The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

TMID Editorial: Gozitan students - Making their lives easier

Wednesday, 2 December 2020, 09:07 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Gozo Ministry recently signed an agreement with the University of Malta, where the latter will be paid €95,000 a year for five years to organise courses in Gozo.

This might be a small contract when compared to many others signed over the years, however it is of importance none the less.

It is known that Gozitan university students face extra challenges to their tertiary education, having to leave their homes earlier than all others if they commute.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has, however, opened up people’s eyes to the use of technology. While it is welcome that the university will offer some courses in Gozo, so that Gozitan students won’t need to commute as often, perhaps a more wide-ranging use of technology could mean that students can watch and participate in lectures from home after the pandemic.

It is obvious that the university offering all its courses in Gozo would not be feasible, and thus using virtual lessons would be the right way forward.

Indeed while it is true that Gozo suffers from double insularity, technology could make the world of difference in terms of jobs also.

While Covid-19 has cause a lot of damage not just in Malta, but around the world, the use of technology in this situation has proved to be of incredible importance. Some practices, such as teleworking, will likely remain for certain jobs. This could, perhaps, be an option for Gozitans who work certain jobs in Malta.

For such Gozitans, it may be worth exploring such a possibility with their employers.

During the pandemic, traffic on the roads decreased as a result of teleworking, and allowed families to spend more time together, time which would have otherwise been spent in traffic. Thus, the use of such technology could prove to be beneficial in the years to come, and can even change the way some jobs are worked.

Another project which the government is currently working on is a park and ride facility, which would carry people to and from the Gozo ferry from the parking area elsewhere on the island. Parking near the ferry in Gozo in the morning has long been an issue, as spaces are often filled up relatively early. This means that students and workers who need to travel to Malta need to arrive at the ferry hours early just to find a spot.

This project will help alleviate this particular issue, and help reduce the travel time between the two islands.

The government should also consider incentivising more businesses to set up in Gozo. The brain drain from the island is mainly due to there not being enough opportunities for Gozitan youths in their home island. The government has been trying to do this for a number of years, but perhaps more needs to be done in this regard.

 

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