Speaking of angels: intellectual disability, identity and further education in Malta


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Casha, Sonja (2016). Speaking of angels: intellectual disability, identity and further education in Malta. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The number of students with intellectual disabilities who continue studying past compulsory education in Malta is abysmal. This has spurred the choice of my research which aims to identify the factors that affect this phenomenon. This study uses first-hand accounts by individuals with intellectual disabilities on their experience of further education (FE) in Malta and attempts to highlight the associated benefits and barriers experienced.

The results of this study have shown that although factors affecting FE inclusion in Malta are varied, the participants of the study focused primarily on the negative barriers arising from past school experience. The level of bullying and isolation experienced in mainstream school environments is considered a predominant factor in the choice of not pursuing FE. Another emerging factor is the lack of choice for students with intellectual disabilities to stand by their own wishes including the choice of whether or not to enter FE. This is considered to be due to an entrenched paternalistic attitude inherent in Maltese society which may originate from the island’s Catholic roots. These socio-cultural attitudes relegate people with intellectual disabilities to passive receivers of charity. It is perhaps these same attitudes that limit the accessibility also within FE in Malta as reported by the study participants. These factors are seen as playing a significant part in the reasons for such low participation of students with intellectual disabilities in FE locally. These barriers limit the opportunities for this student cohort to enjoy the benefits of FE which were identified primarily to be social integration, employment and independence.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6601


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