogical site wherein the lawyer – as educator – can engage in a dialogical relationship with the asylum seeker. I posit that the proposed educational journey, which is grounded in dialogue, mutual learning, and developing trust, can provide the possibility for developing self determination, working towards protection and social justice. This paper explores asylum in Malta, more specifically, the conditions and processes experienced by sub-Saharan African female asylum seekers.

When worlds meet. Fostering intercultural awareness among young people.

Damian Spiteri

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This paper will focus on appraising the influence that a particular series of interventions had on the intercultural sensitivity of a group of twelve 16 to 18 year old unaccompanied minor asylum seekers who, after arriving in Malta, were assigned to a purposefully set up residential setting by the competent authorities. These interventions were carried out by Maltese volunteers from a local NGO (Caritas, Malta) to generate a better understanding of Maltese culture and way of life amongst the asylum seekers and to enhance their intercultural communication skills. The interventions were constituted of once-weekly experiential sessions which were based on activities such as team-building and language games, arts and crafts activities, and cooking. The study is based on a qualitative methodology that involves both researcher-based participant observation and ongoing interviewing with the young people concerned.

Unaccompanied immigrant minors in the canary islands: a legal approach

Mª Asuncion Asin Cabrera

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The Canary Islands have received significant numbers of unaccompanied minors, especially during 2006. This phenomenon has resulted in the need to develop an appropriate policy response across the Spanish State and the European Union. The proposals to establish special protected status for unaccompanied migrant children have generated considerable controversy within the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, since it has assumed competence for taking the necessary measures for the protection of minors within its territory. This article provides an overview of the relevant legislation and policies on reception, return and integration applicable to unaccompanied minors, analysing the difficulties that policymakers must take into account as they address the phenomenon of child migration.

Educating the Migrant Girl. A Politics of Difference

Simone Galea

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This paper problematises discourses about integration, their claims for accommodating difference and their implications in conceptualising the education of young migrant women. In thinking about the ethics and politics of integration and particularly those that are promoted through discursive frameworks generated by EU institutional mechanisms I argue that they reflect a politics of assimilation that does not allow educational processes of becoming different. A politics of difference, in spite of the possibilities of generating conflict within schools and classes would better inform our thinking about an education that democratically attends to student differences. I shall draw on situations and examples related to the education of young migrant women to suggest that processes of migration, rather than those of integration, can be important sources in conceptualising education as processes of transformation where becoming different women is possible.

REVIEW: Antonia De Vita, La Creazione Sociale. Relazioni e contesti per educare (literal translation: Social Creation. Relations and Contexts to Educate), Rome, Carocci, 978884305144 1, 2009, pp. 173

Peter Mayo

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REVIEW: John P. Portelli and Rosemary Campbell-Stephens, Leading For Equity: The Investing In Diversity Approach, Toronto, ON, Canada, Edphil Books, ISBN: 978-0-9697253-4-3, 2009, pp. 74.

Maria Montebello

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There is no abstract available for this article.