The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Government committed to seeing students physically go to school, Education Minister says

Albert Galea Tuesday, 11 August 2020, 16:23 Last update: about 2 months ago

The government is committed to open the doors of schools for students to physically attend as of next September, Education Minister Owen Bonnici told The Malta Independent.

With schools scheduled to open in around six weeks, Bonnici was asked by this newsroom what the government’s plan for the opening of schools is – whether students will physically attend, whether lessons will be held online, or whether there will be a combination of the two aspects.

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Bonnici said that in the case of schools catering for those who are 16 years old and younger, educational institutions will reopen and physically welcome students with all the necessary precautions in place.

“I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest – not least the students’ interest – for them to have a second class education. We want to give our children the best education possible, and the only way we can do that is by seeing them go to school”, he said.

Bonnici said that when it comes to institutions handling students older than 16-years-old then it is up to them to regulate themselves. For instance, he said, "on purely academic and non-covid related considerations, if there are certain University faculties which want to carry out lectures online because they feel that it is better that way then they have every liberty to do that."

Asked whether, given the recent increase in cases of Covid-19, the government was considering shutting down its summer school programme Skola Sajf, Bonnici said that there is no thought whatsoever for that to happen.

“The argument cannot be whether to stop something, but rather what measures we should take in order to keep parents’ minds at rest”, he said.

So far, there were no cases where a child or educator went to Skola Sajf and contracted Covid-19 from there.

“I think that it is a sign that things are going well, but we need to keep following all the necessary precautions.  I appeal to parents to help us in this regard”, he said.

Malta currently has 440 active cases of Covid-19 – the highest number of active cases that the island has had since the pandemic began last March.

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