The development of a curriculum of youth studies at the University of Malta.
An official curriculum of youth studies was drawn up concurrently with the establishment of
the Institute of Youth Studies at the University of Malta in November 1992. This Study
describes the eventual attempt made to translate the process of curriculum development into a
process of empowerment.
The methodological underpinning of the thesis is located in the open-ended model of critical
social theory and in Dewey's notion of curriculum as 'an environment for persons'.
Habermas' theory of knowledge-constitutive interests and Freire's dialogical model of
curriculum were used in support of the task to produce objective.explanations for the subjects'
meanings and understandings. The concept of 'emancipation for empowerment through
participation' was aligned with that of' self-education'.
Interviews with 'responsible adults', informal discussions with, and on-site observations of,
young people in various contexts, were held with the aim of exploring their overall construct
of reality. The data obtained from these three research methods were used to provide that
body of knowledge which would assist course participants at the Institute and the researcher
to contextualise and reflect upon their actions. An evaluation of the 1993 curriculum was
undertaken by an Evaluation Panel. The reports submitted were meta-evaluated by the
researcher. A comparative study of curriculum development in Bradford. Reading, Cork and
Malta helped provide a framework for the analysis of the Maltese data. ' .
The conclusions drawn from the analysis of the data collected suggest that, while in Maltese
society a disempowering climate of deference and personal ineffectiveness prevails,
respondents' desire for involvement in an agency of change can still be stimulated and
The thesis finishes with an assessment of the proposed method's implications for practice and
with some recommendations for further research.