The Malta Independent 19 January 2020, Sunday

3,579 children make use of free childcare scheme

Joanna Demarco Saturday, 22 July 2017, 09:00 Last update: about 3 years ago

There are 3,579 children registered in the free childcare scheme, The Malta Independent has learnt. Moreover, there are 7,252 working parents benefiting from the scheme, whilst another 109 parents are currently in education.

Contacted by this newspaper with questions on statistics regarding the free childcare service which was implemented in 2013, the Ministry of Education informed: “In June, there was a total of 3,579 active applications in 103 childcare centers across Malta and Gozo.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Moreover, “the total number of parents in employment that are benefiting from the free childcare service is that of 7,252, whereas parents in education amount to 109.”

The Free Childcare Scheme, a Government initiative, provides free childcare services to parents and guardians who are in employment or are pursuing their education.

Since the introduction of the scheme, which is now in its third year, reports have also shown the increase in the number of women in the workplace, which increased from 45.8 per cent in 2013 to 53.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to Commissioner for Equality Renee Laiviera.

Last month, this newspaper reported that parents were complaining that the ratio of childcarers to children needs to be revised in some centers, due to the influx of children following the introduction of the scheme. 

Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo had also told this newspaper that 25 per cent of the 60 complaints received during the past year by the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE), within the Ministry for Education and Employment, were related to the non-compliance of childcare centres with carer to child ratios and/or with going above the restrictions for the number of children at the centres according to Education and Employment Minister Evarist Bartolo. 

More Than €12 million is being invested in the scheme this year. In the last election campaign, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had pledged that a Labour government will extend child care services to be open in the evening for those who work at night or are part of full-time courses.

 

  • don't miss