Within the framework of integration not children with special needs in mainstream schools from 1976 to a policy of inclusive education, the state special schools were from 1992 transformed into a system for special needs support. The transformation period was painful to a lot of personnel, but with emphasize on competence building in remaining staff, it was developed a resourceful and qualitatively good system of special needs support to the individual student where the local educational authorities could not cope with the specific needs themselves.
The education system in Malta has for many years given special focus to students with a disability. Educational programmes have developed so as to ensure that each and every student attending a school is provided with opportunities and challenges that stimulate the development of their potential.
Christina McDonald and Katy Negrin conceptualized this research for the EUMAP program of the Open Society Institute. Its original conception was the result of discussions with the Roma Education Fund, in order to have comparative data on several countries in Central and Southeast Europe where the representation of Roma in special schools is a problem.
To inform and encourage debate on the issues affecting children, persons with disabilities and older persons in institutions and how the areas of concern should be addressed. Its overriding purpose is to draw attention to two issues: first, the situation of children, persons with disabilities and older persons living in institutions and second, the responsibility of Governments to develop community-based alternatives to institutional care.