The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Parent of child in English language school claims ‘scam’ as she is forced to pay in full

Jake Aquilina Sunday, 18 July 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 17 days ago

As English language schools were forced to close last Wednesday and with most of them switching to online teaching, parents of children who are learning in Malta feel that they are being “scammed”, one parent told The Malta Independent.

Last Wednesday, English language schools were forced to close their doors after a huge surge in Covid-19 cases during the past few days. The country went from 0 new cases per day as of 27 June to over 200 new cases a couple of weeks later.

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Answering questions sent by The Malta Independent, the Health Ministry remarked that over 50% of the new cases were tourists, while as of Thursday, the cluster from English language schools stood at 251 cases.

Although hospitalisation numbers remain relatively low when compared to previous spikes in cases, thanks to the vaccine, the government still took the decision to force the English language schools to close to curb the spread of the virus.

One parent who contacted The Malta Independent voiced her disappointment at the way the students of such schools are being treated by the schools themselves. “My daughter only had 2 weeks of lessons. We have requested reimbursement for courses not taught. The school refuses. We consider ourselves the victims of this dishonest policy,” she said.

The parent said that this particular school which the student is learning in replaced the face-to-face lessons with online ones, “but Malta's education minister did not order face-to-face lessons to be replaced by online lessons.”

She argued that it doesn’t make sense for her to pay for the stay at the hotel and the lessons if her daughter is not receiving face-to-face lessons, as virtual lessons is not what she paid for.

“If we wanted online lessons we wouldn't come here. We could stay cool at home in France. We cannot tolerate this attitude from the school. We consider it as a scam,” she said. The parent called for a reaction to this “scandalous” situation.

This abrupt closure of English language schools caused chaos within the industry, with FELTOM claiming that the industry “has been serving as the scapegoat.”

Initially, the government said that only vaccinated people will be allowed come to the country. However, after claims of the country discriminating against those who have not taken the vaccine by the European Commission, it was changed, forcing the people who come here without a vaccine certificate to quarantine for 14 days. This happened as the Health Minister remarked that it is “unfair” on those who took the vaccine to suffer the consequences of higher cases.

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