Education and the migrant
Education is considered to be the key to the future. It is, however, a fact that many migrants left Malta very ill-prepared to meet their future. It was particularly the case that most of the original migrants were indeed chosen on the basis of their ability to work in the fields.
To be remembered also that education in Malta became compulsory only after the second world war, and that only primary education. There was indeed a great deal of illiteracy even lasting until the last generation, when the illiteracy rate was 60 per cent or even higher (For illiteracy in Malta, see for example, Cauchi (1)).
It is also the case that many migrants valued a trade qualification more than an academic one. The result was that Maltese overseas had a higher proportion of persons with a trade qualification than any other ethnic group. This has been a very important boon to the entrepreneur who has to fall back on his own resources when it comes to starting setting up home from scratch.
The Education of second and subsequent generation Maltese overseas is obviously a matter of importance. There is some evidence that there is a correlation between parental expectations and educational achievement by their offspring. In fact, it also seems to be the case that Maltese born overseas also have a preponderance of persons with trade rather than academic qualifications.
A number of studies included here emphasise the various aspect of education among migrants overseas. These include:
- Cauchi: Maltese Migrants in Australia, 1990, p 48 and Appendix tables T43 et seq
- Cauchi: The Maltese Migrant Experience 1999 Chap 3 , p47
- Cauchi: Maltese Background Youth, 1999, Europe-Australia Institute, Victoria University of Technology, p 1, p 25, p36, p42,
- Attard: Maltese Language Courses