Joe Bugeja was born in Floriana in 1930. The eldest of a working class family of ten children who experienced the relative poverty of those times. His early education followed the normal paths available in those days of British rule in Malta. He attended the course of Primary School education in Floriana.
Competitive examinations earned him a scholarship and admittance into the Lyceym. In 1947 aged seventeen, he attended the newly opened St Michael’s Teachers Training College at Ta’ Giorni in St Julian’s. In 1960, he embarked on an academic career: He earned a B.A. (Hons) in 1964 and an M.A. in 1966, both in English Literature. In 1973, he also read sociology and political science obtaining an M. Litt. a post graduate degree, from Oxford University in England. His teaching career spanned forty-eight years in Qormi and Floriana Primary Schools, the Lyceum, the Junior College, the College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Royal University of Malta.