Written By: Martina Borg 29/7/15
MGRM presents education ministry with some 140 LGBTIQ books.
The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) has presented the education ministry with some 140 books for children at primary, kindergarten and even secondary schools.
MGRM president Gabi Calleja said that the books were designed to promote acceptance and tolerance among students and that they were also meant to help teachers and parents.
“The themes of these books range from diversity in families to same sex marriage to coming out and even transgender issues.” she said.
Calleja added that MGRM had embarked on a project with various international organization which ends in July.
“One of the measures of the project was precisely in Education, where we held a number of workshops and teacher training sessions.”
She added that the savings, which were part of this project, had been used specifically to buy these books which would be distributed by the ministry as it chooses.
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said that the government was in favour of this measure as it is in line with its “education for all principle”.
“NGOs drive institutions towards the needs of civil society and we hope that this measure will become widespread across all public schools in time,” Bartolo said.
“Education should be such that it is as inclusive and diversified as possible,” Bartolo added, explaining that the stories brought to the fore human emotions and situations which might be difficult for some to relate to.
Calleja explained that some of the books were also resources for teachers and that a number of fictional novels were available for teens aside from the picture and story books aimed at younger learners.
“The resource books are by Stonewall Publishers, which are among the best known LGBTIQ resource providers on the market,” she explained.
Talking about the government’s literary campaign, Bartolo said that in the past two years, the government had donated some 50,000 new books to public schools around the island and that it would now try to ensure that LGBTIQ books were on all library lists.
Calleja also explained that MGRM was also in talks to try and secure better teacher training about sexuality issues, through a collaboration with US organization GLSEN.
“We want to bring over some experts to talk to the NGOs themselves and even to train college directors and educators.”