The European Union is experiencing tremendous changes in population diversity. Since individuals from all over the world move to European countries for work-related reasons or simply to immigrate, they bring along their cultural and religious traditions. Malta is a member of the European Union and also has small minorities, including Muslim groups. Since the Maltese educational system is built on Christian values and the National Minimum Curriculum supports a Christian view of life, students of Islamic background should have their beliefs secured.
This dissertation will examine whether young Muslims living in Malta are faced
with a number of social barriers, present within educational institutions, that may affect the
way they think, live and behave. It will also question whether these young individuals, as a
result of these social barriers, may fall victims of any social exclusion or discriminatory
practices at school.
Thus, this dissertation will perform an analysis of the Maltese educational system to
see, if there are any cultural or religious barriers and will seek to present solutions to their
elimination. It will also deal with creating potential ways of integrating young Muslims into
the educational process. Also, it will undertake to develop potential methods and techniques
to incorporate Muslim students into social life without harming their basic beliefs. And,
lastly, it will seek to create effective methods to provide effective inter-cultural dialogue in
order to foster bonds and mutual understanding between the individuals of different national
The National Minimum Curriculum (NMC) is a very important document, which
includes all the basic required elements for the educational process and provides for finding
solutions to the above stated objectives. The legal framework of the Maltese National
Minimum Curriculum states that a school council can ask the Minister of Education to
include courses in addition to those established. Besides, it guarantees that the parents have
the right to decide if their children should not be exposed to specific religious instruction.
That provides for introducing courses that are required for minorities, allows developing
methods to bring along educational courses that suit the minorities’ needs. In addition,
parents can decide to keep their children away from particular religious instruction, which
contradicts their beliefs.
The NMC also includes such principles as respect for diversity, stable learning
environment, an inclusive education, increasing participation in curriculum development, and
decentralization and identity that strongly support individual expression and diversity
celebration. These principles can help to develop the methods for securing freedom for
religious practices and cultural expression. At the same time, they will allow the development
of identity. The NMC also presents educational objectives. The most important of them for
the purpose described above are the development of citizens and a democratic environment,
religious education and competence in communication. These objectives can be used to
protect Muslim youth from religious discrimination and, on the other hand, from the
influence of radical teachings. They can also be a very helpful tools for developing the
methods and techniques to teach the youth effective communication skills.
Muslim culture and beliefs should be analyzed for contact points with other cultures
and religious systems, especially Christian. It will be very helpful in defining potential
conflict situations and working out preventive measures. Analyzing culture is very beneficial
for developing cultural training courses that would help Muslim youth to retain their identity.
It is also very important to arrange special classes for people with Islamic background
where they would be able to learn about their new homeland. As experience has it, sometimes
cultural and racial tensions rise when national and religious minorities are not aware of local
traditions and customs and insult local people unintentionally, when practicing their rituals.
Malta has a rich Christian heritage and educating Moslem youth about the history and the
culture of the nation will produce awareness and mutual respect.