A Brief History of the Development of
Guidance and Counselling in Malta; 19681987
JOSEPH P. DeGIOVANNI
The need for vocational guidance has long been felt in Malta where, as it has been stated over and over again, there are no natural resources except human resources. The optimal use of skills and abilities has historically been identified as the best, if not only strategy to ensure national and economic development. and as Sultana (1992) has pointed out, 'human capital theory' (now also referred to as 'human resource development') has been the guiding framework for several governments, irrespective of their partisan colour or political ideology. Vocational guidance and counselling constitutes one of the services in a range of strategies that can be used in order to 'ensure' a better fit between education and the economy, a range which includes
'man'power planning, first introduced in Malta at about the same time as the guidance and counselling unit of the Education Department was established (Sultana 1992. p.176). Calls for some form of vocational guidance and counselling go back at least to the turn of the century. Clearly. the discourse and vocabulary linked to the formal field of guidance had not yet developed, but we do find expressions of concern about the lack of responsiveness of the educational sector to the needs of the labour market. A case in point is the critical position adopted by Casolani. the superintendent of emigration between 1918 and 1930. who often took the Education Department to task for producing nothing but "clerks', giving no attention at all lo the needs of the local economy, or to those of the host countries receiving Maltese migrants. As he noted in one report, hundreds of young people were 'unloaded every year by our schools', and while a minority of these did follow a University career to enter a profession, and a few others succeeded in getting a post with the government, "the bulk, whose literary and business training is most incomplete - are thrown upon a market that
is already overstocked with their kind' (Reports of the Working of Government Departments. 1924-5, C2, para. 9. cited by Sultana, 1992, pp. 130-131).
This chapter sets out to present a brief synthesis of the origins and development . of school guidance and counselling services from 1968 to 1987. A more detailed account is available in DeGiovanni (1987). In this context, I have opted to describe the main landmarks in the development of guidance - and particularly vocational guidance providing information about the key actors promoting the field, the structures that were established in order to deliver services, and the vicissitudes that marked the Guidance Unit since this was set up within the Department of Education in 1968, While emphasis will be placed on the contribution made to guidance and counselling by the Unit, it is nevertheless important to consider, albeit briefly, the activities of a large number of organisations and groups, since these generated a consensus about the need for a national guidance service, structured within and delivered through the school system.
GUIDANCE SERVICES BEFORE 1968
Prior to 1968, guidance and counselling was provided informally within the context of voluntary youth organisations (such as the Teenagers' Correspondence Club, the Young Christian Workers, and the Malta Youth Consultative Council), non-governmental bodies and unions (such as the Cana Movement , the Malta Union of Teachers, and the General Workers Union), and some work places (particularly the Malta Drydocks). Within the formal education sector, individuals working for the Parents' and Students' Associations and the Education Department also declared the need for educational and vocational guidance and counsel ling, and organised activities in order to promote such services.
A brief word about each of these bodies and organisations, as well as a note about how their respective activities served as...
References: Cameron, J. (1968) Educational Planning in Malta. Paris: UNESCO.
Cluff. R.B. (1971) Malta: Educational Testing and Measurement. Paris:
Degiovanni, J.P. (1987). Guidance and Counselling in Malta: The Development
of Guidance & Counselling Services in the Education Department of
Lewis, J.L. (1967) Education Planning Malta: Preparatory Mission. Paris:
Tuppen, CJ.S. (1970) Malta: Educational Assessment in Schools. Paris:
Vella Haber, M. (1978) 'Guidance and Counselling in schools ' '. Memorandum to
the Advisory Council for Education, mimeo.
Vestin, M. (1969) Memorandum on Pupil Guidance. Paris: UNESCO.
Sammut (1997) published by Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd. Malta.)
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