Exploring the Impact of Values Education on Youth's Attitudes towards African Migrants in Malta



Corboy, Lauren

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Does Values Education have a positive impact on Maltese youths’ attitudes towards African migrants? This study utilized a cross-sectional survey distributed to Maltese youth and quantitative statistical analysis to answer this question. Increasing anti-immigration sentiments throughout Europe have become even more present in Malta following the arrival of thousands of asylum-seekers from the African continent. Negative attitudes towards such migrants have become a source of prejudice and discrimination and an obstacle to the successful integration of African and Maltese communities. Participants’ experience with Values Education is analyzed alongside their attitudes towards African migrants to demonstrate that Values Education is a significant driver of positive attitude formation. This study suggests that this educational approach, more so than a ‘higher education’ alone, is more strongly correlated to positive attitudes towards migrants. Most significantly, Values Education experiences within the classroom which emphasize the application of positive, pro-social values through concepts such as discrimination and racism are most strongly correlated to positive attitudes. It is suggested that cognitive processes of attitude formation are aided by the tendency for such concepts to move learners beyond an abstract conception of values through an emphasis on the logic and rationale behind the application of certain values over others. This may increase the likelihood that such values will be internalized. It is shown that Values Education may act to mitigate the impact of other negative attitude drivers and improve public attitudes towards migrants. As such, Values Education could serve as a potential driver of the positive attitudes necessary for the relations between these two communities to improve thereby increasing the opportunities for their successful integration. To achieve this, educational policy-makers, community leaders, and families in Malta should take note of these implications and work to harmonize and consistently emphasize Values Education activities throughout all spaces within society.



Attitudes, Migrants, Youth, Malta, Values education