The Malta Independent 16 October 2018, Tuesday

Malta obtains the highest scores on LGBTIQ inclusive education indicators

Wednesday, 24 January 2018, 08:58 Last update: about 10 months ago

The Ministry for European Affairs and Equality today welcomed the ‘LGBTQI Inclusive Education Report’ conducted by IGLYO, the International LGBTQI Youth and Students Organisation, which has ranked Malta in first place amongst Council of Europe countries when it comes to providing inclusive education.

This first edition of the report, which aims to assess the topic of education, specifically discrimination on the basis of gender within Council of Europe countries, shows that Malta is performing exceptionally well in the vast majority of the indicators which measure how homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and interphobic situations and bullying are tackled in schools.

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Malta scored full marks in 9 of the 10 indicators of the report, which range from anti-discrimination law applicable to education, inclusive national curricula, support systems, policies, action plans and guidelines, mandatory teacher training on LGBTIQ awareness, partnerships between governments and NGOs, as well as international commitment.

In explaining why Malta scored full marks in the provision of anti-discrimination law applicable to education, the report makes explicit reference to amendments made to the Constitution of Malta in 2016 which made any discriminatory provisions in Maltese law unconstitutional; the 2017 amendments in the Education Act which provided equitable access to education to all persons in full respect of any diversity and obliged state schools to ensure that the principles of inclusive education are implemented; and the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act which placed a fundamental obligation on schools to provide all students with a safe and inclusive educational environment.

The policy to Address Bullying Behaviour in Schools, and the policy for Trans, Gender Variant and Intersex Students in Schools, published by the Ministry for Education and Employment, which provide specific procedures and strategy documents, were praised by IGLYO as good practices which further safeguard inclusiveness.

The Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act and the Trans, Gender Variant and Intersex Students in Schools Policy were also highlighted when assessing the environment in state schools for these learners and how topics like the use of inclusive language or the right of the students to disclose their gender is addressed.

Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli stated that this is yet another seal of approval by an international organisation for the work conducted by Government in the field of equality. The Minister also augured that in time the whole Maltese Government human rights and equality agenda will bear its fruits and be internationally recognised, much like Malta is nowadays recognised for its LGBTIQ equality policy.

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