Free Digital Distance Learning for Employability and Social Inclusion: The Perceptions of Migrants Living on the Maltese Islands

Joseph Vancell
University of Hull

Teemu Patala
ChangeLearning Alliance

Alan Bruce
ChangeLearning Alliance


Asylum seekers are still moving, in great numbers, from Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) and the Middle East to the European Union (EU) to seek protection from political oppression, war and poverty, as well as to reunite with family, and benefit from entrepreneurship and education (EC, 2017; EU, 2018). The UNHCR (2019) notes that 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced from their native countries. Mediterranean EU Member States are seeing an ever-growing influx of illegal migrants, through land and sea routes. During the first month of 2019, 6,727 migrants arrived in Europe, of which 5,685 were sea arrivals through Malta, Spain, Greece and Italy – the strategic entry points to the EU. In the previous year, Malta took 1,445 arrivals. The issue of mass migration and population movement has dominated European discourse for at least 40 years. Since the invasion of Iraq and the various destabilization efforts against countries like Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, however, an entirely new phenomenon has erupted onto the centre stage – millions of people fleeing failed States, violence, terrorism and despair. Especially in the case of Syria (now in its fifth year of war) the problem of millions seeking to depart from the chaos has become huge. We are now entering a period of real transition however. Far from the malicious impact of war and violence, new problems arise around family fragmentation, emotional trauma, and the need to rebuild lives.

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